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Everything you need to know about Sandpaper!

  • By Build it
  • •  Apr 21, 2022

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first; Sandpaper is not made from sand! It’s not made out of paper either, so what is it made out of then?

Sandpaper is made up of either a paper or cloth backing that is impregnated with abrasive particles known as aluminum oxide or silicon carbide.Sandpaper has a variety of uses but is most often used in preparation for painting and to smooth wood and metal in home repair projects as well as commercially.

To get the most out of your Sandpaper, it helps to understand how to choose the right ‘Grit’ for the job you are about to tackle.Sandpaper grit is categorized according to the coarseness of the paper, this is determined by the size of the abrasive particles in the paper.

If your sandpaper is too fine you could very well be sanding all day and if your sandpaper grit is too coarse you will not be able to achieve a smooth surface to paint over. Sandpaper grit is sized by a gauge number, the lower numbers are coarser with the higher numbers becoming finer, Grit numbers range from #24 all the way up to #1,000.

Sandpaper Grit Guide

Sandpaper Grit Guide




Extremely coarse; best for removing large amounts of wood and rounding off corners.


Medium grit; good for general purpose sanding.


Fine; used to roughen surfaces for painting or as a first passthrough for later sanding with ultra-fine grits.


Ultra-fine; helps achieve a nearly glass-smooth texture.

Excessively sanding wood can create a blotchy appearance when stained, whereas sanding wood with too-fine paper, or sanding too much, can create a shine to the surface that can hinder the absorption of stains. Coarse sandpaper will meet your needs relatively quickly but can leave deep scratches, so choose carefully to achieve your desired result. 

The finer the paper, the smoother the surface.

Most sanding projects use the following grit ranges:

Coarse Grit: #60–#80

Coarse grit cuts through old paint and rough edges with ease and can also take off enough wood to shape and round edges.

Medium Grit: #100–#150

The medium range is the most popular gauge of sandpaper used, as it is hard to go wrong with sandpaper grits in this range. This grit is generally used for bare wood surfaces, it leaves a little texture to the wood surface for the paint to grip onto.

Fine Grit: #180–#220

Fine-grit sandpaper is generally used for second or third sanding, fine or ultra-fine sandpaper grits are used for furniture work to achieve that smooth to the touch look and feel.

Ultra-Fine Grit: #320

Ultra-fine grits are usually reserved for smoothing painted surfaces between coats and for wet sanding, which creates a fine, gritty slurry that complements the sandpaper's efforts at smoothing.

At Build it we care about giving you expert advice on how to get the job done right, first time.

Please feel free to visit us instore should you wish to speak to a consultant about any future projects you might need advice on.

Build it Gansbaai/Hermanus offers local delivery, supplying the greater Overstrand area with building materials, do-it-yourself home improvement tools, and expert advice.

Build it Gansbaai/Hermanus offers added value services in respect of hardware retailing; embracing all activity within the building materials industry, focusing specifically on the building of; urban, township, rural housing as well as all home improvements and do it yourself.

Build it is a division of the SPAR Group Limited South Africa. A voluntary trading group of individually owned retail stores with more than 10 000 employees across the group, we currently have stores in South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique with plans to expand into Botswana and Zambia in the near future. We view ourselves not only as a supplier of materials, but as a partner to our valued customers in accomplishing their building or renovating projects.

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