How to Sand Epoxy Resin: Effective Methods

Your Questions About Sanding Epoxy Resin, Answered

When working on home improvement or art projects, a question arises: can you sand epoxy resin?  In this article, we’ll look at the issues surrounding sanding epoxy resin. Epoxy is an incredibly popular material to work with, and sometimes sanding it is a necessity, such as when a second layer of epoxy will be applied. 

We’ll also talk about whether dry or wet sanding epoxy resin in various situations is a good idea, what issues you can expect to run into, and what tips and tricks can make this process easier. So, let’s look at sanding epoxy resin, and attempt to answer these questions.

Can You Sand Epoxy Resin?

Yes, you can! However, several special considerations need to be kept in mind when you attempt to sand epoxy resin as part of a project. Here, we’ll show you how to sand epoxy resin, but let’s discuss setup first.

There are several setup steps to follow. Below are our recommendations for art projects, but the same general instructions should work for larger-scale projects (such as tables).

You will need:

  • A dust mask. Resin particulates can be carcinogenic, and protecting your respiratory system is crucial.
  • A supply of various sanding papers, from 400 to 1000 grit. If you are wet sanding, you’ll need waterproof sandpaper of the right grit ranges. Generously stock sandpaper for your needs.
  • A hard-surfaced area you can work in that will allow you to use water and can be easily cleaned. Even wet-sanding results in sand, resin particulates, and other debris. Make sure the area is also closed off to pets and kids.
  • A rubber hand sanding block. Do not use an electric sander if you are water sanding, it’s unsafe.
  • Eye protection for airborne particulates. Even if you’re not working with a powered sander, sand and resin particulates can harm your eyes.

Wet vs. Dry Sanding Resin

When working with epoxy, it’s recommended that you wet sand. While dry sanding may be unavoidable, wet sanding is preferable for these reasons:

  • The quality of sandpaper lasts longer when used wet than when used dry. Dry sandpaper abrades very quickly when used on epoxy and you’ll consume dry sandpaper much more quickly.
  • Much less dust is produced with wet sanding, keeping the area safer for your lungs.
  • Due to the binding of dust to surfaces, irregularities in the surface are more readily apparent and can be sanded appropriately.
  • If you are working with an orbital sander, you may have no choice but to dry sand. Usually, wet sanding is done by hand. However, generally, wet sanding is easier and safer than dry sanding.

What is the Best Sandpaper for Working with Resin?

When wet sanding, waterproof sandpaper with a grit between 60 and 4000 is the best sandpaper for resin. Be careful of what level of grit you use because sandpaper with a low grit rating can leave marks on the current layer. Make sure you sand with a grit rating of 1000 or above if you are applying a new layer of epoxy resin.

How Do I Sand Epoxy Resin?

Once you have your supplies ready and have created a space to work, follow these steps:

1)     Make use of a hard rubber sanding block. As stated above, using an electric sander is dangerous if you are wet sanding. Also, wear eye and mask protection. Switch to a curved sanding block when you need to sand curved surfaces.

2)     Use a container with warm water. Both a bucket and a spray bottle are helpful.

3)     As you proceed to sand, frequently remove debris, and check the surface, removing sandy residue with a cloth or paper towel. Be careful,  as you switch to finer grades of sandpaper grains from coarse paper, debris may remain and become trapped when you apply your next coat of epoxy. Take care when you are sanding epoxy resin between coats. 

4)     As you proceed, switch in finer and finer grades of sandpaper until your epoxy surface reaches the level of smoothness that you want.

5)     Sanding only achieves a certain level of luster and shine. Your resin surface may need to be polished once you reach the final coat.

If you follow these directions on how to sand resin, your project should look great and be done in no time.

Dry and Wet Sanding: Plastic Materials Helps You with the Answers

Do you have further questions about how to sand epoxy? We at Plastic Materials work with artists, small business people, and devout hobbyists every day to achieve their project goals. Contact us with your questions about sanding epoxy resin, or any other questions about working with epoxy. We can also assist you with any questions you may have about polyester resins, vacuum bagging, orbital sanders, and more. 

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