DIY projects often come across the use of certain tools such as sandpapers. Getting sandpaper may seem quite easy at first glance, but looking at the different types of sandpapers present at a hardware store may confuse you.

It is needless to say that each type of sandpaper is meant to provide a different finish and choosing the appropriate grit can be a little tricky if this is your first time. This post will help you in choosing the right sandpaper grit and type for your DIY projects that you can try from sites like diyexperience.com.

Choosing the right sandpaper grit size

One should know that a sandpaper is made of finely powdered synthetic or natural sources, and not sand. These particles, which are referred to as grits or grains, are filtered through screens and bonded on a piece of sponge, paper or cloth with a very strong adhesive. The size of the grains is determined using a gradation system that has been developed under Coated Abrasive Manufacturers Institute or CAMI. The institute has given specific numbers to sandpapers that represent their sizes. A larger number represents smaller grain size, and vice versa. For smoothening a delicate surface, you will have to choose a larger-grit-numbered sandpaper.

Choosing the right coarseness

Sandpapers are also chosen based on their coarseness level. Moreover, many users may speak of getting a particular type of sandpaper based on the coarseness and not the grit size. Thus, you should not get confused if a vendor asks for the coarseness type instead of grit type. The well-known sandpapers defined according to their roughness are:

  1. Extra coarse – grit range: 24 to 36
  2. Coarse – grit range: 40 to 50
  3. Medium – grit range: 60 to 100
  4. Fine – grit range: 120 to 220
  5. Extra Fine – grit range: 240 to 400

Selecting the right material for grit

Besides the appropriate size of the sandpaper grit, you will also have to choose the correct abrasive material. Sometimes a particular abrasive material is more suitable for smoothening specific items. Therefore, it is important that you know the most common ones. These are listed below:

  1. Flint – Quite well suited and durable for smoothening paint or old varnish.
  2. Emery – Good for removing rust and polishing metals like steel.
  3. Garnet – Appropriate for fine smoothening of wood.
  4. Zirconia Alumina – Great for sanding rough wood and grinding corrosive layers on metals.
  5. Aluminum Oxide – Great for polishing alloys and hardwoods.
  6. Silicon Carbide – Highly durable and is great on most types of surfaces including wood, plastic and metal.

Choosing the appropriate tool for sanding

Sometimes your sanding requirements may not be met manually. In such situations, you may need a tool to support your project. There are many tools available for helping out in this situation. Some of them are – manual sanders, sponge sanders, vibrating sanders, orbital sanders, belt sanders, drum sanders, bench-mounted sanders, floor sanders, etc. All these machines need proper care while using on your DIY projects.

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