With varying types available, you might be wondering what grit of sandpaper removes paint from wood effectively. You cannot just use whatever sandpaper you find lying around to get the job done. The wrong grit or coarseness can potentially damage the surface of the wood. To help you decide on the grit most suited to your task, check the paint’s thickness that you need to remove from the wood. A guideline to remember is that the higher the sandpaper’s grit grade, the gentler the sandpaper will be. A sheet of sandpaper with a higher grade will then be useless in removing a thick layer of paint. Read on to find out more.
Other Methods of Removing Paint From Wood
But first, is it the sandpaper method that you need with the paint you ought to remove? Sanding, or using sandpaper, is just one way of removing paint from wood. Before we discuss what grit of sandpaper removes paint from wood, let’s find out other methods. The other methods are stripping and using tools like heat guns, infrared devices, and steam strippers to melt the paint.
With the right temperature, heat guns melt away layers of paint and work well in tight spaces and corners. Heat guns resemble hair dryers. Since you are working with heat, it is important to find the right level that will not be too slow to soften and remove paint, or too high to emit fumes or burn the wood.
These tools use infrared technology to make paint disintegrate. They are ‘silent workers’ and are ideal for those who may be disturbed by noise. But as they are quite hefty in size, infrared devices may not be ideal for tight spaces. They work quickly, too. Half a minute is enough for infrared devices to melt paint away, even the peskiest and hardest to remove. So aside from considering what grit of sandpaper removes paint from wood, you may also try these kinds of devices.
These tools use the heat from water vapor to remove paint from wood. However, since these entail a lot of moisture from vapor, this method may cause water to penetrate into the wood and damage it.
Stripping, on the other hand, is a conventional way of removing paint from wood. It involves using a solution called a paint stripper to remove paint from wood. The paint stripping solution usually comes in a liquid form or maybe in gels and pastes. These are chemical solutions, so it is of utmost importance to read product instructions and do a bit more research.
To strip paint from wood, you would need protective gear because, as was mentioned, you are working with a chemical solution—gear up with some thick rubber gloves and a protective covering for the face like a mask.
- Step 1. Begin by pouring some of the paint strippers into a small bowl.
- Step 2. Dip your paintbrush into the bowl and apply the paint stripper on the wooden surface, like you would when you paint. Start with small portions of wood at a time.
- Step 3. Let the paint stripper stay on the surface until you see the paint react by bubbling and cracking.
- Step 4. Scrape away the bubbling and cracking bits of paint until there is nothing left.
- Step 5. Pay attention to the bubbling. This is the best and easiest time to scrape the paint away.
- Step 6. Reapply the paint stripper on the wood until you see all of the paint gone.
- Step 7. Apply mineral spirits on the wooden surface to remove the paint stripper off.
Still, using paint strippers exposes you to chemicals and gases that might not be safe all the time. Thus, the traditional, tried, and tested way is to use a sheet of good, old sandpaper.
3 Types of Sandpaper
Let’s discuss three types of sandpaper with corresponding grits and the usual jobs they are used for. Then, you can decide on what grit of sandpaper removes paint from wood.
- Coarse Sandpaper. With a grit level of P40 to P80, coarse sandpaper is ideal for removing thick coatings of paint on wood. Like how it is named, this type of sandpaper has a rough surface and may not be safe for softer materials. With its coarseness, it can potentially cause unwanted marks on softer wooden surfaces.
But if you are working with a sturdier wooden material, like a doorframe, for example, coarse sandpaper ought to be your choice. It has the capacity to also sand down and take the wood primer off, which is the base coat before paint is applied on wood. Coarse sandpaper is also often used with a power sander.
- Medium Coarse Sandpaper. This is a less bristly type of sandpaper with a grit grade of P80 to P180. If you are sanding down paint off an embossed or carved surface, this grit is right for you.
- Medium Sandpaper. The medium sandpaper has a grit level of approximately P180 to P500. It may not get the job done if you are removing paint from wood, but at least you know that there’s a gentler option like this. Still, don’t toss your medium sandpaper away. You can still use this for the final polish to remove the tiny paint spots left from a major sanding down.
In removing paint from wood, you cannot just use whatever sandpaper you’ll find lying around or any other method that might damage your wood. With these choices available for you, you are now more knowledgeable about what grit of sandpaper removes paint from wood. No need for expensive stuff or professional fees; you can do it yourself. Besides, a little DIY project won’t hurt. Here’s how to learn more about sandpaper.