Projects on wood surfaces, DIY or otherwise, need sandpaper for a smooth and beautiful finish. Surface preparation of wood require the use of sandpaper, whether you want to remove the current coating on an already painted wood surface, or polish a wood surface that has not been painted yet.

Sandpaper has grit which gives it its abrasive quality. Manufacturers base the grade of the sandpaper based on the size of the grits. In this video, Dave shows what sandpaper grade is needed for the different surfaces and different job requirements.

The Gritty Guide to Sandpaper

What is important to remember when it comes to sandpaper grit is that: THE HIGHER THE NUMBER, THE FINER THE GRIT.

Another thing about sandpaper that is important to note are the types. There are two: 1) aluminum oxide, and 2) silicon carbide.

Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper

This type of sandpaper is the workhorse of the sandpaper world that you can find in workshops and garages. It’s great for sanding wood, metal, and drywall surfaces, which have been painted or not. It can be used for power sanding and hand-sanding.

Silicon Carbide Sandpaper

Silicon carbide is used for wet sanding applications on wood, glass, metal, stone, marble, and plastic. For wood surfaces, silicon carbide sandpaper is usually used for refinishing wood flooring.

Sandpaper Grades

Sandpaper Grades in Painting 101 | MyBoysen

Again, let me repeat that the higher the number, the finer the grit. We made a video a while back called Painting 101 which also talks about sandpaper. Click on this link to see the video. It’s a good one for a newbie DIYer to see, or as a refresher for more experienced painters.

Use rough sandpaper (grade 120-280) to even out surfaces during the surface prep stage. Use fine sandpaper (grade 320-1000/1200) in between coats to polish lap or brush marks.

After Sanding

After sanding, don’t ignore the accumulated dust. Use a vacuum to remove the particles that are on the surfaces. After vacuuming, take a damp washcloth and wipe the surface. If it’s a wall, start at the top of the wall and go in one direction, preferably towards your floor. If you have a lot of dust, you may need to change your washcloth frequently. This tedious process will ensure that the dust doesn’t mix with the primer and paint. The end result will be a smooth and fine finish.

Interested in more DIY wood projects? Click on this link.

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Annie is the Managing Editor of Let it B | MyBoysen Blog. An unrepentant workaholic, she runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions ( She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special. Annie learned interior styling while managing her own wholesale business in the Netherlands, importing high-end, handmade home furnishings to stock four outlets and a showroom in the country.

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