Asked on May 30, 2016

Do you have to sand between coats when painting wood?

by Louise
I'm ready to put polycrylic on some painted wood. The directions say to lightly sand with very fine sandpaper between coats. Why? What if I don't? Will it look horrible? I've been "working" (mostly in my mind) on this little project for way too long and I want to get it done! Sanding will slow things down.
  11 answers
  • Carole Carole on May 30, 2016
    When you use this spray it will make the surface shiny. If you try to apply a second coat over a shiny coat, I am guessing it won't stick very well. The very light sanding takes literally moments to do - wipe over with a tack cloth to clean the grit off after sanding before applying another coat. Instructions are there for a reason. Sanding is generally to provide a 'key' so that further coats will adhere properly. You may be in danger of putting several coats of this stuff on with no sanding in between the stuff will easily be knocked off and won't provide a protective coat as it should.
    • See 2 previous
    • Carole Carole on May 30, 2016
      @Louise If you sand remember not to use the very rough sand paper. It will ruin the look and you will end up with scratches over your work. Go for the higher number on the sanding sheet. The higher the number, the more particles per square inch of paper and the finer the sanding sheet will be. Check the back of the sheet for a number - would go for around the 200's and higher for sanding between layers of finish. Any lower and you risk scratching it up. The lower numbers are the very rough sheets that you use for knocking paint off or sanding out lumps and bumps in the timber and imperfections.
  • William William on May 30, 2016
    I use a green scrubbing pad lightly in between coats, just to give some tooth for the next coat and smooth out any imperfections The purple pads are rougher and I use those as a final sand after using sand paper.
  • 9530106 9530106 on May 30, 2016
    There will be minute dust/fiber particles, and occasionally small bubbles that will appear magically out of thin air! The light sanding will remove these, for a smoother coat.
  • Jennie Lee Jennie Lee on May 30, 2016
    I've gone either way. I recently found out that a friend of mine, who has done a lot of varnishing, at his job, didn't even know he was supposed to sand! Apparently, it is more of an issue if it will need to stand up to a lot of wear/rubbing, e.g. a floor. If you want a glass-like finish, sand it. If it's a shelf in your garage and you don't care, don't.
  • Marie Menz Marie Menz on May 31, 2016
    Sand with the finest snandpaper and use a tack cloth to get dust off .this is the best way and it will look great/
  • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on May 31, 2016
    Yes, I would lightly sand before painting. I do not sand between painting or staining wood. The product you display is used as a topcoat or protective finish.
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jun 02, 2016
    Short version: yes and wipe off the dust. I use a 200 grit sandpaper sanding in circular motion with a very light touch. Always works. good luck.
  • Louise Louise on Jul 02, 2016
    One last question about this. The wood I'm going to use the polycrylic on has been painted a high gloss deep red. I've just done some very light sanding with I think 220 sandpaper and maybe it's just removing the gloss, but I detect a slight change in the color, too. Have I already messed this up? Should I give the wood another coat of the paint and spray the polycrylic on top of THAT, or am I right in doing a super light sanding over the finished high gloss paint job?
  • Jane Slater Jane Slater on May 07, 2017

    I painted a table and put a java brown wipe-off glaze to give it an old color. It looked great. So I go to spray it with poly acrylic to protect and follow the directions to sand with 220 grit started removing my glaze and leaving scratch marks. So I wiped with tack cloth, waited the appropriate time and then sprayed another coat. The scratches in the glaze still show. I am so upset -- to get this far into a project, follow the directions and then have the project messed up. Next time I will use wax.

    • Louise Louise on Jun 24, 2017

      I put this on hold and now am ready to tackle it again. What kind of wax could be used? I don't know a lot about these things. Will it leave it nice and shiny? Next time I do something like this, I'm not going to go for shiny. I think UN-shiny will cause fewer headaches.

  • Barbara Baldwin Barbara Baldwin on Jun 24, 2017

    Matte. Not gloss

  • Ana Bacallao Ana Bacallao on Jun 24, 2017

    I did and wiped down completely before applying polyacrylic. I did not use spray but brushed on.

    • Louise Louise on Jun 24, 2017

      Sorry to be obtuse, but you did what before wiping down? Sanded?