I thought I'd share my current deck renewal project.
The deck is around 10 years old and was looking pretty shabby. The timber is merbau but I wasn't sure what the original coating put on the deck was - something with a coating that peeled off in parts (as opposed to an oil).
Subsequent oiling never got a brilliant result despite how much I scrubbed and blasted with the pressure cleaner - it was clear that a full sand back to the bare timber was needed.
In preparation for hiring a floor sander I purchased an orbital sander and sanded back all the edges of the deck with 40 grit paper. It's hard work on the hands and knees but I was happy with the initial results, giving me confidence that the deck was going to come up well after the job was complete. Here's a rough example:
I hired a floor sander on Saturday. They are heavy beasts but surprisingly easy to use. It's a job anyone can do - even those with limited skills like me! Again I used 40 grit paper for the first sand, then went over again with an 80 grit. Here's a few sanding progress shots:
Final step in the sanding process was to get the orbital sander out again with the 80 grit paper and tidy up any spots that were a little rough or needed a little more work.
After cleaning up I started oiling the deck. I got one coat on Saturday and one coat on Sunday morning, but with rain forecast for Sunday afternoon/night I couldn't get the third coat done. Hoping to get to it in the next couple of days and will share the results. It looks like it will be a big improvement and well worth doing.
Safety update: January 2021
The Bunnings team would like to advise the drum sanders available for hire in Bunnings stores are not suitable for use on decks. For any exterior decking projects, the Orbital sander available for hire is the correct choice as it has a sturdier head which is ideal for decking.
Before sanding your deck, all nails should be checked to make sure they are below the surface of the boards. Any protruding nails should be punched below the deck surface.
The state of your deck's timber is also important to assess. If they are weathered, the edges can start to split. Any boards that are damaged with sharp edges or splinters should be replaced before commencing sanding.
If you need a hand with your deck renewal project, please don't hesitate to ask for assistance. We're here to help.
Looks great @Jason! Any hints and tips for someone thinking about hiring a floor sander themselves?
I'm planning on helping my sister and her husband sand their home in a few weeks and I have to admit the big floor sanders have always been a bit daunting. But would certainly be preferable then being on my knees all day with a trusty belt sander.
I can understand the trepidation @maknilsin. They are big heavy machines and a little intimidating. I got confidence from the fact that if I botched it I could always replace some decking boards as they are not expensive!
This video is a great help:
As mentioned in the video, preparation is important. Make sure you get all the nail heads down well under the timber surface. Replacing the sanding belts gets expensive and can take a while (I was using strips rather than the easier circular ones shown in the video) and obviously you also risk damaging the machine or worse if you hit a nail.
Go with the grain and be really slow and cautious when "dropping" the sander onto the wood. I found it to be the only time you risked sanding unevenly and gouging out a trench. The model I hired didn't have a lever to drop the drum like in the video - this would have been very helpful!
I was (probably very naively) surprised at how quickly the machine wanted to scurry along. You do need to hold it back and go reasonably slowly for an even result. And obviously don't go backwards, always forwards!
Replace the paper dust collection bag well before its full. If they tear then dust flies everywhere!
Hope this helps,
Thanks @Jason! I think I'll give that video a few watches before we get cracking on the floorboards. The fact we won't have the luxury of cheap replacements makes me want to be nice and careful when we get started.
Also the deck looks phenomenal with the final coat!
More sanding yesterday - the stairs leading up to the deck now look very shabby in comparison to the deck itself so I got cracking on them with the orbital sander. I also borrowed a multi-tool to do the edges and can now see why people rave about them. Might have to put one on my Christmas wish list.