Boomer’s Corner – The Right Way to Sand

Author: Brian “Boomer” Garleb, Paint Specialist

This month in my paint corner, I will be discussing something that I know not many people particularly like and that’s sanding. Most people who read my column have sanded once or twice before and I have a few helpful hints and tips to carry out this task more efficiently and hassle-free.

A lot of people who embark on a paint project don’t think sanding is necessary. If there’s a nick, scratch or divot in the paint surface and/or flaked off paint or even drywall that has seen better days, just simply painting over it without sanding first will show all the unwanted imperfections. When looking for that smooth surface, sanding is exactly what you need and it ensures good adhesion with an overall finished look.

Remember, when you do sand, all dust needs to be removed or the paint will not stick. To strip a surface of previous coatings, I recommend starting with 60-80 grit abrasive. This is done when you wish to go back to bare wood. Once you have the bare wood, you can then go to a finer grit of 200-400 to smooth the surface. If paint is loose or flaky, you might consider power washing prior to sanding, especially when the painted or coated surfaces require more attention. The goal in this step is to remove any heavy build-up of paint.

Now that you have the surface carefully washed, I would recommend 100-150 grit with a power sander. This will feather the edges well and help the primer and topcoat look uniform. Also, if you have pre-primed surfaces, scuffing is a highly recommended step. Using 180-320 grit will help with topcoat adhesion. Finally, use a tack cloth to remove all the traces of your sanding. You don’t want to leave any trace of dust that could lead to a paint failure!

If you have questions about sanding or painting, you can call me at 618-972-9516 or email me at