Sand between Coats of Paint to Make it Smooth

Painting has always been a fun job but doing it perfectly is not a fun fact. It requires an immense amount of skill and most importantly patience. Without patience, painting an object or wall will not bring any satisfying result. As a result, you will have bumps, scratches, and unevenness on the wall. But don’t get disappointed because there are always some ways open for you. You might want your living room pops out with beautiful colors on the walls. But without painting, you can bring that real beauty.

Therefore, we found painting is the most aesthetic job for any DIYer. On top of that, if it is an interior wall paint job, then you will have to face some tricks. As we have already said the possible downsides, that you might face due to not taking enough care or giving enough attention while doing the painting job. Sand between coats of paint is one of the tricks that will make you confused at times. Without sanding, your paint might not adhere to the desired place strictly and that will definitely make the object look bad. Therefore, we prefer sanding before applying paint.

Sand between Coats of Paint

A proper sanding of your wall will abolish all the old peeling paint and make it as smooth as possible with its grit. But what will happen when you try to sand between coats of gloss paint or car paint? Will that be a wise thing to do? Keep in touch if you really want to know about all these questions and learn something new and interesting to improve your DIY career.

Why Do You Need to Sand between Coats of Paint?

When the question arises if it is necessary to sand between coats of paint then you cannot have a single straight answer for it. The situation of paint, its quality, and its types are greatly dependent on the whole process of sanding between coats of paint. Some situations ask for sanding between coats of paint while some don’t. In this circumstance, how would you know if it is necessary to sand between coats of wall paint or not?

Certain aspects will make you want to sand between coats of your paint and those aspects are-

a) To Get More Beautiful Walls:

You must know one important fact sanding between coats of paint is a very sensitive job. People adopt this idea only when they want an excellent finish to their interior walls to make them immensely beautiful. You don’t do this extra trouble while painting the wall of your garage because it is of no use unless you are too sophisticated to make it look as beautiful as your interior walls.

Therefore, if you want a beautiful decoration with a popped painting on your walls, then you should adopt this sanding process between coats of paint.

b) To Make the First Coat Even:

You might make a mistake while giving the first coat of paint. The mistake might include that you didn’t do a good job in peeling off the old paint from the wall or didn’t do the sanding job properly in the first place before applying the first coat of paint to the wall. In this situation, the result will disappoint you when the first coat will dry.

You will face continuous bumps, hoof marks of old paint, and uneven texture of the paint that makes the paint look duller. You can only mitigate this situation by sanding the coat following the accurate instructions and lowering the range of bumpiness and unevenness of the wall. This will help the second coat to cover all the blemishes and faults of the wall to the greatest extent and save you from having an ugly-looking wall altogether.

c) To Have a Finer Finish and Topcoat:

A lot of reasons can be lurking in the air that you want to sand between coats of paint and one of them is to have a finer finish than anything. If you take the paint of sanding between coats of paint then the sanding system will make the previous painting more even. I mean what is sandpaper made for, right?! This evenness will increase the adhesion ability of the second coat of paint to the largest extent.

Thus when you apply the second coating, the paint will pop out once it gets cured and the topcoat seems even more alright then. The smoothness and evenness of the wall after the final finish will leave you stunned.

Why Is It Necessary to Smooth the Paint?

The reason you are painting your wall is to make it look beautiful for sure. Without paint how can you ask for something like this? On top of that, you are not going to get anything desired if you don’t sacrifice your precious time and learn the skill beforehand. You must smooth your paint to get what you desire from it. The reasons you need to smooth the paint are simple and reasonable enough.

However, most people avoid doing this because it legit requires some skills and this is kind of a risky job. But you will still see some people take the risk and go for sanding between coats because of the following reasons.

  • To get a soft texture from the paint it is necessary to smooth it.
  • As it helps the color of the paint to pop out, smoothing the paint is a must.
  • To get a long-term and durable service from paint, smoothing it is a need.
  • Sometimes a second coat or third coat of paint brings the true color of it and makes your wall look beautiful. And for this reason, smoothing the first coat of paint before the next application is necessary.

What Grit Sandpaper Should I Use between Coats of Paint?

