Can You Sand Plywood? – 5 Easy Steps To Help You Out

Can You Sand Plywood
Images /

Can you sand plywood? – 5 easy steps to help you out.

For indoor home improvement, plywood is a popular choice. Plywood is used in cabinets, floors, and wall sheathing in most home furniture and interior design. It is a delicate material to sand because of its standardized shape, materials, and versatility. It is, however, possible to sand. So, can you sand plywood?

To smooth and prepare plywood for staining and painting, you may sand it. For the first sanding, use 180-grit sandpaper, followed by 200-grit and 220-grit sandpaper if you want a finer finish. To avoid damage, remember to sand plywood in the grain direction.

Can plywood be sanded?

You can sand plywood boards to remove imperfections and produce a smooth surface for your board. Other classic sanding techniques are not exactly the same as this one. You begin with 180-grit sandpaper to fine grit sandpaper for plywood.

Since the boards have thin layers of wood and cannot withstand regular sanding techniques, incorrect sanding methods may ruin plywood layers. For sanding your plywood boards, I highly recommend using standard 180-grit sandpaper.

Since it produces a moderate influence on plywood, 180-grit sandpaper is ideal. Fine wood dust is produced by ultra fine grit sandpaper, which may obstruct wood pores and have an effect on staining and polish.

Oversanding may occur if you use finer grit sandpaper on your plywood, which will ruin the wood’s look.

How to sand plywood

Sanding plywood is a delicate process that requires technical expertise, concentration, and technique. Instead of sanding plywood against the grain, it’s advised to sand it along the grain. Sanding against the grain may damage the finish and leave scratches on your wood.

Here are some tips for sanding plywood correctly.

1. Clean your plywood.

Before sanding plywood, always clean the working surface. A dry cloth or vacuum cleaner may be used to clean plywood. Plywood may cause dust, grime, and other particles to settle on it, making sanding difficult and possibly altering your finish. Scratches on your surface may be caused by small solid grains.

Before sanding plywood, avoid using a wet cloth. Sanding the plywood properly may be difficult due to the presence of wet wood dust.

Before proceeding to the next step, the plywood must be dry. You may remove stains and other debris from its surface by using an alcohol-based solvent if necessary.

2. Sand the plywood using 180-grit sandpaper

Sand your plywood with 180-grit sandpaper on a solid, flat surface. Smooth surfaces like plywood with 180-grit sandpaper, which does not harm the underlying quality.

Removing gloss, varnish, and other finishes from your wood’s surface is also easier with the grains on the 180-grit sandpaper.

Every 3-4 sections, move your paper along the plywood surface. While it is possible to experiment with various sanding tools, it is recommended that you manually sand plywood (depending on the surface size). When sanding, stick to a single pattern. Instead of alternating patterns while sanding vertically, for example, sand the whole surface.

When smoothing, apply moderate pressure. The wood’s binding glue may be damaged or the quality of the wood may be ruined if too much pressure is applied.

Before you start sanding, make sure that the quality of your plywood is good. Plywood boards made of hardwood, softwood, bamboo, and fiberboard are among the varieties available in the market. How you sand your plywood raw materials may affect the results. Before smoothening, some courses may need more work than others.

For example, before applying 180-grit or finer sandpaper to low-grade plywood, you might use 90-120 grit sandpaper to smooth it. While removing little imperfections from your product (potentially owing to delamination), the grit is also perfect. Always buy high-quality plywood and sandpaper for the best results.

Don’t oversand your plywood for the following reasons: Unpleasant grooves, dents, and other flaws may occur as a consequence of over sanding. It may have an impact on the overall quality of oversanded plywood if it peels along the edges.

3. Sand again with 200-grit sandpaper.

Before polishing or smoothening plywood, sand the entire surface with 200-grit sandpaper.

Fine sandpaper is rated at 200 grit. It’s great for sanded plywood surfaces. Before smoothening your work surface with rougher sandpaper, however, it is not recommended to solely use 200 grit sandpaper.

For consistent results, repeat the process using 220-grit smoothing sandpaper and sand evenly along the wood surface. To avoid damage, sand at least three times on each portion and apply light to moderate pressure to the plywood. Repeat the process until you’re certain that your plywood is smooth enough to meet your needs.

4. Wipe your sanded area using a dry cloth

Depending on the impacted surface area, sanding might be a physically demanding job that takes considerable time. Remember to clean your sanded surface with a dry cloth, vacuum, or other method.

Wipe the dust off of your sanded surface with care. Move your dry cloth along the wood grain in a pattern similar to how you move sandpaper. When cleaning, avoid using water. When water might harm the binding glue and underlying layers, wood has a high moisture absorption and retention rate.

In a well-ventilated area, you should sand plywood. To protect your health, make sure that you have safety gear like eye goggles, a nose mask, and working gloves. People with breathing difficulties may be at risk from wood dust.

5. Assess the sanding and apply an ideal finish

Inspecting the sanded surface for flaws such as undersanding, oversanding, and uneven form is part of a quality assessment.

Scratches, dents, and other markings on the plywood can also be inspected before it is delivered. To smooth out any uneven areas, use 220-grit sandpaper. To check for grooves and rough patches, you may also sweep your hand across the sanded surface.

To enhance the look of your product, you may then apply a top-quality finish. To enhance the look of their plywood, some individuals choose varnish, wood stain, or paint. Before applying a finish, make sure that your plywood meets your standards.

Should you sand plywood before staining?

Before staining, sand the plywood to avoid imperfections. Any finishing or laminate that might influence the quality of your completed item is eliminated by sanding. The stain’s penetration into the wood fibers is also improved by proper sanding methods, which open up wood pores on the exterior surface.

Consider additional factors when staining plywood, such as the type of stain. Water-based solvents are used in certain stains, whereas oil and gel solvents are used in others. To flatten out any wood grains that develop from water usage, water-based wood stains might need a second coat of sanding.

To ensure consistency, it’s a good idea to sand lightly after applying the first coat of a water-based stain. Oil and gel-based wood stains are especially good at delivering a smooth finish without additional sanding.

Can you use an orbital sander to sand plywood?

When sanding plywood, orbital sanders are not the best option. The sanded surface may be scratched and marred by orbital Sanders on plywood, resulting in inconsistencies.

When you use orbital sanders, you’re more likely to oversand the plywood and damage it. A finer finish is achieved with less risk of damage by using manual sanding.

Also read: 


Whether you are sanding plywood for the first time or just want to brush up on the process, these blogs will help you get started. Sanding plywood is a straightforward process that requires few tools and basic woodworking skills.

Besides, the results of sanding plywood can be seen right away. So, it won’t take much of an effort to try sanding plywood at home! In the next blog, we shall look at sandpaper and sander safety tips. Have a read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like