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How to Remove Paint With Sandpaper

Most amateur painters find the paint removal process tedious. Professionals know that this fundamental step is the key to generating lasting, attractive finishes. If you try to paint directly over under-prepared wood, vinyl, brick, metal or drywall, expect to see paint failure at some point in the future. Putty knives and pull scrapers are appropriate for removing peeling paint. Unfortunately, they aren't always suited for removing flaking and chipping paint from awkward or delicate surfaces. Utilize sandpaper to prepare these areas for their new finish. Choose the right grit and technique based on the type of surface you are working with, or you may cause unintentional damage.

Don't use 80-grit sandpaper on drywall.

Step 1

Place a drop cloth below the surface you are working on.

Step 2

Sand flaking paint from drywall using 180-grit sandpaper. Sand in a vertical motion, applying gentle pressure to prevent unintentional damage to the underlying drywall.

Step 3

Use 80-grit sandpaper to remove paint from durable interior surfaces, such as furniture, plastic and metal. Sand along with wood grains to prevent unintentional damage.

Step 4

Use a putty knife and/or pull scraper to remove as much paint as possible from exterior wood, brick and vinyl surfaces. Use 80-grit sandpaper to remove the remaining bits of stubborn paint.

Step 5

Use a putty knife and/or wire brush to remove as much paint as possible from exterior metallic surfaces. Use 80-grit sandpaper to remove the remaining bits of stubborn paint.

Warnings

  • Never sand against the grain of wood surfaces or splintering will result.
  • Don't use 80-grit sandpaper on drywall or you may accidentally damage the underlying surface.

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.