Is it Necessary to Sand Between Coats of Paint?

All painters – professional or otherwise – have their own preferred approach.  But there are nonetheless several standards that form the basis of a quality paint job. The golden rules of effective painting, if you like.

One of which is to create a slightly rough surface for the paint to adhere to, usually with fine-grit sandpaper. Most types of interior and exterior paints are not designed to bond well with super-smooth surfaces, but instead work best with a slightly rough surface.

But to what extent is it necessary to sand between coats of paint? Assuming you’ve already prepped the surface material and added your first coat, do you need to sand the surface once again before applying a second or third coat?

The answer, as is often the case, depends on a handful of contributory factors.

Is it Necessary to Sand Between Coats of Paint?

Why Sand While Painting?

The simple fact of the matter is that sanding (and surface preparation in general) can make the difference between a flawless paint job and a disappointing result. Sanding serves a number of important purposes, which include removal of the previous coat of paint and creating a slightly rough surface for the paint to adhere to.

Simple yet essential steps in the painting process like these are often overlooked, in the name of saving time. Though what tends to happen subsequently is you end up wasting more time and effort trying to correct your mistakes at a later stage.

Laborious as it may be, sanding should never be sidestepped or seen as an optional extra.

When Should I Sand Between Coats of Paint?

As for sanding between coats of paint, it mainly comes down to the type of paint you are using.

For example, if you have prepped, primed and painted your living room walls with a standard matte paint of some kind, you probably won’t need to sand again before the second coat. Unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer, chances are the second coat will adhere just fine to the first coat.

By contrast, painting kitchen cabinets or trim with super-glossy paint is another story entirely. Most paints are not capable of adhering well to smooth and glossy surfaces like these. In which case, it’s almost always necessary to sand between coats of paint to ensure good adhesion.

Better Results with Cheaper Paints

Another instance where sanding between coats comes highly recommended is when working with cheaper paints. The lower the quality of the paints you use, the higher the likelihood of brush marks, drips, bubbles and imperfections. Not to mention, issues getting the stuff to adhere properly to the surface in the first place.

Achieving high-quality results with low-quality paints is practically impossible.  But you can at least work towards better results with cheaper paints, if you sand the surface between coats.

Doing so will get to work on at least some of the inevitable imperfections. It will also boost the paint’s capacity to adhere properly to the surface. Two things that could help you get a little more out of your cheaper paints, though can’t guarantee the same flawless results as when using quality paints.

Safety First!

On a final note, sanding coats of paint and primer should never be done without first donning the appropriate PPE. This means picking up a high-quality dust mask or respirator, and a pair of goggles to protect your eyes.

Even if a paint’s formula excludes toxic components entirely, you still don’t want to be breathing in its dust.

And as it has a tendency to get absolutely everywhere, be sure to protect the surrounding space with drop cloths for the duration.

Call For a Quote…

At Homm CPS, our goal is to make the highest-quality professional painting services accessible and affordable. We offer a comprehensive range of interior and exterior painting services at competitive prices, available for planned future projects and at short notice.

As a trusted local business, we can provide you with the honest and objective advice you need to get the most out of your home. From simple interior touch ups to major exterior painting projects, we bring the same passion and professionalism to every job we take on.

Whether ready to go ahead or simply considering a home makeover, we’d be delighted to provide you with an obligation-free quotation. Contact a member of the team at Homm CPS anytime to learn more, or send us an email detailing your requirements and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.