Sandpaper for Furniture Painting

If you’re painting furniture, you want to choose the best sandpaper for furniture painting to make your paint stick the best it can.

Plus, what’s the secret to getting a perfect finish? Sandpaper!

Having the right sandpaper on hand is essential to give your furniture that flawless finish you’re aiming for.

But choosing what sandpaper to use can be confusing.

different types of sandpaper for furniture painting

There are different types of sandpaper, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

This blog post will help you choose the right type of sandpaper for your project.

So if you’re looking to transform your old pieces into something beautiful, read on!

Types of Sandpaper

Sanding Sheets

sanding sheets laid out on a table

Sanding sheets are made from either natural or synthetic mineral abrasives that are glued onto paper or cloth backing.

They come in various grit sizes, from coarse to extra-fine, and can be used for rough and delicate sanding jobs.

While they may not last as long as other types of sandpaper, they offer a cost-effective option for smaller projects or jobs requiring multiple grits.

Foam Sanding Pads

foam sanding pads in different shapes and sizes

Foam sanding pads are basically sandpaper with a foam pad, providing cushioning and conformability, which makes them perfect for contoured surfaces that require extra attention during the sanding process.

They come in grits from coarse to very fine.

But they aren’t as effective at removing stains or paint because of the foam.

Sanding Discs

red sanding discs with vacuum holes

Sanding discs are circular sheets with an adhesive backing that attaches directly to orbital sanders. These abrasive discs come in various grits and can be used for heavy-duty tasks such as removing paint from flat surfaces. They offer excellent speed and efficiency but should only be used on flat surfaces due to their aggressive nature.

Sanding Screens

few pieces of rectangular sanding screens

Sanding screens are sheets of a mesh-like material that have small particles embedded into them. These screens can be used on both large flat surfaces as well as intricate details due to their flexible nature, which allows them to conform to curved surfaces easily while still providing ample abrasive power where needed most. Additionally, they don’t clog up quickly like traditional papers do, so they last longer.

What are Grits for Sandpaper

different grits of sandpaper

Sandpaper Grits are typically found from 60 grit to 400 grit.

Lower grit numbers indicate coarser sandpaper, while higher grit numbers mean finer sandpaper. Coarse paper (60-80) will remove paint or stain faster than fine (120-220).

However, the coarse paper also scratches more and leaves deeper marks on the surface.

Fine-grit sandpaper is great for scuff sanding before painting and removing light texture or brush marks from painted furniture. Coarse sandpaper is great for removing stain or paint.

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Best Type of Sandpaper for Furniture Painting

When it comes to painting furniture, you want to make sure that you’re using the best sandpaper for the job.

There are a variety of different types of sandpaper available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

3M Pro Grade Precision Faster Sanding Sheets

3m pro grade precision faster sanding sheets

When it comes to the best types of sandpapers for furniture painting, 3M Pro Grade Precision Faster Sanding Sheets are some of the best.

It has grits that last longer and won’t rip like other cheap sandpapers. These are the cheapest of the best types of sandpaper and they are great for sanding by hand before and during your furniture painting project. But they also attach to palm sanders that have latches that hold onto sandpaper.

SurfPrep Foam Sanding Sponges

surfprep foam sanding sponge squished with one hand

Another great choice is SurfPrep Foam Sanding Sponges, as they can contour to the shape of the furniture and allows you to sand even tight spaces and details easier. They come in a variety of sizes. For 5″ orbital sanders, SurfPrep’s 3×4″ sander, Festool’s RES 400 REQ sanders, and even mouse detail sanders.

sanding leg of a table with surfprep sander and foam sponge

They have hook and loop backing that will stick to any sander that has hook and loop backing.

But you can also buy 3×4″ pads without vacuum holes for sanding by hand.

Sanding Screens

sanding screen attached to an orbital sander

Perfect for scuff sanding flat surfaces, or removing paint or stain from flat surfaces is the Diablo 5″ Sanding Screens.

They last much longer than cheaper sandpapers, but they won’t rip and tear like those, either. Best of all, they don’t get clogged as easily.

They fit on many different 5″ orbital sanders. These sanding screens attach to sanders that have a hook and loop pad.

I love to use SurfPrep’s 3×4″ sanding screens as well. They are very similar to Diablo’s sanding screens but in a smaller, rectangular shape.

sanding screen attached to surfprep 3x4" sander

I have used the Diablo sanding screens on my SurfPrep Sander 3×4″ sander, even though they are a different shape.

What Grit Sandpaper for Wood Furniture Before Painting?

Sanding furniture before painting is an important step in creating a professional paint job.

Learn more about the importance of sanding before painting furniture here.

My go-to is 220-grit sandpaper because it lightly scuffs the surface without leaving deep scratches like you might get if you use a lower grit like 150 or 180.

scuff sanding laminate wood surface with 220 grit sandpaper

I feel like that makes your painted wood or laminate furniture look better. And the paint will stick better than if you didn’t sand at all.

What Grit Sandpaper to Use Between Paint Coats?

When painting furniture, sanding between coats of paint can make all the difference between an amateur paint job and a professional paint job.

Sanding between coats of paint can help remove brush marks or texture that was left behind by your paint brush, roller or paint sprayer. Some say that it helps the paint stick to itself… but I think that only really matters if you have let your paint cure before painting over it.

What Grit Sandpaper to Smooth Paint?

If you’re painting furniture and want a smooth, professional look, it’s important to sand the paint between each coat. 220-grit sandpaper will help you quickly remove brush marks and texture that come from however you painted the paint on.

If you just need light smoothing and no distressing, consider using 400-grit sandpaper, which is ideal for smoothing your paint out very slightly. 400-grit sandpaper won’t distress your paint as much as 220-grit sandpaper will. Just make sure that your paint is fully dry before lightly rubbing them with sandpaper, or else your sandpaper will get clogged up.

What Grit Sandpaper to Use Between Polyurethane Coats?

Sanding between coats of polyurethane is essential if you want your painted furniture to look and feel professional.

Use 400-grit sandpaper to lightly smooth out each coat of polyurethane after it is dry. Then remove the dust and apply another coat of polyurethane.

Don’t use anything lower than 400 grit – if you do, you’ll end up with scratches that will show right through the next coat of polyurethane.

What grit sandpaper to scuff paint to repaint?

If you are repainting furniture with more paint, use 220-grit sandpaper to scuff up the existing paint and help the new paint stick better.

If the original paint on your furniture has scratched off or is in bad shape, you may want to remove the paint before painting it again. Otherwise, the new paint will scratch off just as easily as the original paint.

Learn more about removing paint from furniture here.

With so many different types of sandpaper available, it’s important to understand what each one does best before choosing the right one for your furniture project. We hope this blog post has given you some insight into the differences between sandpaper and which ones to use for your painted furniture.

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