How to Repair Splintered Wood Deck- Step By Step Expert Guide

Wood splintering leads to the most unwanted outcome, and once it persists, you may be unable to restore the wood. However, protected and well-maintained decks are not susceptible to splintering, and even better, minor splintering cases are easy to fix. So, let’s look at how to repair splintered wood deck and add more life to the structure.

First, use a scraper to chisel and sand down the splinter. Then, fill cracks on the surface with epoxy wood filler and apply some paint or restoration coating. Additionally, schedule regular maintenance practices to prevent more splinters.

Besides, splintering wood does not always mean a new deck. Better still, resurfacing splintered lumber is way cheaper than replacing it. Thus, read through this article for more insight on handling splinters and keeping your deck in the best shape possible.

How to Resurface Splintered Wood Decks

Wood deck refacing involves a few vital steps as explained below. But before that, wear eye protection, leather gloves, and closed-toe shoes to protect yourself from injury and potential accidents.

Follow these steps to resurface splintered wood decks.

  • Power Wash Your Deck

A pressure washer in use but How Long After Pressure Washing to Stain Deck?Power washing the deck marks the first preparation stage for resurfacing it. You may think that this exercise worsens the problem, but interestingly, there is no better way to clean the wood. In addition, the pressure Washer significantly reduces your cleaning time. 

Besides, you may clog up the sander and miss splintered wood areas when you skip cleaning the deck before refinishing. For instance, decks near pine trees may have tree sap on the surface, affecting the sander’s effectiveness and covering up splintered areas.

Evaluate the deck’s foundation carefully to check the rot damage extent before handling the pressure washer. Also, please avoid using a high-pressure setting on the appliance for the work. Otherwise, it may worsen the splinters. 

On top of that, pressure washers have a regulator controlling the angled nozzle (15-degree) and sprayer pressure (2,000 psi). So, they remove deck mold and mildew and clean out various dirt and debris textures.

  • Clean With Water and Bleach

Bleaching the deck has multiple advantages. For example, it helps restore the wood’s natural color and kills deck mold. The process allows the splintering lumber to receive deck treatment better.

Prepare the bleach formula by mixing equal parts of bleach and water. Then, fill it in the power washer and spray down the deck structure. Also, remember to remove the deck boards and spray them too.

Check for mold and mildew build-up areas and focus the nozzle on them. This way, you are sure of eliminating all the dirt. You could even use a scrub brush to remove stubborn stains and continue spraying.

Lastly, let the deck wood dry thoroughly before going to the next step.

  • Repair Cracks and Chips

This step requires you to assess the deck board for nails sticking out of place and sink them with a hammer. In addition, replace rusty or bent nails and countersink the lifted board screws with a drill or drill down new fasteners when necessary.

Remove and replace boards featuring extensive rot damage. Use a pry bar to lift them off the joists, cut new boards of the exact size of the damaged ones, and then hammer or screw them down.

However, avoid using indoor wood fillers on outdoor surfaces as they may not withstand harsh weather conditions and elements. Instead, go for exterior fillers as they guarantee a successful exterior project.

Also, it is okay to use homemade wood filler but ensure that it dries before sanding the surface. In addition, get a putty knife to push the paste into the wood cracks and remove the excess.

Finally, please note that wood splinters are risky to anyone walking bare feet on the deck. Thus, it is prudent to fix the deck as soon as possible to prevent accidents.

Note: Do the repairs only after the bleach dries.

  • Sand the Deck

Once the deck is dry, you are now ready to sand it. The best sander for this project is a flooring orbital sander. It is more extensive and suitable for heavy-duty applications than a hand sander.

You can also get a belt sander for refinishing. However, ensure that you get plenty of sandpaper for each tool. In addition, ensure that you follow the wood grain, regardless of the sander at hand. 

Nails sticking out from the surface may tear down the sandpaper, requiring you to replace it multiple times. Therefore, go through the deck and hammer down such nails for a smooth sanding session.

The sanding process is relatively easy, and generally, one pass on the deck boards is sufficient. However, you can go over the wood if it still has splinters or appears rough. But consider using 120-grit to do the last pass.

Here is a simple summary of the procedure.

  • Set up the orbital sander and attach 100-grit sandpaper for the first sanding round. Do your best to sand in the wood grain’s direction for a better outcome.
  • Finish sanding with 120-grit sandpaper to help smooth out rough lines and deliver a uniform surface.
  • Clean the deck with a pressure washer to remove the sanding dust. Also, make sweeping motions with the washer to remove fine dust layers from the wood.

Finally, you can rent a large floor sander from a rental store if you do not own one. In addition, buy enough sandpaper to complete the project.

  • Apply a Protective Finish to Your Deck

Sweep the deck and spray it off with a pressure washer or garden hose. Then, allow it to dry for a few days before painting or staining. In addition, both are perfect finishing options, and it all depends on your project and personal preference.

For instance, if you want to preserve the wood’s natural appearance after bleaching and sanding, it is better to stain it. Choose a semi-transparent formula with enough pigment for added protection from sun damage.

