Do I really need to sand when up-cycling furniture?

There are loads of paint on the market that have the no prep appeal. Upcycling furniture without sanding sounds amazing but is it as easy and just skipping this step? You don’t need to sand and go straight in with the paint with no prep?

Why is sanding even mentioned if you don’t need to do it. Firstly you 100% need to clean that piece down or you can run into problems with the paint not sticking to any grimy/oily areas. If there is flaky paint you also need to remove this by sanding. Lets look at why anyone would sand in the first place.

The Sanding Process

This is the stage everyone wants to avoid. The hassle of it, but I’m telling you, its just the thoughts of it. Most of the time you don’t have to sand it back to the original surface, sanding a piece for painting only requires you to scuff the surface. You will sand something quicker than painting it, it does not take that long. I am talking a kitchen chair will take you 5 mins tops! But it will add another layer to your durability. Yes a larger piece will take longer, but using a sander will again speed that process right up! A sanding block is a must have as its easy to hold onto and gets into awkward areas easier.

Sanding with an orbital sander
What does sanding actually do?

When you sand a surface, it creates an abrasion on the surface, depending on the sandpaper grit you might not even see it, in certain lighting. This helps the primer stick to the surface. Its like the paint/primer has something to cling onto. Does this mean the paints and primers that say you don’t need to sand are lying?….. no. These paints/primers have a built in compound that helps it stick onto the surface but lets look at why every brand on the planet wouldn’t just add this compound into its paints.

Upcycling furniture without sanding?……

I have this weird obsession and interest in looking at how a product performs. I love giving products a good test and I will purposely knock and chip things to look at how it stands up like it should do in everyday life. In my experience some of the paints with no sanding work, but if these get a chip/knock (which can happen even on a perfectly primed and painted piece) you can peel it back, sometimes it can come off in a small section and other times a larger section. But if this surface is sanded this doesn’t tend to happen. So it gives you more time to just tip up that tiny area, and lets face it we have little jobs like that on our to do lists, and we don’t get to them straight away.

Do I really need to sand furniture?

I have been painting furniture for over 10 years. There was a period of a few years when I was doing commissions that I was painting furniture every single day (no joke). There isn’t really a type of surface I haven’t primed to get ready for painting. Of course you want to lighten the work load but sanding isn’t something I would miss. Why? because for the length of time it takes compared to what it adds to the durability of a finish its so worth it. I really feel like if your going to be spending all the time painting it you might as well do it properly and not come up against any problems in years to come.

The best sander for furniture upcycling

This is the perfect sander to buy when starting off and its at a great price! I use this sander all the time, its easy to handle, light weight and you can sand with one hand, so it makes light work of any sanding. Even though its orbital I still sand in the direction of the grain to avoid any scratches or damage.

Black and Decker orbital sander