This is a very general question that is asked by many DIYers on a normal basis. However, some experts don’t find it necessary to sand between coats of paint for several reasons. And one of the major reasons is not all materials can provide the range of strength that sanding requires after the first coat of paint.

Thinking about this major obstacle, many DIYers ask what objects they can apply the process of sanding between coats of paint and what grit they should use so that the whole process might not get ruined. So we pulled out those materials and upheld if they should be lightly sanded or heavily sanded. So, check them out.

a) Wood & Furniture:

As you are not going to remove old paint or stain from a wooden piece, you don’t need to use coarse grit sandpaper for the job. As you have already sanded the furniture before applying the first coat you need to sand it again with sandpaper that has little abrasives for the protection of the first coating of paint.

To sand between coats of paint, you need to adopt low grit sandpaper. We would recommend you to use 180 to 220 ranges of sandpaper grit for wood and wooden furniture. Using fine grit of sandpaper will not leave any scratch marks on your wooden piece, or furniture. Even extra fine grits ranging from 320 to 400 will also help.

b) Wall:

As most of the walls are concrete-based, you might think any range of coarse grit will do to sand between coatings of paint. But for your kind information, you are not allowed to do so because that will only result in losing the appearance of the first coat of paint.

To smooth the first coat of paint you are not supposed to use less than 150 grit of sandpaper. If you see the first coat is very much uneven and has got unnatural bumps, then start sanding with 150 grit of sandpaper. For fewer bumps and unevenness, you can go with 180 or more fine grits of sandpaper to sand between coats of wall paint. Read More: 7 Best Primer Sealer after Skim Coat (2024 Reviews)

c) Car:

To deal with metals, sanding on cars naturally works to remove the large scale of rust, grease, and metal scales. Usually, you use a rough or coarse grit of sandpaper for a rough smoothing process. But things are quite different when you have already given the first coat of your paint. Generally, while you paint a car, you are supposed to make the surface as smooth as possible before applying the first coat of paint.

However, if you need to sand again after the first coating then you need to choose from 400 to 600 grits of sandpaper to make it smoother. This range of sandpaper will work superbly on paint and will get the first coat ready by enabling it with great adhesion efficiency. In case you have imperfection and unevenness on the base coat or between coats of paint on the car, then you can go for wet sanding as well. Choose 1000 to 1200 grits of wet sandpaper and follow the accurate process of sanding with it.

d) Metal:

For metals, we suggest fine grits to sand between coats of paint. You better start with the fine grit of sandpaper. And examining the condition of the surface, you need to start from the range of 180 to 220 grits of sandpaper. Too much sanding might leave terrible marks and therefore, you need to understand the sensitivity that the metal surface carries.

If you see rare bumps and unevenness on the first coat of paint then use extra fine grit for sanding. 320 to 400 grits of sandpaper will do just fine to make the surface even smoother and perfect for the second coat.

Sanding between Coats of Latex Paint to Make it Smooth:

It has always been pleasing how sanding between coats brings a glossy or sheen finish to some extent. For latex paint, the finishing will leave you stunned if you just sand in between coats. The first coat of late paint is okay but the final game brings success when you know how to sand between coats of latex paint to make it smoother. As time, temperature, situation, and a lot of aspects are involved in the whole process, you need to consider the following things during the process.

Step 1. Examine the Formula and Label of Latex Paint:

use an airless sprayer for latex paint

Latex paint can be of many types. There are dark to light colors of latex paint and your choice of any of these colors will affect the next steps of sanding. Many paints come with the condition of 4 hours of drying but you must not go for the trap. The components of latex paint vary to a very large extent. The darker color of latex paint comes with heavy pigmentation and it will get dry easily.

Also, the application method is also responsible for changing the time of drying of latex paint. If you use an airless sprayer and spread the first coat with it then you will face a slow drying process. On the other hand, if the first coat is applied with a brush, then it will take less time to dry.

Step 2. Check the Drying Process:

Drying Process of latex paint

The drying process of the first coat of paint is what you need to notice with more attention in order to sand it before the second application of paint. You cannot sand between coats of latex paint if the first application is still wet. Wait for more than the time it requires to be dry. Sometimes, the temperature or moisture in the air inhibits the process of drying of latex paint.

