Restoring redwood deck raises safety issues

Will sanding down wood release toxic dust?

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Once again it's time to dig into the question bag. Some of the questions we get don't lend themselves to a full column. Others present a different twist to subjects we've dealt with previously. Either way, here are three questions and answers that we think provide some valuable information. Q: I am about to sand and re-oil a redwood deck and fencing. The wood is mainly dirty from smog and wear and tear. Lately I have been reading a lot about how dangerous redwood is to sand. Is this true? Would you recommend washing the wood first with TSP? I was obviously going to be wearing a mask, but is this a real risk that I should be worried about? A: We don't recommend sanding at all. Although we haven't heard that redwood sanding dust is any more toxic than other types of wood dust, the tannin in redwood may well be. But toxicity doesn't drive the bus here. Sanding is too dirty and too labor-intensive. Instead of sanding we suggest you pressure wash both the deck and fencing. Press...