Knowing When to Sand Before Painting

calander Jan 24 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

At face value, the painting process might sound straightforward. However, exterior and interior painting contractors can tell you that achieving the best-looking and longest-lasting paint job requires a number of steps before your brush or roller even dips into the bucket.

Sanding your surfaces is one of these important steps. But what does sandpaper do, exactly? And should you always sand before painting? Let’s go over the finer details.

Why Sand, Anyway?

If you’ve ever worked with wood before, you’re probably somewhat familiar with sandpaper and sanding tools. Sandpaper features a cloth or paper backing and a coarse face that consists of glued particles such as silicon carbide, garnet, aluminum oxide, or other rough materials. The abrasive side is rubbed against a surface in order to remove paint, smooth out a surface, or make a surface rougher.

Sandpaper doesn’t only differ in material, but also in grit size. The grit rating, ranging from 40 to 400, refers to the sandpaper’s coarseness by way of particle size. Higher-grit sandpaper (smaller particles) is finer, and lower-grit sandpaper (larger particles) is rougher. The grit size you use will depend on what you’re trying to achieve with a given surface, and at what step of the process you’re in. For instance, a coarser, lower-grit sandpaper is often used for initial sanding purposes to get rid of more material in a shorter time period. Finer sandpaper is typically employed to finish the process, providing a smooth finish free from surface imperfections.

Is Sanding Always Necessary?

Sanding is an integral component of just about any refinishing task, whether you’re planning on applying deck stain outside, repairing and/or re-coating an interior wall, or painting your home’s exterior. By sanding a surface, you’re not just making it look and feel smoother, but you’re also cultivating a more adhesive area for the primer, paint, or stain to stick to.

If you’re just performing minor touch-ups, you can get away with skipping sanding. But even in these situations, it’s best to quickly go over the portion you plan on painting with the proper grit sandpaper.

Knowing When and How to Sand Before Painting

So, it’s clear that you should sand a surface before painting it. That said, you might wonder at what point should you perform this task. As previously mentioned, painting preparation involves several steps, so where does sanding come into play?

In truth, you might find yourself sanding at various points of the process, depending on the specific project. If you’re repairing drywall prior to home interior painting, for instance, you’ll want to sand down the dried caulk/joint compound so the patch job is flush with the rest of the wall.

In most cases, your initial sanding should take place after you’ve cleaned a given surface. It’s worth noting that coarse sandpaper can also get rid of dirt and debris via friction and heat, but water and detergent often do a better job of eliminating these substances. So, if you’re planning on painting your home’s face, exterior power washing should be the first thing on your checklist. Then, once dried, you can sand surfaces that need it most. This one-two-punch of cleaning and sanding will ensure the strongest adhesion for your paint.

Sanding Can Be Rough, Call the Experts

With so many surfaces to cover and so many types and sizes of sandpaper on the market, you might feel helpless. If so, consider hiring a reliable Nashville painting company to help you with your painting preparation needs. Look for a provider that handles all aspects of interior and exterior painting, as well as other home improvement tasks.

At Nash Painting, in addition to our painting services, we offer power washing services, wallpaper removal, door refinishing, and, of course, surface preparation. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at (615) 829-6858 today!