Sandpaper: which types are suitable for your sanding job?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 16, 2022
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Sandpaper or glasspaper are generic names used for a type of coated abrasive that consists of a heavy paper with abrasive material attached to its surface.

Despite the use of the names neither sand nor glass are now used in the manufacture of these products as they have been replaced by other abrasives.


Sandpaper is produced in different grit sizes and is used to remove small amounts of material from surfaces, either to make them smoother (for example, in painting and wood finishing), to remove a layer of material (such as old paint), or sometimes to make the surface rougher (for example, as a preparation for gluing ).

Sandpaper, for which job is this suitable?

Types of sandpaper and with which sandpaper you should sand certain surfaces to get a good result.

You cannot get a good result without sandpaper. Before you start sanding, you should pay attention to dust that gets into your lungs, the so-called fine dust. That is why I strongly recommend that you always use a dust mask. A dust mask is a must for all sanding projects.

Why sandpaper is so important

Sandpaper is so important because it allows you to sand rough surfaces, primed layers and unevenness, so that you get a smooth and flat surface. Another function of sandpaper is that you can roughen up old layers of paint to get a better adhesion with a primer (we’ve reviewed them here) or lacquer layer. You can also remove rust and make wood that is already somewhat weathered, beautiful.

To get a nice end result you have to use the right grain size

If you want to sand well, you have to do this in steps. By that I mean that you first start with a coarse sandpaper and end with a fine one. I will now summarize.

If you want to remove paint, start with a grain (hereinafter referred to as K) 40/80. The second step is with 120 grit. If you want to treat bare surfaces you should start with K120 and then K180. Sanding must of course also be done between the primer and the paint layer. For this project you will use K220 and then finish with 320, you can also do this when sanding varnish. As a last and certainly not unimportant sanding for the last stain or lacquer layer, you only use K400. You also have sandpaper for soft wood, steel, hard wood, etc.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.