How to Sand Painted Drywall- Best Way To Sand Drywall

Renovation of an old home is always fun to do. It has a very positive impact on our life. The bright, newly colored home keeps calling the residents and charms the viewer.

Painting is a vital part of the renovation. New or old, both types of the home require painting to increase the aesthetic beauty. Also, the pleasant color of walls, interior, decors makes us jolly and lively.

Most of us become confused when we need to paint the walls for the first time or repetitively. We don’t know how to sand the painted walls. We also don’t understand why we should sand walls before painting. It becomes a tough task when we start painting without sanding.

In this article, you are going to learn the importance of sanding a painted or non-painted wall. You will also learn how to sand a painted wall.

Why Sanding a Drywall Important?

For old drywall:

How many years age did you paint the wall? Have you ever repainted?

Suppose you painted your residence years ago. There might be lots of stains, adhesive marks, cracks on the wall. Repainting can heal the health of the wall. It will fill all the scratches or cracks and leave a charming look. But painting will be effective only when you sand the internal and external walls.

Sanding helps to remove the old painting. It cleans all the loose paints, smoothens the uneven surface. Moreover, it enables color to stick onto the wall perfectly. If you paint again without sanding, previous wall conditions may make paint easy to wipe off. Also, the painting will make the surface unsmooth. So, it’s essential to sand the drywall before painting.

For new drywall:

Many newly built house owners often face this problem. They need to spend time and money again and again for painting jobs.

The reason behind this is that they don’t sand the new walls of the home. When you build a new building, the wall remains unprepared for painting. If you put on a layer of paints, it won’t stick to the wall for a long time. Even you will find difficulties coloring the walls. The result of doing so will be disastrous. The paints will go off soon. Also, they can leap off early due to many factors.

Several facts damage the paint soon—damp weather, extreme heat, oil, chemicals, etc. some of them. But sanding protects the painting from getting damages soon.

Removing paint from drywall can be done in some ways. You can scrape the wall with a scraper. You can also use liquid paint softener stripper or use a heat gun to lift the paint. But sanding is the best above these methods. Here is how you can sand the painted drywall:

Safety measures:

We risk ourselves by not thinking about our safety cautions. While you peel off the old paint, there may be increased chances of having different health issues. Small particles of pain may enter your nostrils or mouth. These particles may blue your eye vision. Even you may hurt your hand without safety gloves.

So, wear safety gear to cover-up safely. Use hand gloves all the time. Put on a dust mask and eyeglasses to cover your face. Cover head and hair with a hat or scarf. Wear thin cloths to prevent excessive sweat of it is summer season. You can also use working boots if there are nails or other materials while sanding the drywall.

Tools needed:

  • A hand sander
  • Package of 120 or 150 fine-grit sandpaper
  • A sanding sponge
  • A handheld lamp
  • A pole sander
  • A putty knife
  • A sanding block
  • Joint compound

Sanding painted drywall can be boring. But if you do it in the correct manner, then it won’t be any problem. Here are the steps you should follow:

First Step

After you have all the mentioned tools and putting on safety gear, you can start working. You need to plan everything correctly, like the numbers of walls, size, and amount of paint leftovers. It may give you a concept of time duration required for sanding. Usually, a standard wall of a bedroom requires 4-6 hours until complete sanding.

Choose the exact sized 120 or 150 fine-grit sandpaper to fit the handheld sander. You can use a sanding sponge to sand tough to reach corners.

Using a pole sander can be a great idea. But you should not waste money if you have small sanding jobs. It becomes a great asset when you need to work for more than a single wall. But you may find it hard to learn. The problem with the pole sander is you need to be conscious every single moment. Otherwise, the device may flip over and gouge the wall. You won’t love to make time for extra repair. However, you may keep the sanding head slightly while not letting it reach the right angle to the sanding pole.

Experts say that a pole sander for drywall is most suitable for priming the wall before starting the paint job.

You can also use a sand block with a fine-grit sandpaper. Put light pressure along the seams’ edge and around the screws. It will prevent the sandpaper from fuzzing. Remove all the ridges and bumps by sanding seams center.

There will be a massive amount of dust while peeling the old paint. Use a damp sanding sponge to making the joints smooth or even. It will help to produce less dust. As you have worn safety masks or goggles, dust can’t harm you.

Second Step

There may be a question. What is the best grit sandpaper for sanding walls?

There are plenty of options available when you seek sandpapers. Nowadays, people love to use soft and lightweight joint compound for the wall. You can easily sand the wall with 80-100 grit sandpaper. But coarse grit sandpaper may give your wall different sanding stains or marks.

We recommend you to use 120 or 150 fine-grit sandpaper to gain perfect sanding of painted drywall. There are also papers available matching to hand sander requirements. Install the correct one to your hand sander. Keep one end of the sandpaper under one clamp and push another end to 2nd clamp with your hand. Use another hand to tighten the clamp screw together.

Third Step

If you are going to sand the gouges, it can damage the sandpaper. Try putty knife to trowel on another layer of joint compound. It’s better to fill the gouges and big ridges. Putty knife works great when the coat is thin near the seam edges. You can use another layer to fill all the grooves and ridges without sanding them.

Fourth Step

These times you should look after spots to find out the areas which need extra care. Sand the whole surface once very carefully. Make sure you have covered the whole area. Now, take the pen and put marks where it needs more detailed sanding.

Bring the lamp and point the light parallel to the drywall surface. Do the same thing to the ceiling. Use the pencil to mark up the areas. Fill the marked areas requiring filling with joint compound. Next, sand the areas with joint compound using hand sander.

Fifth Step

Now you need to prime all the drywalls before re-sanding. If you are a beginner, you should learn that priming is necessary before sanding.

Painting after sanding eliminates all the paper fuzz and lumps. You should use joint compound to correct all the imperfections. Sand the surface again after you fill them. If you forget to touch up, they will be visible after you paint on the drywall.

Sixth Step

There may be possible areas where you can’t reach with the hand sander. It’s harder to scuff or gouge the corners’ opposite direction with a sander edge. Use the sander till your hand reaches to the corners. Then use a sanding sponge or rolled sandpaper to sand the crannies.

Final Step

Put the light to medium pressure on the sander to sand the drywall. Make sure you are not sanding the same spot again in a straight line. Take the hand sander and sand the joints. Avoid sand areas near or directly over the electric boxes. The box edges can tear the sandpaper. Again, paper can be rolled beneath the sander and tear on. Maintain a few inches distance between sanding spot at electric boxes. Sand the wall and touch up with the sponge.

You should not over-sand the drywall. Use the hand sander a bit angled to finish the project. Do not scrub the same spot back and forth.


Sanding saves the life of the wall. It makes painting smooth and long-lasting. You should follow the above steps to have finely tuned work. Always prime the drywall before you start painting.

We have described the easiest ways to sand painted drywall. Now, it’s your turn to start sanding the old or new wall with paint.

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