On the other hand, a paint finish will serve you better when you want a color pop for the deck. Better still, the formula prolongs the deck’s life span by providing superior protection against water and UV rays.

Alternatively, you can do a restoration coating. It delivers a smooth layer and conceals cracks in the wood. In addition, it is an acrylic-based finish and ten times thicker than regular paint.

However, remember that restoration coatings only cover about twenty square feet per gallon. Therefore, you’d need more formula to deliver full coverage and solid protection from elements.

Also, you will deliver a better outcome by waiting for 24 hours before adding the next coat. Then, let the deck wood dry for two days before resuming use. But feel free to get a painting expert to help you out if refinishing is too much a hassle.

Lastly, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for whichever finish you choose. In addition, ensure that the formula spreads between the deck boards and give it enough time to dry before use.

How to Smooth Splintered Wood

You can glue down the splintered part if it’s not too brittle. However, it would be better to chisel the splinter’s edges to avoid leaving rough edges on the deck board.

Check out the tips below for accurate results.

  • Wood feathers or splinters happen for various reasons, and thus you need different repair methods for each case. So, inspect the feathered or splintered lumber and determine the reason for the occurrence for better judgment. For example, it would be best to get the most suitable remedy for wood feathering because of rot or moisture and another treatment for splintering wood due to continued use.
  • Fix dry splinters in the following way. Locate the splinter and pull it up the corner if it is still present inside the lumber. Then, apply a dab of wood glue under it. You can step on the splinter to hold it in position and place a wax paper to hold it overnight before sanding.
  • Repair wood where the splinter is missing as follows. Scrape out the remaining rough edges of the splinter using a chisel and sand the surface lightly with coarse-grit sandpaper. Then, apply some wood filler slightly darker than the lumber and feather out the edges. Allow the area to dry for at least 24 hours then sand the paste to get a level surface.
  • Remedy rotten feathered lumber in the following way. Scrape out the remaining rotted wood using a chisel and apply an epoxy pre-treatment product to prevent more rotting. Next, fill the area with a filler using a putty knife and allow the surface to dry for 24 hours before sanding.
  • Attend to large sections of splintered surfaces as follows. Cut the deck board about two inches from the feathered area on both sides. Then, make a new board matching the removed piece and nail it in place using nails and a hammer.

What Will Happen to a Poorly Maintained Deck?

Interestingly, untreated decks do not dramatically collapse or rot away quickly. Instead, they simply get dirty, and the wood becomes rougher much sooner, leading to splintering and feathering.

In addition, much of the dirt on poorly maintained decks is living organisms, and the material makes the wood very slippery when wet. So, cleaning and sealing the lumber will go a long way to kill, remove, and slow the return of these organisms.

Neglecting deck maintenance predisposes it to significant damage from rain, sun, and moisture. Further, these factors eventually cause wood to fade and compromise its original color.

Also, the deck will ultimately grow mildew, rot, crack, splinter, and even have complete boards falling apart with poor maintenance.

How to Keep Wood Deck from Splintering and Feathering

The most obvious strategy that prevents lumber from splintering is applying a high-quality exterior penetrating filler featuring an ultraviolet ray filter. Test its effectiveness by sprinkling some water on the surface and checking for beading.

Afterward, have a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to help counter any potential wear and tear, fading, or aging. Better still, you will know when to fix the deck before it becomes a severe splinter situation.

In addition, check the deck for protruding nails and loose boards at least annually, thoroughly clean it and reapply a sealer. Cleaning will help remove algae, moss, dirt, and other organic material, whereas resealing protects the wood from sun and water damage.

Alternatively, you can get a professional firm to help maintain the wood deck. Service quality and prices vary considerably, but the general range is $300 to $600, depending on the workload.

Please note that good deck maintenance has a few elements: preparation, cleaning products, and sealing.

  • Preparation

This process begins with clearing the deck of toys, furniture, and any other object on the surface. Then, cover fragile plants and areas you do not want to paint or stain. Also, assess the wood for nails that stick up and lose boards.

Next, sweep the deck, remove large debris, and make necessary repairs. In addition, ensure that there are no children or pets in the working area during the cleaning process.

  • Cleaning Products

Hose down the wood deck and the surrounding area before using cleaning formulas. In addition, check the manufacturer’s direction to get the correct application strategy. This way, you’ll guarantee a successful project.

Fortunately, the water helps dilute chemicals that may accidentally contact grass and other plants. But still, use bleaching solutions carefully as they are toxic to plans when used in concentrated amounts.

Spray the solution on the structure with a power washer under low pressure or brush it using a broom. Then, wait for the recommended duration for the chemicals to work and rinse the wood.

You can use more water pressure to rinse out chemicals and dirt effectively. But avoid too much pressure lest it gouges the lumber and exposes the wood grain. Also, softer wood grains are susceptible to elements, reducing the deck’s lifespan. So, avoid using excessive force as much as possible.

