Learning About Auto Body And Paint Projects

Why You Should Hand-Sand Your Car Instead Of Sandblasting It (And How To Do It)

When it comes time to repaint your car, you have a choice between personally sanding off the old coats with sandpaper or using a sandblaster. Using sandpaper may take a little longer than a sandblaster and require a little more preparation, but it is cheaper and more accurate. Here's what you need to know about this topic.

Why You Should Choose Sandpaper Instead Of Sandblasting

Many amateur auto mechanics turn to sandblasting when it's time to repaint their car because it is quicker and requires little labor, as it is typically performed by a professional. However, sandblasting will cost you a lot more money than hand-sanding your vehicle.

A typical sandblasting company charges at least $40 per hour for their labor, but may charge as much as $75, with sand costing $50 per bag. So a three hour sandblasting job on your car that uses one bag of sand will cost at least $170, but may cost $275. That is before any "set-up" costs involved with the job (which includes transporting equipment or starting it up).

By contrast, sandpaper costs as little as $3-$25 per sheet, dramatically decreasing your cost investment. Yes, you're going to have to do more work, but you can really focus in on the hard-to-reach areas of your vehicle that sandblasting may miss. Sanding by hand also gives you the personal satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Making Sure You Prepare Properly

Now that you've decided to hand-sand your car, you need to carefully prepare it for the job. You're going to be getting your hands a little dirty in a way you never would have with sandblasting, so please take your time to really read through these instructions. A few ways that you can properly prepare for your car for a sanding job include the following steps:

  • Choose various sandpapers between 80-300 grit: this type is strong enough to strip off all the paint and primer from your vehicle's body.
  • Wrap each strip of your sandpaper around a 12-inch long 2 x 4 piece of wood and staple it down to create a sanding block.
  • Clean your vehicle with soap and water before sanding, letting it air dry for a few hours before beginning.
  • Place your vehicle in a cool, dry area (such as a garage) that keeps it out of the sun and the elements.
  • Carefully remove the lights, trim, and chrome on the exterior before beginning to avoid damaging these items.

Please note that many of these steps (such as cleaning your vehicle and removing exterior items) are necessary whenever sandblasting your car. However, professionals will be doing it instead of you, adding more time to your labor costs and taking more money out of your pocket.

Sanding Your Car

Once you've prepared your car, you can start sanding. Looking at the car right now may make you wish you'd gone with sandblasting, but it's actually pretty easy to do this. You just need to spend an hour or two performing the following steps:

  • Tape over vehicle emblems, as well as the edges of the windows and other delicate areas, to avoid damage.
  • Rub your 80-grit sandpaper block over the surface of your car lightly. Lower numbers indicate higher grits, and starting with this grit helps you break up primer and paint.
  • Make sure to sand around hard-to-reach areas, such as wheel covers and door handles.
  • Wipe the surface of your car down with a towel to remove paint and primer remnants.
  • Sand the surface with a higher-number sandpaper block (220 should be fine) to remove more layers of paint.
  • Once again wipe the surface of your car with a towel to remove more paint and primer.
  • Continue until you reach the bare metal of your car.

Once you've removed all your paint and primer from the body of your car, you can start your painting job. Make sure you buy only the best and most beautiful auto paint with the money you saved on sandblasting to make all your hard work with it. Contact a business, such as Space Age Auto Paint Store, for more information.