Press "Enter" to skip to content

How to Choose and Use Sandpaper

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva teaches the basics of sanding.

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the official This Old House YouTube channel:

Cost: $2 and up

Skill Level: Beginner

Tools List for Sandpaper:
Random orbit sander
Finish sander
Belt sander

Shopping List:

1. Start out with a lower number grit sandpaper, like 60 or 80, depending on the material being sanded, and do multiple passes. Increase the grit with each new pass.
2. Don’t skip grits. If you start at 80, you should go to 100 next, then 120, etc. Skipping grits will force the higher grits to work harder to smooth out the material, so it ends up wasting more time than just committing to each interval.
3. Keep the surface clean between passes. Use a sander with a vacuum or a vacuum bag to keep the mess down.
4. Use a belt sander if you have a lot of material to sand down. They’re good for aggressive work.
5. Finish sanders are good for corners and trim and angles if you’re prepping for paint.
6. Random orbit sanders are good for most universal sanding projects.

All the different types of sandpaper and sanders Tom demonstrated can be found at home centers. Tom recommends buying a wide variety of grits to ensure the material gets sanded properly.

Ask This Old House TV
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we’re ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O’Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.
This Old House releases new segments every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Keywords: This Old House, How-to, home improvement, DIY, tom silva, ask this old house, kevin o’connor, sandpaper, choose, sanders, tools

Watch the full episode:

Follow This Old House and Ask This Old House: