How We Use Sandblasting for Wood Deck Refinishing

How We Use Sandblasting for Wood Deck Refinishing

For many homeowners, the relaxation and entertainment afforded by a beautiful wood deck are unrivaled. Picture perfect sunsets, cherished family gatherings, and the simple joy of stepping onto a solid wooden surface in the morning; these moments are the currency of a deck’s value in our lives. 

But, what about when the harsh realities of weather and time begin to wear on that once pristine surface?

Sandblasting is a key method for refurbishing wood decks, efficiently restoring wood without the need for labor-intensive sanding or the use of harmful chemicals. This guide from our experienced sandblasters, or in our case soda blasters, will explain the process of soda blasting and show you how our team effectively uses it on your wood deck.

The Challenge of DIY Deck Refinishing

Deck refinishing is unmistakably labor-intensive. Scraping off old paint or stain, sanding to a smooth finish, and cleaning the surface are just a few tasks in the extensive process of revitalizing your deck. 

Here's why DIY enthusiasts often find themselves hitting a roadblock:

Sanding Yourself Is Hard Work & Time-Consuming

From manual sanding with sandpaper to employing a power sander, the hours spent on this task can add up significantly. Not to mention the physical strain it can cause, especially for larger decks that require back-and-forth motions over expansive surfaces.

Buying or Renting Equipment Is Expensive

Investing in or renting equipment such as sanders or power washers can quickly blow the budget. Additionally, skillful handling is required to avoid uneven sanding or pressure washing that can damage the wood.

Other Reasons to Potentially Avoid DIY Methods

The knowledge required to select the right products, handle them correctly, and ensure environmental and personal safety isn't something to be taken lightly. Worse still, improper treatment of the wood could lead to issues like raised grain, an uneven finish, or reduced durability of the wood over time.

Understanding the Alternatives: Power Washing vs. Sandblasting vs. Soda Blasting

Before we focus on the best-suited method, it's pivotal to compare. When you work with a professional deck refinishing and restoration company, like Clean ‘N Seal, you get support in choosing the right media blasting service for your deck.

Different methods offer their own sets of pros and cons, so talking with professionals can help you find what works best for you. 

Power Washing for Initial Cleaning

Power washing is a great way to get your deck ready for the next stage. It can powerfully remove dirt, mildew, and loose paint, preparing the surface for refinishing. 

However, it's important to note that power washing alone will not be effective in stripping old paint or stain; additional methods will be required.

Traditional Sandblasting Pros & Cons

Traditional sandblasting is effective for removing tough coatings, but it's not without its drawbacks, particularly concerning wood. The abrasive nature of sand can leave surfaces rough, and it can even become embedded in the wood, which isn't ideal for a deck.

Soda Blasting – The Best of Both Worlds

Soda blasting is a form of abrasive blasting that uses sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as the abrasive medium. It's powerful enough to strip old coatings and leave a clean surface without damaging the wood. 

This method eliminates sanding, its high cost, and its laborious nature, making it an attractive option for all kinds of wood deck refinishing projects and even log cabin restoration

Our Step-by-Step Soda Blasting Deck Refinishing Process Explained

The soda blasting process is meticulous, but with the right technique, it reinvigorates the wood, making it as good as new.

Step 1: Preparing the Deck Area

Before any blasting occurs, we take time to prepare the deck area. This involves securing the surroundings to prevent damage or excessive cleanup post-blasting, and it's vital for both DIYers and professionals. 

The house, neighboring structures, and planted areas are typically covered with tarps or plastic sheeting.

Step 2: The Blasting Itself

The blasting begins, and the baking soda is propelled with compressed air onto the deck surface. This takes off the old coating layer by layer, revealing the fresh wood underneath. 

One significant advantage of soda blasting is the ability to regulate the pressure, ensuring the wood isn't compromised.

Step 3: Post-Blasting Cleaning

After the blasting, a thorough cleaning is essential to remove all traces of the paint or stain and any residual soda. This often involves water rinsing or vacuuming the deck surface and surrounding areas.

Step 4: Drying & Finishing

The drying process is crucial, with no shortcuts taken. The wood must be completely dry before any sealants or coatings are applied to prevent fungal growth or compromised adhesion. Once dry, applying a wood-friendly sealer or paint protects the wood and prolongs its lifespan.

The Advantages of Soda Blasting Over Alternatives

Soda blasting doesn't just stand out because of its efficacy and wood-friendliness; it offers additional benefits that put it ahead of other methods.

Environmentally Friendly

Soda blasting is a more ecologically sound practice compared to other abrasive blasting methods. Given its gentle, non-hazardous nature, it's often the preferred choice for those seeking to minimize their environmental impact.

Safe for the User

The use of baking soda as the blasting medium makes soda blasting safe for the professional handling the equipment. This is in stark contrast to sandblasting, which poses respiratory and skin health risks due to its abrasive materials.


Beyond wood, soda blasting can be utilized on a variety of surfaces, from metal to masonry, showcasing its versatility in the restoration and renovation field.

Clean ‘N Seal: Best Soda Blasting Services in the Twin Cities

If the goal is to restore your deck with minimum damage and maximum polish, soda blasting is a technique worth exploring. It not only saves time and effort compared to traditional methods but also ensures your deck remains a safe, sustainable, and long-lasting outdoor haven. 

With our deck refinishing and soda blasting expertise, you can turn a daunting task into an achievable, even enjoyable, project that will reap dividends for years to come! 

Contact us for all of your concrete cleaning and outdoor restoration needs!