What Grit Sandpaper Do I Need? – Chart & Uses Answered

Nora
| Last Updated: December 20, 2020

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Understanding grit sandpaper and what grit to use on various woods, metals, and other materials are critically important to complete tasks successfully. Below is a guide on how to use grit sandpaper. 

What is Grit? 

Sandpaper grit helps users determine the size of the abrasive material included in the paper. The various sizes will be used for different materials or particular parts of a project—the lower the number of sandpaper grit, the rougher the sandpaper.  

Is All Sandpaper The Same? How Does Sandpaper Grit Work?

Not all sandpaper is the same; you get different types and variations. The reason for this is because certain materials might require a finer or coarser sandpaper. Below is a summary of the different kinds of sandpaper. 

What is Coarse Sandpaper?

Coarse grit sandpaper ranges between 40 to 50-grit, which tends to be used for rough shaping of wood or used to remove finishes from furniture or other objects. 

What Is Medium Grit Sandpaper?

Medium grit sandpaper ranges between 60 and 100-grit. The medium sandpaper is used mainly for the finishing touches of a project. 

What Grit Is Fine Sandpaper?

Fine grit sandpaper ranges between 120 and 220-grit. This sandpaper would be best for applying a finish. 

They're not suitable for any varnish or paint removal as they're too fine. However, they can be used for removing small stains or plaster. 

What Is The Highest Grit Sandpaper?

One of the highest grit sandpapers ranges between 800 and 1200-grit; this is described as ultra-fine. Although there are higher grit sandpapers out there, they aren't used as commonly as those mentioned. 

Sandpaper Grit Chart

It's always easier to understand things with the help of a visual guide. Below is our sandpaper grit chart. 

ToolTango_sandpaper_grit_chart

What Grit Sandpaper To Use?

Like we mentioned, understanding sandpaper grit will lead to a successful project. Below is a list that shows you the grit best used for that particular task or material. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Drywall?

Drywall would generally require medium grit sandpaper; experts recommend using 80 or 100-grit sandpaper. You can complete the task by hand or using a drywall sander

What Grit Sandpaper For Wood?

This depends on the task. However, if you're removing imperfections or removing paint and old finish, this would require between 40 and 60-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Wood Before Painting?

120-grit would be recommended to prep the wood for enamel paint. 120-grit is also beneficial if you're beginning a project using softwood. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Wood Floors?

There are a few variables to consider, like the condition of the floor and layers of the wood. As a general recommendation, you should start with 36-grit sandpaper, 60, 80, and then 100-grit to remove scratches. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Cabinets?

100-grit sandpaper is known to be all-purpose as it's not coarse enough to leave scratches but still tough enough to get the job done. This is the best for use on cabinets.

What Grit Sandpaper For Deck?

You would typically use two different types of sandpaper grit. The first and second would be 

done with an 80-grit, while the third should be done with 100-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Car?

The main use of sandpaper in the automotive industry would be to strip the car's paintwork. The most suitable grit would be 40-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Wet Sanding Clear Coat?

You could do this with an ultra-fine sandpaper grit, ranging between 800 and 1200-grit. Just soak the wet sandpaper in some warm water between 10 and 15 minutes. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Spackle?

You could complete this task with the use of medium sandpaper between 80 and 120-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Metal?

If you're looking to sand the metal heavily, a coarse sandpaper grit between 60 and 80-grit is suitable. Polishing or buffing metal, you'd require anything over 600-grit. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Aluminum?

Like metal, it depends on the project. If you're polishing, anything above 600-grit is suitable. The higher the number, the finer the grit, and the lower, the more coarse. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Headlights?

Old headlights suffering from clouding can be fixed using 400-grit sandpaper and water. Soak both the headlight and the sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Paint?

Using the example of wood, you would need between 40 and 80-grit sandpaper. However, edges and tight corners might require finer sandpaper of around 120-grit. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Concrete Floors?

You'll want a smooth finish on a concrete floor. Therefore, 400-grit sandpaper or higher would be suitable for the task. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Polyurethane?

Sanding with Polyurethane would require finer grit sandpaper. Experts recommend between 160 and 220-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Glass?

The general understanding of sanding glass is that the user would require coarse 80-grit sandpaper, which is excellent for smoothing out sharp edges. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Dog Nails?

Your dog's safety must be paramount when sanding their nails. Dog grooming experts and veterinarians recommend using between 60 and 100-grit sandpaper as this will quickly file the nails down without hurting the dog. 

What Grit Sandpaper For PVC?

You'd best start the process with 220-grit sandpaper, and with each further pass, switch to finer grit sandpaper until you feel comfortable with the outcome. The same goes for simple plastics. 

Conclusion 

There's a sanding grit for most common tasks, the only aspects you need to consider are what your expectations are and the material you're sanding. The above guide should have given you enough information for a jump start on your next sanding task. 

Nora

Hi, I'm Nora. My passion for DIY projects lead me to Tool Tango about a year ago and I quickly realized that giving back to the community in the form of guides and articles was just what I was missing in life. When I'm not here, you can certainly find me in my garden or on my deck enjoying a glass of wine (weather permitting, of course).