Can I Use An Orbital Sander To Remove Paint?

An orbital sander is a hand-held power tool that is used for sanding, and its distinctive feature is that the blade delivers a random-orbital action. Sanders can be incredibly helpful tools when it comes to removing paint, but does an orbital sander work for the job?

The answer is yes! In fact, orbital sanders can be very effective at removing paint from a surface. In fact, compared to other sanders such as disc sanders, orbital sanders are better as they lessen the risk of leaving a circular pattern on the surface due to the abrasion and the movement, meaning they will often provide better results with less damage!

But how do they work? Or in other words, how do you use an orbital sander to remove paint? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few simple steps to follow when using an orbital sander to remove paint, and you’ll find that the results are smooth and highly professional!

1. Identify what the base of the surface is made out of:

Before you begin using the orbital sander, it is very important to identify what the base beneath the paint is made out of, as different tools are better suited to different types of surfaces. The orbital sander is suitable for use on drywall, hardwood floors, plain wooden surfaces, and metal surfaces.

However, you should avoid surfaces such as molded baseboards, as the orbital sander could damage the contours due to the orbital movement.

For surfaces in which the orbital sander is not suitable, you can instead use a chemical paint remover, or other tools that are more gentle and less likely to cause damage through abrasion techniques.

2. Prepare the surface for sanding:

Just like with most other tasks, sanding also requires the appropriate preparation, to ensure that everything goes smoothly. When it comes to using the orbital sander, there are three main steps you need to take in preparation:

  • Clean the surface:

There are many different products and methods that you can use in order to clean the surface, but it is important that you do so thoroughly so there is no dirt or debris left behind to interfere. You should then let the surface dry overnight, to ensure that it is 100% dry.

  • Tape off the edges:

Taping off certain areas might seem like an odd thing to do when sanding, but it is important in order to stop yourself from sanding bits of paint that you do not want to be removed. For this, you can simply use some painter’s tape.

  • Apply paint remover:

If you are using the orbital sander to remove paint, you might wonder why you need to apply paint remover beforehand. But basically, applying some gentle paint remover and letting it sit for a while, will loosen up the top layer, which is usually the toughest to get through. This will make the sanding process a lot easier, and can also speed it up so that it takes less time!

Remember to use a gentle and simple paint remover, rather than a harsh chemical. We recommend using one that comes in a spray bottle.

3. Other preparations:

The other preparations that need to be done before sanding, are essentially clearing the workspace and ensuring that all surrounding areas are protected. Make sure to close doors leading to other rooms, so the sawdust doesn’t get into them. We also recommend opening the window for some good ventilation. Remove all surrounding furniture so you have enough space, and cover anything you don’t want to get dust on.

4. Sand off the paint:

Once all preparations have been made, it is finally time to start sanding with the orbital sander. Choose the right sandpaper to attach to the tool. You can start off with large and coarse sandpaper for large areas, and switch to finer sandpaper towards the end to avoid causing damage to the surface beneath.

For metal surfaces, you could also finish the sanding job by attaching some steel wool to the orbital sander, as this will give it a smoother finish.

5. Finishing touches:

After you have finished sanding on the surface, make sure to check everything so that there are no cracks, holes, or damage caused by the orbital sander. If necessary, repair.

You can then also use a special conditioner suitable to the surface, in order to ensure it is in the best condition possible, before going ahead and doing whatever it is you want to do with it, whether it is repainting or something else!

What is the best sander to remove paint?

There are many sanders available in the market, all of them suitable for removing paint from different surfaces. And as there is such a large variety, it is impossible to choose a single best item, as it largely depends on the type of surface you need to sand down, amongst other factors.

However, some of the top and most recommended brands for sanders are Makita, DEWALT, TackLife, and Wagner. Most sander products from these brands are highly recommended by professionals and are of good and reliable quality.

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