What Happens If You Don’t Sand Before Painting

Let’s be honest, sanding furniture is not exactly the most glamorous part of painting. It can be messy and time consuming, and many people are tempted to skip it altogether. So what happens if you don’t sand before painting furniture?

Well, we all know sanding is an important step in any painting project, but would it be possible to get away with not doing it? Let’s look into this and find out if it’s worth taking the shortcut or if we’re better off sticking to the tried and tested method of sanding.

painting furniture without sanding with text overlay

When you sand furniture, you are basically creating a smooth and even surface. Especially if your furniture has any imperfections, such as scratches or rough patches, you’ll want to sand them down to get flawless results.

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Not only does sanding help with the appearance of your furniture, but it also improves the adhesion and durability of your paint job. Paint sticks better to a sanded surface, making it less likely to peel or chip off over time. You want those features, especially for pieces that get a lot of use.

Another reason why you need to sand is that it helps to remove any existing finish on your furniture. If the piece is laminated or already painted or stained, sanding off that glossy or slick top layer makes sure the new paint sticks like it should.

So you can really see the importance of sanding before painting furniture. But again, what if you don’t want to spend the time and effort on sanding? Here’s what you need to know!

What Happens if You Skip Sanding Before Painting

There are both pros and cons to skipping sanding before painting furniture. Yes, it does have some advantages but you’ll need to see and decide if they outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s dive in!

For one, if you don’t sand, you can save a lot of time and effort. You may be short on time or simply don’t want to deal with the mess and hassle of sanding. In that case, you have the freedom to skip it.

You may be a beginner at painting furniture and don’t have the experience or skills to properly sand before painting. Going straight into painting without sanding may be the easier option for you. And that is valid!

However, there are downsides that you should consider. First, the paint job may not be as durable as one that was done after sanding. If you’re planning on using the furniture frequently, it’s definitely a good idea to take the time to sand first.

downsides when painting without sanding

There’s also a higher chance that imperfections in the wood will show through after painting without sanding. This will no doubt make your piece look unappealing and less polished. So if you’re going for that smooth, perfect finish, it’s best to stick with the traditional sanding method.

However, if you still decide to paint furniture without sanding then it should be done correctly, along with the use of these best paints for furniture without sanding to get the best possible finish without sanding. These paints may be more expensive and harder to find though, so keep that in mind as well.

We still do recommend sanding for paint prep for the best and most durable results. However, if you’re pressed for time or just want a quick update on your furniture, you can go ahead and skip sanding as long as you understand the potential outcomes.

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Preparing Wood For Painting

Now let’s talk about how to actually prepare wood for painting. It’s not just about sanding, but there are also some other important steps. Start with removing any hardware from the furniture. This will make it easier to sand and paint without having to work around them.

Next up, give your furniture a good clean. It’s likely got a bunch of dirt and grime built up over time, so you’ll want to wipe all that off before moving on to sanding. The combo of Krud Kutter and a damp rag does the trick nicely!

preparing wood before painting by cleaning and sanding

And we come back to sanding. The condition of your furniture matters – if it’s in really rough shape, you’ll need to start with a lower grit sandpaper and then move up to finer grits as you go. If it’s already smooth, high grit sandpaper will do the job.

You can also choose to sand wood by hand, or invest and use one of these best sanders for furniture. This will depend on if you’re working on a small piece or a larger one. If you see yourself tackling more sanding tasks, you might want to invest in a sander to make the job easier and faster.

How Much Should I Sand Before Painting Wood

But here’s another question: how much sanding do you actually need to do before painting? Well, this points us back to the state of your furniture. If it’s in good condition, you can go for a quick sanding just to rough up the surface.

For furniture that has imperfections and old paint or stain, you’ll need to put in a bit more effort and time. Start with a lower grit sandpaper to remove any existing finish, then move up to finer grits for that smooth surface. As you sand, keep checking the surface. A good rule of thumb is to keep at it until you can’t see any of those old flaws anymore and everything feels nice and smooth.

Here’s how to remove paint from wood without sanding if you want to give a piece a fresh new look without the hassle of sanding.

How to Remove Dust After Sanding Before Painting

Sanding brings a lot of dust, whether you like it or not, and dealing with it is no fun. But you have to do it! If not, the dust could mix with your paint and ruin the smooth finish that you want.

We usually vacuum the dust off and then wipe the furniture down with a tack cloth to pick up any remaining particles. You can also use a vacuum with an attachment to your sander to suck up the dust directly as you’re sanding. This is a super cool and handy option if you don’t want to deal with as much dust after.

using vacuum and tack cloth to remove sanding dust

No vacuum? No problem! Grab a damp cloth or tack cloth to tackle the dust. Just make sure to wring it out so it’s barely wet, and wipe in one direction to keep from just moving the dust around. After you’ve wiped everything down, let your furniture dry completely before you dive into painting!

Sanding Painted Wood for Repainting

So you have old painted wood furniture that you want to repaint. Do you still need to sand it? The short answer is yes. Long answer – absolutely!

Why? Because the new paint needs something to grab onto for better adhesion. Paint sticks better to bare wood than it does to old finishes. So after you strip away and sand those old layers, you’re basically giving your new paint a fresh and clean canvas to cling to. Here’s the whole process of how to remove paint from wood furniture, from stripping to sanding, to see how it’s done.

sanding with sander to remove any existing finish, paint, or stain

But if the current paint job is actually in good shape, like it doesn’t scratch or peel off easily, then you might be able to get away with scuff sanding before repainting. Check out our repainting furniture guide for more details on this.

We’ve laid out the difference between sanding vs not sanding wood furniture before painting, and we hope this clears up any questions you have about what happens if you decide to skip the sanding part!

Ultimately, it’s always best to sand for a more durable and polished finish, but we also understand that sometimes time and convenience are factors as well. If you do choose to paint without sanding, just make sure to use the right products and techniques so you can still create a beautiful and long lasting piece.

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