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Using thickness planer to remove old finish?

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Joined: 2 years ago
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My deck's finish is old and very poor. About 20% of the pressure treated deck boards have end rot while the rest of each board is healthy. My first step was to thoroughly pressure wash to remove all loose finsh. My plan is to remove the boards, cut off any rot, strip, fill nail holes with Bondo wood filler, apply new finish, return and screw in place. I found belt sanding would quickly remove finish but raised significant fuzz and fine spliinters, orbital sanding after belt sanding removed virtually all fuzz and splinters. I tried using my thickness planer removing maybe 1/16 inch of thickness and all of the old finish. It goes quickly but requires some orbital sanding to knock off some raised chips. Are cutting off end rot and thickness planing reasonable strategies? Any downsides? Any additional steps recommended? Applying finish first before screwing (this approach is because it's winter here in MN now and I would apply finish in my basement)?

Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 3030

Do not use a wood filler. It does not work on decks:

Also sanding/planing a deck and you should treat like new wood:

It would be easier to fully replace the bad boards, sand off all the finish now, and then weather the wood until Spring. Clean and brighten then and then stain.