If your epoxy has scratches and shows wear, you may want to polish it or put another coat on top of it. Either way, you will need to sand it first. There are two ways to sand epoxy. You can dry sand or wet sand. Both have benefits and downfalls. Let’s take a look at each to help you figure out which method to choose.
Tools and Supplies Needed for Sanding
While the tools vary slightly between wet and dry sanding, there are many tools and supplies you will need regardless of which you do. Here is a list of tools and supplies you will need the following tools to sand with:
- 60-80 grit sandpaper (If wet-sanding, this must be waterproof.)
- 180-220 grit sandpaper (If wet-sanding, this must be waterproof.)
- Hand-held sanding block
- Random orbital sander (hand held or full sized, depending on project size)
- Protective clothing
- Cleaning supplies
Dry sanding is how most of us know how to sand. If you are dry sanding a small project such as a bar top or art project, a sanding block or hand-held random orbital sander is ideal, especially if you do not have experience using an electric sander. Be sure to wear a dust mask, as you do not want to breath the dust in.
Begin with 60-80 grit sandpaper. Sand in circles over the entire surface. If you are using the random orbital sander, be sure to not stay in one place for too long. It can sand the epoxy in an uneven manner if you do, creating problems for when you recoat the project.
If you are sanding an entire floor, you will want to rent a floor sander. While you could do it by hand or with a handheld electric sander, you will find that tiring and tedious. With the floor sander, you also move it in circles around the floors. You may need to hand sand or use the hand-held electric sander on the corners and around the edges, as the floor sander will not be able to get those spots.
Once you finish with the 60 or 80 grit sandpaper, repeat the process with the 180-220 grit sandpaper. If your epoxy does not have a lot of deep scratching on it, you may be able to go straight to using finer grit sandpaper on it.
While dry sanding is effective, it creates a lot of dust This means you need to take steps to protect anything you do not want dust on. It also means you will have to do a thorough clean-up afterwards to make sure there is no dust around that could mess up the recoating of epoxy.
Wet sanding is done in the same steps as dry sanding, except water is used to mitigate the dust issues. Water also helps with keeping sanding debris out of the way, keeping your sandpaper from clogging and giving you a more even sanding job.
When it comes to wet sanding, you will either want to sand by hand or use an air-powered dual action machine.Regular electric sanders could shock you of they are exposed to the water. Since there will be water everywhere, it is hard to prevent exposure.
If you are hand sanding, you can use a small bucket of water or a spray bottle. If you use a bucket, dip your sanding block into the water and start sanding, Dip again as needed. You could also use a spray bottle and spray the area before sanding.
If you choose to use the air-powered dual action machine, you can pour water from a bucket onto the floor to wet sand it.While wet sanding offers many benefits, there is one big factor to consider. You will have to clean up the water from the floor and allow it to completely dry before using epoxy.
You may have some additional questions about wet and dry sanding. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Should I wet or dry sand?
This really depends on your needs and the location you are sanding. If you are just doing a small area, it may be easier to just dry sand and get it done. If you are sanding an interior floor, wet sanding is probably the way to go, so that dust does not permeate the interior space.
Can I use an electric sander when wet sanding?
You can, but understand there is a risk. Using something electrical around water creates a risk of electrocution.