What About Getting a Perfect Finish by Sanding?

Written by on February 13, 2017 in Ask the Topcoat Team! with 0 Comments

Thanks for all the great info on your website.

My question: can I sand latex painted wood (trim, shelves etc.) with 1000 – 1500 grit after the final coat? I’ll be using the ETS 150/5.

Is getting a perfect finish by sanding possible without using a sprayer?

Thanks, Greg

Hi Greg

Getting a perfect finish by sanding would be called polishing, and it is difficult to do. Especially with latex paints, and if there are any details beyond flat surfaces. We have tried. You might get away with it on a perfectly flat surface like a small table top, but even then it is difficult. If there are any corners or details, forget it.

In our experiments, you can get 90% of a flat surface to polish perfectly, but there will be a corner or an edge where it burns and is ruined. Latex paints seem to soft.

getting a perfect finish by sanding

Orange (medium) sponge pad…

If you want to try it, you will need to go further than 1000-1500 and transition out of conventional abrasives. Even at 1000-1500 grit, there is still “scratching” happening.

You would need to step up to orange foam pads (medium), white pads (fine) and/or sheepskin and go into the liquid polish realm.

Getting a Perfect Finish by Sanding means Polishing

Also, polishing is best done with Rotex sanders because of their eccentric stroke pattern. You can polish to a very high gloss. The downside is that touch ups down the road would be difficult compared to a conventionally applied finish.

Our colleague and fellow trainer Brian Sedgeley produces remarkable polished finishes on flat surfaces with clear finish using Rotex and this series of pads with liquid polish. It is fun to learn about getting a perfect finish by sanding, and it is challenging to master.

getting a perfect finish by sanding

Sheepskin…

getting a perfect finish by sanding

White (fine) foam pad…

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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