Painted Furniture Ideas
Mar 20, 2013

What To Know Before Painting Furniture Without Sanding

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Sometimes it is okay to skip the sanding step before you paint a piece of furniture. I know I just offended several traditional painter, but the fact is it is possible to without sanding…sometimes. Before you skip the sanding step, here are a few things to know to make sure it is okay for the project you are planning.

Is the Surface Shiny? 

If the surface is very smooth and shiny, I would hesitate before skipping the sanding step. You may end up with paint or even primer that just peels off or is easily scraped off with a fingernail.

painted furniture

For shiny surfaces go over it with at least 220 or 320 grit sandpaper.  This will be just enough to give the primer or paint something to adhere too. A really slick or smooth surface can be hard for primer to stick to.  The only time you can skip sanding a shiny surface is if you will be using chalk paint.  Learn more here: What to Know Before Using Chalk Paint 

Is the Surface Thoroughly Cleaned?

Make sure you start by cleaning the surface with some kind of degreaser before you paint or prime. Paint and primer will not adhere to any type of oils, even those used in cleaning. So, you must clean with a degreaser first to make sure you are down to the top coat before you start painting.

 Has the Surface Been Waxed?

If you are painting over something that has previously been painted and has a wax coating over top, you will have to sand this wax off. Paint and primer will NOT adhere to a wax surface. You’ll be sorry if you don’t!

 You Can Use a Liquid Sander

You can also wipe the piece down with a liquid sander (available at most hardware stores) instead of using sandpaper. Just read the directions on the back before buying and make sure it will work with your piece and the primer and paint you intend to use.

 Use an Oil Based Primer

If you decide not to sand, then I would definitely use an oil based primer or a shellac based primer as opposed to no primer or a water based primer. Oil and shellac primers cure faster, reducing the risk of paint peeling or being scratched off within the first 2-4 weeks.

Once you have thought about these different questions, jump into the project, sanding or not!  Need more information on your project?  We loads of articles on specific projects, like The 4 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Painting Their Kitchen Table  or Must See Kitchen Cabinet Makeovers

Before you skip that pesky step of sanding learn if it really is required based on what you are painting. Sometimes it is okay to skip!
Take a minute to learn a few things you need to know before you skip that dreaded sanding step on your next DIY project
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