My new-to-me house has a deck of unknown age; probably 8 years old
based on an addition. The deck is pressure-treated lumber and is in
very good condition except that it's beginning to splinter in places.
The worst splinters are on the faces of a couple of boards; the
splinters are several inches long and up to 1/8" thick. Other than
these areas, the entire deck is in excellent condition.
* Can pressure-treated lumber be sanded safely?
* Is a regular dust-mask sufficient protection against the
* What grit paper, and what kind of sanding block works best? Doesn't
sandpaper tear on nail heads?
* A few boards are splintering on their faces for about a foot from
the end of the board. It would require a heck of a lot of sanding to
remove all of the splinters - probably 1/8" . Is that feasible?
* Any other options, like a sealer or something that would just glue
down any splinters that can't be sanded off?
I suppose I could just replace the affected boards, or even just the
splintering couple of feet of a couple of boards; not sure if that
would look funny. I'd probably still want to sand the handrails...
Thanks for any suggestions,
I'm not a "professional" in this area, I don't know how bad
your deck actually is, and I'm not anal over "perfection" anyway,
but this is what I do:
A coat or two of good quality stain will "glue" down most of the small
splinters. Hazardous splinters I just snap off (usually when they
bite me ;-).
If the result is unacceptable, replace the board.
If there's some very rough bits, use relatively coarse sandpaper (like
60grit) to knock off the uncomfortable-to-feet or hands pointy bits.
In other words, a light scuff sanding. Don't try to turn it into
fresh lumber. If it's splintering so badly that you need serious sanding,
it was a bad piece of lumber, and you might as well replace it now. Sanding
it that much just puts arsenic and chromium into the dirt, and you'll be
thinking about sanding it again in a lot less than 8 years.
You'd be generating very little dust, so a dust mask would be more than
adequate. Don't forget goggles. Shower afterwards.
Don't be downwind. Use power sanders with care. Wash
everything off. Don't plant vegetables underneath it ;-)
If you're saying that the splintering is so bad that removal of an
1/8" is necessary to make it not-painful to step on, it's time to
replace the board - it's defective.
Use solid stain on handrails and other verticals. Does a
better job of gluing down/smoothing over the rough bits without
requiring (much or any) sanding.
It's not that I'm particularly anal about sanding PT (I router the
stuff in some cases!), it's just that a very splintery board is
bad, and significant sanding is just accelerating its deterioration.
If you have to sand 1/8" off, you'll trip over the adjacent board ;-)
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
I heard that the dangers of PT wood are grossly exaggerated. I've heard
that children should not touch it and houses with pets should not use it.
All bu****it of course. As someone put it once, "yeah it might be
dangerous; if you lick it for 24 hours a day every day for the next 40
years". I have sanded and sawn my PT deck and it's fine - but wearing a
mask is always a good idea when sanding wood.
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