Sanding Supplies

Sanding supplies for house painting typically include sandpaper, sanding sponges, sanding discs for orbital sanders, and pre-cut sandpaper and sanding screens for pole sanders. Popular name brands include 3M and Norton.

A standard sheet of sandpaper is 9 x 11 inches. Sandpaper is usually available in the following quantities wherever sanding supplies are sold.

  • Individual sheets
  • Contractor pack – 25 sheets
  • Sleeve – 100 sheets

Sandpaper Grits
Sandpapers are graded according to coarseness. The grit number is calculated by the number of abrasive particles per square inch. The lower the grit number, the coarser is the sandpaper. Coarse grades of sandpaper work well for rough surfaces. Conversely, the higher the grit number, the finer is the sandpaper which in turn is well suited for smoother surfaces.

40-60 grit

Very rough surfaces
80-100 grit
Rough and semi rough surfaces
120-150 grit
Medium surfaces
180-220 grit
Smooth surfaces
240-320 grit
Very smooth surfaces

Types of Sandpaper
Three common types of sandpaper abrasives are used in the house painting industry. They are aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and garnet.

Aluminum Oxide Sandpaper is widely used in the painting industry, especially for production sanding. The aluminum oxide abrasive tends to fragment, when subjected to heat and pressure. This fragmentation creates new sharp edges, allowing it to last longer than most other sandpapers. This abrasive is known for its toughness and durability. Aluminum oxide sandpaper is available in most grits, ranging from very coarse to very fine.

Silicon Carbide Sandpaper uses a silicon carbide mineral as an abrasive. Silicon carbide is a harder mineral than aluminum oxide which gives it a superior ability to cut through the hard surfaces that some paints, such as enamels produce. Silicon carbide is less likely to fragment, than aluminum oxide, causing it to wear more quickly. Silicon carbide sandpaper has an excellent reputation for fine sanding. It is available in most grits, ranging from very coarse to very fine.

Garnet Sandpaper uses a natural abrasive. Unlike aluminum oxide, garnet does not fragment and wears much quicker. This type of sandpaper works well to deliver a smooth surface on unpainted wood. It is a good choice for pre-sanding soft woods before applying stain.

Sanding Sponges
Sanding sponges are sponges with one or more abrasive faces. They are designed in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different sanding tasks where hand sanding is required. A sanding sponge that is somewhat rigid, works well as a block sander. A softer sanding sponge can be used for contour sanding. They are available in sanding grits ranging from very coarse to fine. Common usages include sanding drywall and sanding wood.

Sanding Discs for Orbital Sanders
Sandpaper discs are pre-designed to be used with orbital sanders. They are generally available in 5 inch or 6 inch diameters. Sanding discs are manufactured with two types of backing. Adhesive backed discs are made to be used with smooth sanding pads. Hook and loop backed sanding discs are compatible with hook and loop pads.

The holes found in orbital sanding pads for dust collection, vary amongst manufacturers. A variety of sanding discs are available to accommodate the different arrangements of holes. Sandpaper discs are available in aluminum oxide and silicon carbide abrasives as well as a variety of grits, ranging from very coarse to very fine.

Many paint stores that carry sanding supplies do not offer an adequate selection of sanding discs.

Pole Sander Paper
Pole sander paper includes precut sandpaper and open mesh sanding screens designed to fit pole sander heads. Typical precut sandpaper sheets are sized at 4-3/16 x 11 inches and 3-5/16 x 12 inches. Pole sander paper typically uses silicon carbide abrasives. It is obtainable in several grits, ranging from very coarse to very fine.

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Professional Painting, Inc. is a full service painting company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988.