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I suspect, as it sounds like you do, that your brother is wasting his time sanding the wood. I agree with the poster who said wait until spring and then replace the deck boards, after checking to make sure the ledger, joists and fascia are solid -- because he might have to rebuild the deck. How is the deck supported? Cement posts or wood? Those supports should be checked as well.

But if he's really lucky, he might be able to get away with replacing the deck boards. I've used Thompsonized 5 1/4 deck boards that have been treated all the way through the wood. If he uses deck boards like that, he'll need to leave them exposed to the elements to cure before applying a sealer, at least 30 to 60 days. So spring (after the rains) would be the best time to do that.

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