Liquid Sandpaper vs Regular Sandpaper

Sandpaper pads for an orbital sander.

When people think of sandpaper, they tend to think of the traditional type that’s rubbed on wood or used between coats of paint and varnish. However, it’s not the only type of sandpaper that’s available. There is also liquid sandpaper. This is a liquid chemical that’s put on painted surfaces to prepare them for the next coat of paint. Strictly speaking, it’s not sandpaper but it does perform similar functions.

Liquid Sandpaper

Liquid sandpaper is also known as deglosser. It is really a chemical, and you spread it on the painted surface to take off the gloss prior to painting.

Before you apply it, you need to thoroughly clean the surface then let it dry. Alternatively, you can use a clean cloth (which has to be lint-free) to dry it. After that, you can apply the liquid sandpaper to the surface with a clean piece of lint-free cloth and leave it for a specified time.

You must then either wipe off the chemical or rinse it off. Allow it to dry before applying the next coat of paint.

Liquid sandpaper is very effective in small spaces or over ornate work where you can’t use regular sandpaper. However, it also offers distinct disadvantages. Because there are two drying times involved, it’s actually a lengthy process.

Also, because chemicals are involved, fumes are emitted and the chemicals are flammable, thus making it a high-risk product. You should always wear safety glasses and a breathing mask when working with liquid sandpaper.

All the liquid sandpaper will do is take the gloss off the paint so the next coat will bond more easily. It won’t eliminate or smooth out any imperfections in the surface. In other words, its usefulness is extremely limited.

Regular Sandpaper

True sandpaper is very versatile. You can use fine sandpaper to degloss a surface before adding another coat of paint. Generally, it will only take a few moments to rub down the surface for this task. The availability of different types of grit on sandpaper makes it useful for so many different things. With a coarse grit sandpaper, you can sand away areas of wood roughly before using a finer grit to achieve a smooth finished surface before you paint.

The downside to sandpaper is that it can’t reach into small areas. Also, it can't be used over intricate woodwork because it could remove some of the surface. This is where liquid sandpaper comes into its own. For larger areas, however, sandpaper is excellent whether used by hand, on a block, or on a sander.

There are no chemicals involved with sandpaper although you should wear a dust mask and safety goggles to protect you from the dust created while working. Sandpaper is easy to use and requires no special technique or training. It’s also cheap and widely available.

For most of the jobs you’d undertake at home, sandpaper will be perfectly adequate. There are only a few special tasks that might require liquid sandpaper.

It's clear to see the difference between the two types and their uses. It's time to tackle your next woodworking project with the appropriate sandpaper for the job.