Categories Painting

Sanding Between Coats of Paint: Should You Do It?

When Should You Sand Between Coats of Paint?

There are several factors that will determine if sanding between coats of paint is necessary for your DIY project. Where and what you are painting as well as what kind of paint you are painting with are all factors that will determine if sanding between coats will be beneficial. The good news is, you generally won’t harm anything by taking the extra time to sand. However, with time being a precious commodity, you might not want to throw in that added step unless it will make a noticeable difference in your finished product.

When You Should Sand Between Coats of Paint

The proper amount of sanding can make all the difference in the outcome of your painting project. If the surface you’re painting has peeling or bubbling paint, you’ll most certainly want to sand it down before applying your first coat.

 Sanding serves multiple purposes, such as creating a slightly rough surface which helps your paint adhere better as well as removing any old paint. Taking the extra time to sand when necessary could save you time in the long run. By not sanding, you may end up wasting more time in an effort to correct your mistakes later. But when it comes to sanding between coats, there are some important things to consider because every project is unique.

  • What Type of Paint You’re Using

What type of paint you choose to work with will ultimately be the biggest factor in determining if you need to sand between coats. Some paints adhere extremely well to certain surfaces while others need a rough or scuffed-up area for the best application.

 For example, when working with bathroom trim or kitchen cabinets with semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes, you’ll most definitely need to sand between coats. This is because typically, most paint won’t adhere to a glossy surface. On the other hand, if you’ve already painted your living room with a matte or eggshell finish paint, after adequate drying time, you’re safe to apply a second coat with no sanding at all in between. 

Opting to work with cheap paint is also another factor to consider. Lower-quality paints have more of a tendency to drip, run, bubble, and leave behind brush strokes far more than paints that are of higher quality. You really do get what you pay for. However, sanding between coats can cover up a myriad of imperfections as well as help your paint adhere better. 

  • Where You’re Painting

Sanding can be tedious and messy but well worth it in the end. It can help you achieve the silky-smooth finish we all desire. As a general rule, it isn’t necessary to sand between coats when painting drywall interior projects. Minor imperfections on your wall or tiny bits of debris from your roller won’t be noticeable against a slightly textured wall. However, areas with bright lighting that will spotlight your walls or cabinets are prime candidates for that extra dose of sanding.

  • How Long the Project Will Take

Properly sanding between coats can be a fairly quick addition to your project or can add quite a bit of time depending on the kind of surface you’re painting. A smooth surface will require you to thoroughly sand the entire wall which could take a considerable amount of time. In comparison, sanding a textured area may mean nothing more than sanding down a few areas where you see blemishes or imperfections. 

It’s also important to take into account for proper drying times between coats. You need to allow for a minimum of 24 hours of drying time between coats which could significantly postpone the completion of your project for a few days. If you have the time to sand between coats, it’s probably a good idea. But if you simply need the project completed on a deadline, you may have to forego the extra sanding and decide if the quality of your project or your time constraints are more important.

  • Tools You’ll Need

Make sure you select the sandpaper with the proper grit for your project. Generally, 180-220 grit is a good choice for sanding between coats. These extra fine grits do a great job on most interior walls. Grits of 240 and higher are best suited for projects where polishing is involved. 

Remember that after you’ve finished sanding between coats, you’ll need to wipe down the surface with a rag to completely remove the fine dust left behind. If much dust has settled on the surface, your second coat won’t adhere correctly. 

When You Should Not Sand Between Coats of Paint

There are a few instances when we recommend NOT sanding between coats of paint. Sanding between coats of touch-up paint, primer coats, or clearcoat can often leave you in a bind and unnecessary work. Your basecoat may feel dry but could potentially still be too soft to sand down. No one wants to sand the entire finish down and start over. 

Once you’ve completed your last coat of primer, you should go ahead and sand before applying your first coat of base color. However, there is no reason at all to sand between coats of primer. It will only add more work to your plate with no visible benefits. 

Sanding Between Coats of Paint Conclusion

While sanding between coats of paint is usually of benefit, it’s a good idea to evaluate your circumstances and consider what kind of paint you’re using and the surface you’re working on to help make your decision. If you have a painting project that you want to turn over to the professionals at a low cost to you, call Boise Home Painting. We are a local business that can provide you with the experience and skills you deserve. Whether your project is large or small, we bring passion and quality to every job we take. We serve the entire Boise area including Meridian and Eagle. Click here to schedule your free estimate.

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