Can I sand the deck boards to have an even surface?

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Old 06-28-14, 03:50 PM
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Can I sand the deck boards to have an even surface?

Whilst installing the deck boards I came to realize some were heavily warped. So bad that screwing them down didn't completely level them. Can I just sand them all to the same level? Or is this not recommended...

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Old 06-28-14, 04:18 PM
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Sanding them isn't the answer. Replacing them is. Thats why Pro's order 10% more than they expect to need and return the rest.

Are you sure the supporting lumber is level?
 
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Old 06-29-14, 02:58 AM
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That much unevenness is unusual. You didn't notice it while the boards were going down? Did your orientate the crown so it was facing down? What did you use for decking? 1x6 decking [full 1" thick]
 
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Old 06-29-14, 05:09 AM
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What type lumber is that?
Looks like it's not pressure treated, covered with planner marks, cross knots, and low knot holes that are going to trap water.
Any of those flaws and I would have not used them.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 02:26 PM
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Are you sure the supporting lumber is level?
Yup floor joists are all level.
If I want to avoid buying new lumber, will sanding suffice?
 
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Old 06-29-14, 02:29 PM
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You didn't notice it while the boards were going down?
I did notice it, but I didn't buy the 10 percent extra lumber like I was supposed to. And I didn't want to go buy more because the badly warped ones were 16 feet long. I didn't want to pay another delivery fee for a couple more boards, so I decided to sand it. Which leads me here.

Did your orientate the crown so it was facing down?
I did the best I could for the boards that had an obvious crown. Most of them were twisted like a cork screw resulting in this awful decking.

What did you use for decking? 1x6 decking [full 1" thick]
2X6, although I realized I should have used something thinner.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 02:34 PM
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What type lumber is that?
Looks like it's not pressure treated
It's definitely pressure treated. I remember smelling the treat when drilling through them, as well the actual "liquid" seeping through as I drilled 1 1/2" holes through them. Not to mention the green color as well. If it doesn't look PT probably because it's been about 3 weeks since the decking has been up and the deck gets a lot of direct sun. Maybe about 10 hours a day.

covered with planner marks, cross knots, and low knot holes that are going to trap water.
Unfortunately I didn't know of any of these flaws since it was my first time. I bought lumber from Lowes, Home Depot, and Rona. I don't know about down south, but up here Lowes lumber was crap compared to Home Depot and Rona. Home Depot seemed the best to me.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 04:24 PM
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If you sand you'll need to countersink your screws/nails or they'll tear up the paper in short order. Expect to use extra paper because the joints/gaps will also be hard on the paper.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 04:41 PM
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If you sand you'll need to countersink your screws/nails
I was thinking the same thing. Can I just run the drill over them? Or is there a specific procedure to countersink.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 04:54 PM
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If the boards are that bad, they should be re-orientated so that the cup faces down or you will get pooling and premature failure of the deck boards. What size an type of screws did you use? One or two bad boards maybe, but the whole lot? You should have refused delivery. People pick through the pile and the worst boards are left on the top. When you order for deliver, they pick the top boards and ship them. That is the difference between ordering from the local lumber yard and the big box. The local lumber may be more expensive, but in the long run, you get a better product.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 05:14 PM
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What size an type of screws did you use?
#9 3 inch. Off topic but what is "#9".

You should have refused delivery.
I should have yes, you live and you learn I guess. A bit too late now, I can only work with what I have. I already said to myself it's best to buy your own, rent a truck and deliver it yourself. I saw too many contractors eyeing their boards down to get the good pieces. The workers doing the delivery just pick and throw.


If the boards are that bad, they should be re-orientated so that the cup faces down
The problem is that there is no definite "cup".

