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A handheld sander being used on a blank wall

Overview

Sanding is easy but it's important to know a few techniques to get a great result every time. We'll show you how to use different sanding equipment and the best ways to sand.

Tools and materials

Steps

1Choosing the correct sandpaper

When choosing sandpaper, remember, the lower the number, the coarser it will be. It's a good idea to start with a 60 or 80 grade, and then a 120 to finish off. If your paper is too coarse, you can end up making deep gouges and scratches, which may need filling and sanding again.
Sandpaper wrapped around a block of scrap wood being used to sand a wall

2Hand sanding and electrical sanders

You can use a plain board with paper attached and sand by hand. Or you can use electric sanders, which reduce the work. Round orbital sanders are very good on plaster walls, but on woodwork you have to be careful because they can leave marks on your wood.
A handheld sander being used on a blank wall

3Attaching sandpaper to an electrical sander

Sandpaper for electrical sanders comes with Velcro backing so you can easily stick it to the sander.
A sanding iron with specially shaped sheets of sanding paper designed to get into corners

4Sanding blocks

Sanding blocks are handy for corners and around cornices. Wrap a piece of sandpaper around the block and sand in a circular motion.
Sandpaper being wrapped around a block of scrap wood

5Sand in a circular motion

The best motion for sanding is in a small circular motion. If you're sanding bare wood, run with the grain so you don't get scratches on the timber. Never use force or pressure on the instrument. Let the weight of the machine carry it.
A power sander being used on a wall

6Change paper often

Always check your sandpaper for signs of wear. As the grit becomes clogged with dust and paint, it becomes less effective. Change your paper as necessary.
Sandpaper being wrapped around a block of scrap wood

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.