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Guide

What Grit Sandpaper for Drywall

by Michelle Chan 14 Dec 2023 0 Comments

Are you still struggling to figure out what sandpaper grit is good suited for your drywall sanding project? Are you unsure which type of sandpaper to choose to achieve a smooth and professional finish? In this comprehensive guide, we have got you covered. We will not only answer all your burning questions about sandpaper selections but also provide you with valuable insights and expert recommendations to ensure you make the right choices for your drywall sanding needs.

what grit sandpaper for drywall

How Sandpaper Grit Works

Sandpaper is made up of abrasive particles embedded in a backing material. The grit of sandpaper refers to the size of these particles. Lower grit numbers have larger particles, while higher grit numbers have smaller particles. As the grit number increases, the surface finish becomes smoother, while a lower grit number results in a coarser finish but a faster material removal rate.

Sandpaper comes in various grits, each serving a specific purpose in the sanding process. Here is an overview of the different grits and when to use them.

Sandpaper Grit Usage
Coarse Grits (40-80)
  • For rough shaping of wood, or heavy sanding and stripping.
  • Removing large amounts of paint or varnish.
  • Initial sanding of rough or uneven surfaces.
Medium Grits (100-150)
  • For removing small imperfections.
  • For smoothing surfaces.
  • For most sanding purposes.
Fine Grits (180-220)
  • Creating a smoother surface before applying paint or finishes.
  • Further smoothing and preparing the surface for finishing touches.
Extra Fine Grits (>240)
  • For delicate touch-ups or sanding between coats of finish.
  • Achieving a polished and ultra-smooth finish.

What's A Good Sandpaper Grit for Sanding Drywall?

To accomplish a smooth finish when sanding drywall, selecting the right grit sandpaper is crucial. Here are the recommended grits for different stages of the drywall sanding process:

100 Grit Sandpaper:

If your drywall joints have rough, ridged, or lumpy areas, using 100-grit sandpaper is ideal. This grit is effective enough in leveling out uneven surfaces and removing rough buildup. It helps create a smoother base for further sanding. Avoid using sandpaper with grits lower than 100 unless necessary, as that may damage your drywall, leaving scratches or lines.

120 Grit Sandpaper:

For drywall mud that is relatively smooth, start with 120-grit sandpaper. This grit level allows for refinement without risking visible scratches on the smooth joint compound. It helps to maintain the smoothness while further smoothing out the joints.

150 Grit Sandpaper:

After the initial sanding with either 100 or 120 grit, transition to 150 grit sandpaper. This finer grit continues smoothing and ensures a more refined and even finish on the joints.

220 Grit Sandpaper:

For achieving a seamless drywall surface, finishing with 220-grit sandpaper is essential. This fine grit helps refine the surface further, removing any minor irregularities left by the previous sanding stages. It prepares the drywall for painting or applying finishes, resulting in a professional-looking end result.

Friendly Notes:

Sandpaper with extra fine grit of 220 or higher is not suitable for effective drywall sanding, as it will not provide the desired results and may cause minimal, barely visible scratches.

By following this recommended sequence of sandpaper grits, you can effectively smooth out the drywall surface and create a flawless finish. Always remember to progress from coarser to finer grits for optimal results.

What Type of Sandpaper Should You Choose

When it comes to sanding drywall, selecting the correct type or grade of sandpaper is crucial for achieving a smooth finish. Here are the common sandpaper types:

  • Aluminum-Oxide Sandpaper: For optimal results, choose aluminum-oxide sandpaper. Compared to other types, it has a longer lifespan and wears down at a slower rate. Its open-coat design prevents clogging, ensuring efficient sanding.
  • Garnet Sandpaper: Although garnet sandpaper is open-coat, it is not as durable as aluminum oxide. It tends to wear out more quickly and tear more easily due to its thinner substrate.
  • Silicon-Carbide Sandpaper: Silicon-carbide sandpaper offers faster material removal compared to others. However, it tends to wear out at a much faster rate. It is commonly used for smoothing hardened and rough drywall compound surfaces, and can also be utilized for wet sanding due to its waterproof backing.

Overall, aluminum-oxide sandpaper with a grit range of 120-150 is a good suited for sanding drywall. This grit and grade strikes a balance between material removal and surface refinement, resulting in a smooth finish. To save time and effort, consider choosing pre-cut sheets that are specifically designed to fit your drywall sander.

What Tools Should You Use to Sand Drywall

Hand-sanding Tool:

For smaller drywall jobs, a hand-sanding tool is perfect. It allows for precise control and is compatible with standard sandpaper. Sanding blocks and sanding sponges specifically designed for drywall are versatile options that resist clogging with drywall dust, making them ideal for achieving a smooth surface.

Pole Sander:

When sanding ceilings and high walls, a pole sander is necessary. It extends your reach, making it easier to sand those hard-to-access areas. The pole sander has a long handle and a sanding pad attachment, allowing you to cover larger surface areas with minimal effort.

Electric Drywall Sander:

For larger-scale drywall projects, an electric drywall sander is highly recommended. These sanders are designed to provide power and efficiency while reducing strain and saving time. An excellent option is the Bravex electric drywall sander. With its distinctive features such as 99% automatic dust removal, an 800W high-power output motor, and 6.5 amps of sanding power, it offers exceptional performance. It also features 6 variable speeds from 500 to 1800 RPM and a 360° rotation of the sanding disk, allowing for precise control and versatility. The Bravex electric drywall sander is a reliable tool that can significantly speed up your sanding process while delivering professional results.

bravex electric drywall sander

If you're interested in learning more about the drywall sanding tools, you can check out the blog Drywall Sander 2023 where we provide in-depth reviews and recommendations for some of the top-rated drywall sanders in the market.

Drywall Sanding Tips

When it comes to drywall sanding, using the right techniques can make a major difference in getting a flawless surface. Here are some helpful tips to maximize the effectiveness of your sanding process:

Tip 1. Start with the Proper Grit of Sandpaper:

Choose the appropriate grit sandpaper for each stage of the sanding process. Begin with a coarser grit, such as 100, to tackle rough areas and gradually transition to finer grits like 150 or 220 for smoother refinement. This progressive approach ensures efficient material removal and minimizes the risk of leaving visible scratches.

Tip 2. Use Light Pressure:

Apply gentle and even pressure when sanding with your chosen sandpaper. Avoid pressing too hard, as it can create uneven surfaces.

Tip 3. Sand in a circular motion:

To get an even and uniform surface, sand in a circular pattern. This technique helps to blend the sanding marks and prevents the formation of visible lines or grooves.

Tip 4. Keep the Sandpaper Clean:

Regularly clean your sandpaper to prevent it from clogging and losing its effectiveness. Tap or brush the sandpaper against a hard surface to get rid of any accumulated dust or clogged particles. Using sandpaper with an open-coat design, such as aluminum oxide, can help reduce clogging.

Tip 5. Check Your Progress Regularly:

Periodically stop and inspect your work to evaluate the progress. Run your hand over the sanded surface to feel for any rough spots or inconsistencies. If necessary, switch to a finer grit sandpaper to achieve a smoother finish.

By following these drywall sanding tips and utilizing the appropriate sandpaper, you can ensure a professional and seamless finish for your drywall project. Remember to choose the right grit, use proper techniques, and maintain a clean work environment to reach a good results.

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