Decks add an aesthetic appeal to our home’s exterior, but decks must maintain over time. This routine is because the wood used in installing the deck deteriorates due to unfavorable conditions.

However, sanding can restore your deck’s beauty; is it ideal for sanding after a rainfall? Let’s find out! 

Unfortunately, you can’t sand a wood deck after it rains. It would be best to wait for the deck to be completely dried before sanding it to have a perfect finish. Certainly, sanding can improve your deck’s appearance, but doing it at the right time matters.

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Can You Sand a Deck When it’s Wet?

Can you Sand a Deck After it Rains

You can’t sand a deck when it’s wet. This scenario is because sanding wet wood decks could clog the sandpaper and cause cracks and warps on the deck.

When this happens, it will result in the deck having uneven surfaces, and this will cost you to repair.

With that said, the moisture content in wood allows it to increase in size and make it soft. Thus, when you hit sandpaper on the wood, it will try to work against the sanding material.

This action will negatively affect the wood by resulting in deep scratches, which won’t be easy to fix.

Sanding smoothens the wooden surface by eliminating scratches and flaws. Still, it will be the contrary if not done correctly.

For this reason, it’s better to wait patiently for the wood to get dried before sanding.

Sincerely, it’s a real pain sanding wet wood deck because most of your efforts will amount to nothing.

In truth, the wet wood won’t allow sawdust to blow away from its surface. Additionally, as the dust isn’t moving freely, it will stick between sandpaper grits and ruin it. 

As it appears, sandpapers don’t work well on wet wood because of the material used in making them.

But, in the case of dry wood, the wooden fibers will stand up, making them easy to go off. So, ensure the wood is dry before the project to get an amazing outcome of a fine and smooth surface. 

Also, never sand wood deck when it’s wet because moisture can make the grit of sandpapers fall off.

Similarly, high moisture in wood won’t permit a complete deck staining process. However, once the wood is dry, you can achieve the goal with less stress.

How Long After it Rains can you Sand a Deck?

After it rains, you should wait 48-72 hours for your deck to dry completely before sanding. But, this depends on the type of wood and weather conditions that proceed after the rain.

Equally, you can sand the wood deck after 24 hours of waiting for the wood to dry after a rainfall.

Notwithstanding, this solely relies on the level of rain and the weather that comes after. Keep in mind that this waiting period of 24 hours is for urgent situations.

Nevertheless, waiting for at least 48-72 hours before sanding the deck is highly recommended if you aren’t in a hurry.

As you may know, the purpose of sanding isn’t only to make your deck smooth and clean.

Sanding prepares the deck surface for sealant, paint, or stain application. But, you can’t have a complete deck staining operation after sanding a wet deck. 

This event is because the moisture from the rain won’t allow stainers to penetrate the wood. When that happens, the substances will wash off when rain falls again.

Therefore, be sure the deck is completely dry even after waiting till the recommended time frame. 

Also, do a water test to confirm the moisture content in the wood is dry enough for sanding. This trick is by sprinkling drops of water onto the wood surface and seeing how it absorbs.

If the drops absorb quickly, it’s dry, and if the deck is wet, the drops form beads on the wood. 

Likewise, you can use a moisture meter to detect the moisture content of your wood deck.

After it rains, the moisture level of the wood should be less than 15% before considering sanding the wood deck. Hopefully, the moisture meter helps to provide the moisture level readings.

Can You Rough Sand a Deck Before Rain, and Finish Sand After Rain Dries?

Sadly, rain can interfere with your sanding exercise, but that doesn’t mean you’ll start square one.

Certainly, you can rough sand a deck before and finish it after the rain dries. However, ensure to cover the deck with a waterproof tarp if you notice any sign of rain.

This idea would save your previous work and enable you to continue sanding without bothering about the rain effect.

Nevertheless, if the rain gets in contact with the wood, it can cause the grain to rise. You’d have to re-do the rough sanding to get the wood in shape.

Notwithstanding, there’s no problem splitting your sanding section due to rain, but it has to be right. Besides, overzealous sanding can equally cause damage to bare or pre-treated wood.

Staining the wood deck will often become difficult because the wood won’t accept the substance due to crushed grains.

Ultimate Guide to Sand a Deck After it Rains?

It’s only natural to wonder how and when to sand your deck after a rainfall. For this reason, I’ll guide you on the right way to successfully sand a deck after it rains.

  • First, give the deck 48-72 hours to dry.
  • Check the weather forecast to see if there’s a possibility of another rainfall nearby. This confirmation is important to give your paints or stainers enough time to dry into the wood.  
  • Inspect the deck surface for sanding. This inspection helps you discover protruding nails or screws that might damage the sandpaper.   
  • Now, choose the right sandpaper. This decision depends on the sort of wood used in making your deck. Since you want to have a smooth surface, get 60/80 grit sandpaper. 
  • Blow out the sanding dust. You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove all the wood dust.
  • When the deck is clean, you can apply your choice of the finish coat. However, the deck floor requires heavy-duty stain or specially formulated paint.
  • Finally, after staining the wood deck, you’d have to wait at least 4 hours before stepping on it. Then, wait another 24-48 hours before positioning your deck furniture in the deck, depending on the paint or stainer. 

Is it Better to Paint or Stain a Deck?

Generally, treating your deck requires either paints or stainers. Therefore, you might ask which of the substances is best for your deck.

Unfortunately, the answer to the question isn’t that simple, but it all depends on you!

Nevertheless, paints and stainers share characteristics that often confuse homeowners about their differences.

Luckily, the table below gives a clearer idea of the two refinishing substances.

They are easier to maintain.They are easy to apply.
They are available in various colors.They offer a natural look. 
They hide deck flaws.They are generally less slippery.
They have a longer life span.They are more budget-friendly.


It’s not appropriate to sand a deck immediately after it rains due to the moisture content in the wood.

Further, sanding a wet wood deck would do more harm than good and ruin your project. Thus, you must wait for a minimum of 48 hours after the rain stops to have a dry deck.

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