top of page

Deck Sanding Warning & Advise

Deck sanding to remove old coatings should only be considered in extreme situations. Many people mistakenly believe that sanding is the only solution for removing deteriorated deck coatings. However, this approach can be highly destructive and lead to irreparable damage to your decking surface.

It's important to understand that drum sanders, often recommended by various sources, are designed for use on internal timber flooring, where the surface is typically level and the timber is softer.

When it comes to outdoor decking, the situation is different. Decking timber is hardwood and prone to natural movement, with gaps for drainage and expansion.

Drum sanders are heavy, aggressive machines that require a perfectly flat surface to operate effectively.

They should not come into contact with screws or nails, which are commonly used to secure decking boards. However, due to the hardness of the timber and the initial installation process, the nails or screws at times cannot be reset without causing damage to the timber.

Furthermore, decking timber has a pencil round side profile and a semi-dressed appearance, which contributes to its aesthetics and water drainage.


When a drum sander is used, it removes the old coating but also strips away the dressing, leaving the timber square and flat. This inhibits proper water drainage, leading to timber splitting and accelerated erosion of new coatings.

At Deck Revival, we only resort to using a drum sander on an old deck that has reached the end of its lifespan and is covered in layers of old paint or stain. In such cases, we may use the drum sander to provide a temporary solution before full deck replacement.


However, it's worth considering that the cost of sanding and recoating may not significantly reduce the overall expense of replacing the deck.

For regular deck maintenance and refinishing, we employ an orbital finishing sander. This type of sander is suitable for post-installation touch-ups or after chemical coating removal. The orbital finishing sander preserves the existing coatings while enhancing the overall appearance of your decking.

At Deck Revival, we prioritize the preservation and longevity of your decking. Our experienced team understands the proper techniques and tools required to achieve outstanding results without compromising the integrity of your deck.

Deck Sanding with drum sander

A decking contractor has used a drum sander to remove the old coating & recoated the deck, however black marks demonstrate that coating residue has remained and spoiled the finish.

busted nails on deck from sanding

A decking contractor has used a drum sander to remove the old coating & striped and broken the heads on the nails.

timber split.jpg

A decking contractor has used a drum sander to remove the old coating and done irreversible damage to the timber profile and split the timber in the process of resetting the nails prior to sanding.

bottom of page