how to wet sand a car after painting

How To Wet Sand A Car After Painting

Not many have heard of wet sanding a car. It seems like something new, but this is the same approach many painters often use to beautify a car after painting. Now, if you think your old car can’t look beautiful, then you’ve got everything wrong.

In this article, you will learn how to wet sand a car after painting. However, we will not assume anything as it regards the painting process. You need to know how to paint the car properly before performing the wet sanding process. Let us get things started.

Wet sanding a car is an astonishing process to perform on a vehicle that can make the surface look super smooth like glass, especially when done properly.

Wet sanding is perfect irrespective of what you want to do, whether it is priming or painting the metals or anything on the body of the car.

Another name for the process is color sanding because of the shininess it adds to the car after the painting. Before going further, you need to understand the items you need to do the wet sanding process, especially if you are the “do it yourself” freak.

Items Needed For Wet Sanding A Car

how to wet sand a car after painting

To get this process completed, you need the following items:

  • Wet sandpaper (different grits)
  • Spray bottle containing water
  • A truck or car that requires smoothing

These items are not hard to find around you. For instance, spray bottles can be found in places such as grocery stores, box stores, or any home repair store.

Although they are available everywhere, ensure to find a booth with a spray pattern to make the job easier. If you decide to use a bottle without an actual spray pattern, it will throw splashes of water.

Therefore, a misty sprayed pattern bottle will complete the job because it will saturate the surface of the car. With this, you can use one hand to perform the sanding and the other for spraying.

The particular sandpaper grit you choose is essential and affects the general outlook of the car. For instance, if the grit you started with is too coarse, you are only compounding additional work for yourself.

This will result in you having a primer coat or thinner paint. Alternatively, if you decide to use sandpaper that is too fine, you will end up sanding until you will feel like your arms are about pulling off. You can experiment with this to see how it feels.

Notwithstanding, if the surface you want to sand contains a coat of rough primer, you can begin with 400-grit sandpaper to remove the little bumps.

Later, you can decide to switch to 600-grit sandpaper to get a smooth surface. Since our concern is wet sanding an already painted car, you should not start the process with the 400-grit sandpaper mentioned earlier.

This particular sandpaper will be too harsh for the car and may eventually ruin the painting rather than restoring its beauty. Since the vehicle requires wet sanding after painting, that means all we need is a little shine and smoothness.

Therefore, an 800 or 1000 grit sandpaper is suitable for this purpose.

[su_note note_color=”#ebeec6″ radius=”5″]Word of advice: Don’t rush the process of wet sanding a car. Your job is to allow the sandpaper to do the job. Furthermore, don’t apply excess pressure when sanding because it can lead to uneven or groove sanding. With this, you are set to begin your wet sanding process.[/su_note]

How To Wet Sand A Car After Painting

With the materials above and their various specifications, you are ready to perform your wet sanding process.
You can perform this process outside your garage. However, if you have a garage, which has a drain within the floor with nothing in it, then you can perform the job there.

Remember, the water used in sanding the paint will contain tiny particles of paints, which can stain your floor. This can be extremely difficult to clean immediately. So before starting, ensure to put these things into consideration.

It is vital to wash the car before starting the process in order to remove any material that may mix with the sandpaper such as grit, wax, etc. with your car properly cleaned up; you can begin the wet sanding process.

Fundamentally, wet sanding is merely using water to sand a car. The water in this process serves as a lubricant and an agent to eradicate any paint dust, which would have to block the sandpaper.

Begin by freely spraying the area with the spray bottle filled with water. Remember if you are sanding a car before painting, you should use 600-grit sandpaper. However, if it is a finished paint job you are sanding, 800-1000 grit sandpaper will be perfect.

In terms of movement in the wet sanding process, it should be done in a back and forth pattern and in a straight line. Endeavor not to perform this activity in a circular motion.

Furthermore, little pressure should be applied on the sandpaper and in a back and forth direction with water applied.

After some time, you can use your fingertips to feel how smooth the particular sanded area is. You can repeat the process pending when you are satisfied with the smoothness of the car.

Once you are satisfied, you can remove the sanding dust by rinsing it with water. Ensure to rinse every part of the body.

Finally, here’s a short video that explains more about how to wet sand a car after painting:

Can you wet sand car paint?

Determine if wet sanding is right for your car.

Wet sanding can be an excellent way to restore your paint to its original luster, but it isn’t always the best option. If the clear coat on the paint has scuffing and scratches, however, wet sanding may be the right solution for you.

Do you sand a car after you paint it?

When you paint a car or parts, be sure to always sand the edges extremely well. If paint is going to lose adhesion and start peeling, it will probably start from an edge of a panel that was not sanded properly.

How long should touch up paint dry before wet sanding?

I wait 24 hours between applying primer, color coat and clear coat before sanding. This ensures that each coat has had sufficient time to dry.

How long does car paint take to cure?

It takes 24 hours for the new paint to cure, at the most. Though, just because it has cured does not mean it won’t react negatively to water, soap, and other ingredients that are involved in a car wash. The expert recommendation is to wait at least two weeks to wash your car from when the new paint job was completed.

Do you wet sand between coats of paint?

For most types of car paint, you should wait about 15 to 20 minutes between coats. Also, between primer and paint applications, you should wet sand the vehicle with a 1000 – 1200 grit piece of sandpaper. This will make spraying the vehicle much easier and allow you to use less paint to cover the car.

Do you have to buff a car after painting?

The paint job on your vehicle protects it and provides a unique look as you cruise the streets. If you have recently applied clear coat to a paint job, it’s time to buff it out to a high shine. Clear coat should be allowed to harden for at least 24 hours before attempting to use a buffer.

Is wet sanding necessary?

Wet sanding is likely not necessary if you’d prefer a matte or brushed finish. If you want to have this glossy finish, you’ll dry sand first and then wet sand. You can always finish off by buffing and polishing if you want to reach a mirror-like finish.

Should you wet sand after touch up paint?

We usually recommend not sanding between touch up base color paint, clearcoat, and primer coats. However, if a little dirt lands in the paint you may let the paint dry and sand out the speck. If you’re having an issue with too much texture or getting runs in the paint, you may want to sand.

What is 2000 grit sandpaper used for?

1,500 – 2,000 Grit

1,500 grit and 2,000 grit are used to sand the clear coat. Both grits are great for removing light clear coat scratches that can’t be removed by rubbing compound and buffing. Use 2,000 grit for final sanding to achieve smooth surface.

Can you clear coat after wet sanding?

In order to paint clear on it again, you actually need to do some more sanding, scratching the surface even more. With the newly-painted panel polished, new clear coat won’t stick and will most likely peel off of what you have there already. You want to hit the surface with some 1000 grit wet sanding.


[su_note note_color=”#ebeec6″ radius=”5″]Wet sanding a car is a necessary process that every car owner should endeavor to do. The benefit of wet sanding is that it provides dust free and smooth surfaces when compared with dry sanding a car.

However, utmost care must be taken during this process because if not properly done, it can affect the paint layers. Mistakes you make during the wet sanding process can be very costly, which is why you shouldn’t do it on your own.

Instead, you should hire a professional to perform the wet sanding of your car after painting.[/su_note]