A lot of them were like this, except a great deal worse. So I did what I can, hoping I can sand later on.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]33905[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 06-29-14, 10:26 PM
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If I was in your position, I wouldn't be afraid to try a combination of planing and sanding to make the high planks present less of a tripping hazard. If you have it (and more importantly, the proper skills to use it), a 4" angle grinder with a coarse wheel could also help to true things up. I'd remove the screws in high planks, then countersink the holes before reinstalling the screws. And to answer your question, a No. 9 screw is one that has a nominal shank diameter of 0.177", or midway between a smaller No. 8 and a larger No. 10. It's a weird system we have, in that screw sizes (get larger with larger screw numbers) are the reverse of wire and sheet metal sizes (get smaller with larger gage numbers).

Something for younger homeowners to think about--In more than 40 years of home ownership (in 5 different states), I have never paid a delivery fee for building materials. I decided shortly after buying my first house and pickup truck, that I could get plenty of use to justify the material costs, and made a set of removable ladder racks for the truck using welded steel channel/tubular steel. A tall front unit bolts to the frame and front bumper, while the two shorter ones install in the truck bed post holes, and are also bolted. I've regularly hauled 30' rebar, 24' 2x stock, and a 24' extension ladder. The racks have been with me for more than 35 years, modified to fit each new pickup to come along.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 12:06 AM
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If I was in your position, I wouldn't be afraid to try a combination of planing and sanding to make the high planks present less of a tripping hazard.
I am definitely up for trying it. I mean if I mess it up badly, I'll go buy some new lumber as was suggested anyway.

I don't own any sanders but was thinking of renting a belt sander for a day.
These are the sanders of choice for large sanding jobs am I right? And do you think a day would suffice? I have maybe 8-10 boards 16 feet long to be sanded about a 1/4 of an inch at max.

I decided shortly after buying my first house and pickup truck, that I could get plenty of use to justify the material costs, and made a set of removable ladder racks for the truck using welded steel channel/tubular steel.
I too would love to have a pickup truck. Unfortunately my mom doesn't agree and I'm stuck with a minivan. That set up seems awesome though, a must for someone who does a lot of home improvement.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 02:19 AM
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Easier to haul with a minivan then a pickup truck without a full rack. I hauled a lot of 16' lumber on a minivan. You need to run sash cord with a loop on each end through the window and then a ratchet tie down for the middle. Front and back need to go under the van if the bumpers aren't metal. Front and back tie downs need to be wrapped at least twice around the wood to prevent sliding. Oh, and go to a real lumber yard.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 09:22 AM
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Where there is a will, there is a way I used to have a 1969 Bronco and you wouldn't believe the building material I hauled in that thing. I'd take 2 [or more] 16' 2x4s and slide them under each seat with the remainder hanging out the back. I could then load a bunch of lumber on the 2xs, strap it down and head to the house.

That said, I wouldn't want to be without a pick up truck
 
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Old 06-30-14, 09:28 AM
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I'm not sure what a belt sander would rent for, but around here I've seen decent (hardly-used) ones at consignment or second-hand stores for less than $25. Before even considering renting one, I'd buy a good used one. Once you've made the purchase, they don't eat anything. And if your job takes more than a single day (which I suspect it could), a rental cost could easily exceed buying one.
 
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Old 08-11-14, 11:39 AM
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For anyone that is wondering. I finally finished. Yes it's doable.
It took me about 2-3 weeks. But I didn't work on it everyday.

Bought a 65 dollar sander. 5, 40 grit belts, and 5 80 grits. Total came to around 100 bucks.

I went through all 5 40 grit belts and one 80 grit belt.
My deck is about 150 sq ft. So find out how many belts you need accordingly. (keep in mind I did ruin 2 40 grit belts prematurely.)

Final verdict...

Had I worked on it consistently, it could have been done in 2-3 days, 8 hours each.
It is a lot of work and you will work a sweat on a hot day.
I used an immense amount of pressure on the sander (although I know I'm not supposed to). Using a minimal amount of pressure was taking far too long.
Is it worth it? If you have the time, the patience, the man power, then yes.
I needed a belt sander anyway for when I stain and seal the deck, so I thought I might as well buy one.
Other than that, just buy new boards.
 
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