How To Know When to Sand Before Painting
Sandpaper is a rough and ready hallmark of the home improvement world that even those who have never picked up a paintbrush can recognize. However, it’s not always obvious how to use it if you’re new to DIY house projects. Do you have to use it every time you paint? What does it even do for your paint job? We’re breaking down how to know when to sand before painting to answer these questions.
When To Use It
Surfaces Are Rough or Uneven
A perfectly smooth surface is ideal for painting, but it isn’t always a reality. This is especially true when we are painting a completely bare wall or furniture piece. You will need to smooth out areas of a surface that are rough to the touch, uneven, or have dents or gorges with a lower grit—or more abrasive—sandpaper.
There Is Old, Damaged Paint
Sometimes, it’s not the surface that is uneven, but the paint. This is common if you are trying to upcycle an old piece of furniture or restoring an older house. Painting over peeling or bubbling tape will give your paint job a rough finish and will hamper its durability.
If there is an old, peeling paint job, you don’t always have to remove all the paint to repaint the surface successfully. Focus primarily on areas where the paint is peeling, remove the paint with a scraper, and patch the areas with spackling. Once the spackling has completely dried, then you’ll apply an approximately 150 grit sandpaper to it to smooth the surface, so you can repaint it.
Note on Lead:
Be cautious when removing paint from older buildings, especially those built before 1978. These houses may have lead-based paint, and removing it can scatter lead particles into the air. Be sure to purchase a lead-testing kit and consult with a professional before touching the paint in your home.
To Improve Adhesion
Even if your surfaces are smooth, sometimes it helps to apply a fine grit paper to it anyway. This is because sandpaper adds a subtle amount of texture to the surface, improving paint adhesion. If your goal is to improve adhesion, you can sand the area before adding primer and even between individual coats of paint for a more durable finish.
When It’s Not Needed
Old Paint Is Intact
When a surface is already painted and that paint job is completely intact, typically, you can paint over the old surface without sanding first. In these cases, it's important to thoroughly clean the surface of grease, dust, and grime before painting. As mentioned, you can still choose to sand the surface to improve adhesion, but it isn’t always necessary.
The world of home improvement can be a tricky one to navigate, but knowing when to sand before painting is one simple skill that will make a world of difference in your paint job. And when you’re ready to paint your newly sanded surface, ECOS Paints has a wide variety of interior wall paints for every home project.