In cases like that, you need to be patient before you start the sanding process. Before you sand, learn the information that the standard temperature runs between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you see that the first coat has no stickiness and gives off very much of a dry feeling, then you can start the sanding process.

Step 3. Choose the Ideal Grit and Materials for Sanding Latex Paint:

Choose the Ideal Grit and Materials sandpaper for Sanding

This is the most important aspect that you need to take care of. While sanding between coats of latex paint, you cannot use coarse grit of sandpaper. Especially, if the first coat is new, then it is not able to hold the roughness of coarse grit. To use coarse grit, you need to wait till a month or two so the first coat of latex paint gets hardened and 100 percent cured.

Other than that, use fine-grit sandpaper starting from 120 to 150 for fresh paint. Use extra fine ones if the first coat is already too much smooth. Use a sanding sponge for more protection. It will make the paint come off less than other times. If there remains any sanding residue, a damp rag will wipe it out soon. And thus the surface will be ready with great adhesion for the second application of paint. Read Also: Sanding Nooks and Crannies – In 10 Fast & Effective Ways

Do You Wet Sand between Coats of Paint?

If you really want to wet sand between coats of paint, then there are some conditions that you need to follow. Wet sand between coats of paint is not a “no-no” thing. You are allowed to wet sand between coats of paint to some extent. But, you cannot wet sand on every material after the first coat of paint. Make sure you insert the following conditions before wet sand between coats of paint.

  • Not All Material is Applicable – Wet sanding between coats of paint is not applicable for all types of materials. People do this wet sanding on a car on a general basis. Thus metals apply to this process. Then again, not all types of plastics are ideal for it. The hard ones can be wet sanded. Besides, you can wet sand wood as well between coats of paint.
  • Requires Patience – Wet sanding between coats of paint requires patience in the sense that you cannot immediately wet sand on fresh paint. It might make the paint come off of the surface. Wait at least one or two months before wet sanding because this is a sensitive process for freshly applied paint.
  • Know the Method – Another fact that you should be skilled in is the method of wet sanding. After knowing the material type and time requirements, wet sanding requires skill as well. Do the wet sand between coats of paint in a circular motion slowly. Make sure to cover all the space and be a little gentle during the whole process.

How to Smooth Paint Finish on Wooden Furniture or Kitchen Cabinets?

It so happens that the last coating or paint finish of your wooden furniture or kitchen cabinets is not smooth enough. You might witness some streaks of paintbrushes and slight unevenness on the surface. In cases like that, you can smooth paint finish by adopting the following ideas,

  • First, let the paint dry fully. Don’t haste for the next process because that will not bring you any help.
  • Secondly, bring fine-grit sandpaper. It’s better if you bring the extra fine-grit sandpaper because that will ensure you smoother texture. 220 to 400 grits of sandpaper can be used to do the job.
  • Thirdly, adopt high-density foam rollers to get a smooth paint finish and paint using the tool after the sanding. One round of sanding is more than enough if the surface doesn’t carry more brush streaks and unevenness. If you see the streaks are still popping mildly after the paint, then you can go for the second or third round of sanding following the same process with extra fine grits of sandpaper. And then, paint again properly using high-density foam rollers. Thus, you will get your job done.

Note: Don’t overdo sanding because this can ruin the remaining coating. Observe your wood furniture or kitchen cabinets properly and do the job patiently to get a fruitful result.


Question: Do I need to sand between coats of satin paint?

Answer: It’s alright if you want to sand between coats of satin paint to get an extra smooth texture of the final coating. But make sure the first coating is dry enough for the sanding and then wipe out the residue. And then you are allowed to apply the second or third coat of satin paint thinly.

Question: Can you gloss over gloss without sanding? How do I get a smooth finish with high-gloss paint?

Answer: Usually, the old gloss needs to be sanded but it can be done without sanding too. In that case, use water and sugar soap and spread it over the old gloss in order to clean it. Then, wait till it gets dry fully. After that use a de-glosser and scuff the old gloss. After waiting for at least 10 to 20 minutes, you are allowed to paint gloss over it following the right procedure of painting.

By sanding between coats of gloss paint you can get a smooth finish with high gloss paint. This is a very popular idea which also requires more or less the same method as we described before for other paints.

Last Updated on July 10, 2024 by Rogers Weber

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