Which Sandpaper Should Use To Remove Paint?

If paint needs to be removed from the surface, choosing the correct sandpaper grit is very important to get the job done right. Not knowing what level of coated abrasive is best for the project, whether coarse or fine, can cause you to inadvertently scratch and damage wood or other underlying surfaces while sanding paint.


For paint removal, the roughness of the sandpaper will be most affected by the amount of paint you’re removing and the type of surface underneath it. If you’re lucky and there’s nothing more complicated than a thin, clean coat of paint, you might want to forego gritting and sanding entirely and just use a liquid paint remover.


1. Coarse sandpaper

Usually graded P40 to P80, which is a coarser grade, this sandpaper is used to remove thick layers of paint and is ideal if used with a power sander. If your initial inspection of the walls tells you that you must finish with multiple thick layers of finish, paint, and primer, then it’s a no-brainer.

While a paint stripper can indeed accomplish the same task, the precision of hand sanding requires less tape and worry about messes.


Coarse sandpaper can also be useful if you just want to remove the paint from the door frame or trim and let the walls cover.


WARNING: Be careful when using coarse sandpaper as it can severely damage the underlying surface and create larger scratches on softer materials such as wood. If you do end up using a sander, proceed with caution, follow product directions, and wear protective gear.


2. Medium grit sandpaper

Medium-grit sandpaper, with a grit between P80 and P180, has a good level of paint removal and is less likely to damage the underlying surface. If your surface is an intricate design, it is best to use a medium grade of paint to protect the carved design underneath the paint.


3. Medium sandpaper

This has a higher grit size, between P180 and P500, and is not as effective at removing most painted surfaces. However, this grade is more useful if you have removed most of the paint. A medium grade sandpaper will take away the next coat of paint and further reduce the paint by sanding the last coat. It’s also the best sandpaper to buff away paint that has peeled off.

4. High quality sandpaper

This grade of sandpaper is not at all effective at removing paint. Since it’s rated between P500 and P1200, it’s more useful once you’ve removed the paint and can see the original surface underneath. Fine sandpaper is ideal for removing residue left over from paint removal projects and can produce a smoother surface before painting.


5. Very fine sandpaper

This type of sandpaper is rated P1200 or higher. Very fine sandpaper is not at all good for removing paint, but it does give the job a very fine finish once the new paint has been applied and dried. This grit grade of sandpaper is also great for sanding away small imperfections on freshly painted material, or smoothing out the final finish while the surface is still workable. Use very fine paper to make these touches at the last minute before applying the protective paint or sealer.


6. Liquid sandpaper

Liquid sandpaper is the latest addition to the sandpaper market, but it’s not quite sandpaper. It’s actually a liquid mixture of chemicals that tarnish the painted surface to provide a bond for the new coat. It can be used with regular sandpaper, but it cannot be used alone.


WARNING: If you choose to use liquid sandpaper, follow the instructions very carefully as it is highly flammable and should not be used in enclosed spaces.



No matter what type of sandpaper you choose, it should be suitable for machine and work. For more about sandpaper, please click here: http://car-abrasive.com/.