  • Sealing

Put tarps to protect air conditioners and plants when applying the sealant. Also, remember that the protection level depends on how you use the formula. Thus, you can only get the desired result by following the manufacturer’s directives.

You can spray, roll, or brush on the product. Spraying is the fastest strategy but the hardest to control. For example, keeping the sealant from spilling on plants and other surfaces may be tricky. Hence, you need added protection for the surrounding area.

On top of that, sealants come in either oil-based or water-based formulas. Professional formulas are typically oil-based and offer superior moisture and sun damage protection.

Also, the formulas have some hues that tint the deck’s color. But they do not always give a uniform color. So, it would be prudent to test the product on an out-of-the-way spot to confirm the results.

Lastly, sealing formulas are rough on plants, and some brands have color, staining surfaces. Worse still, although most plants won’t suffer being hit with wafting over-spray, direct hits can cause severe damage. Therefore, choose a method that is suitable for your surrounding.

How Do You Treat a Splintered Deck?

It is possible to resurface cracked or splintered wood if the damage is not too much. All you need is a chisel, a sanding accessory, and a finishing product. Also, remember to maintain the deck frequently to keep it in good shape.

Use a chisel to scrape off the rough edges and sand the surface to even it out. Then, fill pronounced cracks with wood filler matching the lumber’s shade. The last step is to let the lumber dry and apply your preferred finish.

How Do You Make Wood Less Splintery?

Wooden swing sets are more durable and stable than plastic and metal sets. However, they lead to splinters when the wood degrades. Therefore, it would be best to learn the best technique to make the surface less splintery.

The first recommendation is to get cedar wood or redwood swing sets as these woods can withstand outdoor weather conditions without splitting, deteriorating, and splintering. You can also get composite decking material for a similar outcome. But avoid using pressure-treated wood as it has dangerous and toxic chemicals.

Once you have your wood, lightly sand rough spots and areas prone to heavy traffic. Use medium-grit sandpaper until the surface is smooth. Then, apply an outdoor penetrating wood sealant to prevent future wood feathering.

Please note that softwoods like pine need regular sealant reapplications. Also, consider wrapping duct tape around wood that is too damaged to sand but is structurally sound. This way, you keep the deck boards from splintering for longer.

Does Sanding Wood Remove Splinters?

Yes, sanding wood removes splinters. One pass is usually sufficient, but you may need two when using coarse sandpaper. Also, ensure that you utilize 120-grit sandpaper for the last rub.

It is advisable to check whether the deck is dry before sanding. Otherwise, you may damage or expose the wood grain, making it susceptible to harsh elements. In addition, move the sander along the boards’ lengths instead of going across them for a better result.

Lastly, use a flooring orbital sander for your deck. You can find the tool and the required sanding paper in any rental outlet. In addition, always use 120-grit paper unless the deck finish does not come off after power washing.

Frequently Asked Questions

They include:

  • Does Sealing a Deck Help With Splinters?

Yes, sealing a deck helps with splinters. The sealing process requires you to clean the deck and sand the surface for a perfect outcome. So, you’ll have to remedy the splinters before sealing.

In addition, sealing the wood protects it from adverse climatic elements that accelerate water, UV rays, and splinters. But the deck will eventually succumb to splintering if you neglect it for long. Therefore, it is advisable to clean the deck frequently and adopt a maintenance schedule after sealing.

Lastly, choose the most suitable sealer for the project to guarantee superior protection against splintering and elements. Also, prioritize following the manufacturer’s application recommendations for a quick and successful job.

  • Can I Fix Splintered Wood?

It is possible to fix splintering or cracking wood. All you need to do is check the damage extent and sand the lumber. Then, paint or stain it to guarantee that the issue will not reoccur.

Remember that proper deck maintenance is essential in ensuring that the deck lasts for a long, long time. Also, engaging in an excellent sanding job in the wood can bring it back to life.

  • Why Is My Deck Splintering?

Decks splinter because of neglect, especially when the wood remains unsealed and untreated for years. This lack of protection allows water to penetrate the lumber, causing them to crack and splinter.

In addition, splintering may occur when you use the wrong blade for the wood. Mostly, it happens only on one side, forcing you to ensure that it is on the side that cannot be seen easily.

Here’s More:


A splintered deck is no longer enjoyable as it is impossible to use it without the threat of injury or an accident. Therefore, it is prudent to fix a feathered surface as soon as possible to keep yourself safe and prevent further damage.

Also, splinter repairs are quick and easy, while some, such as board replacement and rot repairs, need more time. But you will never go wrong with the correct procedure. So, check out the guide below for accurate results on…

How to Repair Splintered Wood Deck

Learning how to repair splintered lumber is a quick fix for your deck. Chisel the splinter and sand it down, fill holes and cracks on the surface, and add a paint or restoration coating to the wood.

Unfortunately, many deck owners will have a splintered deck at one point or another. But the above quick remedies will help add more life to your wood. So, do not get stressed out about buying a new wood deck.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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