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What Kind of Sander Do You Use for Drywall: Detailed Explanation

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Written By John Gibbs




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If you have a question about “what kind of sander do you use for drywall?” you should know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The type of sander you use will depend on the specific project you are working on. If you are working on a small drywall project, you may get away with using a hand sander. However, if you are working on a larger project, you will likely need to use an electric sander. There are various electric sanders on the market, so you must choose the one best suited for your project.

The most popular types of sanders

  1. Belt
  2. Detail sanders
  3. Random orbital sanders

How to Use a Drywall Sander Step-By-Step Guide

This guide will show you how to use a drywall sander correctly. We will review the different types of sanders available, what abrasives to use, and how to avoid common mistakes.

Step 1: Choose the Right Sander for the Job

Drywall sander by the wall in a small room

If you want to know the answer to the question “can I use an orbital sander on drywall?” the short answer is yes. In my guide, I will explain in detail how to do it. There are three main types of sand drywall with an electric sander:

1. Random orbital sanders:

These are the most popular type of drywall sanders. They have a circular pad that spins in a random orbit, making them ideal for sanding large surfaces quickly.

2. Belt sanders:

Belt sanders are more aggressive than random orbit sanders and are typically used for removing paint or other finishes from walls.

3. Detail sanders:

Detail sanders have a small triangular pad. This is one of the best choices for sanding drywall with an electric sander, and it is perfect for getting into tight corners and crevices.

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Step 2: Choose the Right Abrasive

Abrasive nozzle on a homemade sander for drywall

There are two main types of abrasives used with drywall sanders:

1. Sandpaper:

Sandpaper has various grits, from coarse (40-60 grit) to fine (120-180 grit). Coarser grits are best for removing paint or finishes, while finer grits are better for final sanding before painting.

2. Sanding discs:

Sanding discs are circular pieces of abrasive material attached to the sander with Velcro. They come in various grits and can be used with either drywall or wood.

Step 3: Prepare the Area

The drywall sander with light grinds the ceiling

Before sanding drywall electric sander, you must prepare the area. This includes removing all furniture, carpets, or other items from the room and covering any outlets or switches.

The answer to the question “can you use an orbital sander on drywall” is yes, and before you follow the next steps, you should also ensure the area is well ventilated. Open all the windows and doors, and turn on fans or air conditioners.

Step 4: Attach the Abrasive

If you use sandpaper, attach it to the palm sander on drywall using the clips or Velcro pads. If you use a sanding disc, press it onto the sander.

Step 5: Begin Sanding

Now you are ready to start sanding drywall with a palm sander. Begin in the corner of the room and work around the perimeter. Make sure to keep the sander moving at all times. If you stop in one spot for too long, you risk damaging the wall.
As you sand drywall with an electric sander, you will create a lot of dust. To avoid breathing it in, wear a dust mask or respirator. It would help if you were careful not to get the dust in your eyes. Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect them.

Step 6: Finish Up

Once you have finished power sanding drywall the entire room, vacuum up all the dust. Then, wipe down the walls with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dust. Now the area is ready for painting or other finishes.

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Common Mistakes

Worker grinds plasterboard wall with sanding machine

The answer to the question “can you use an orbital sander on drywall” is yes, but people make some mistakes when using a drywall sander. Here are some of the most common ones to avoid:

1. Not Wearing a Dust Mask

As we mentioned earlier, sanding creates a lot of dust. If you don’t wear a dust mask or respirator, you risk breathing it in. This can irritate your lungs and cause several health problems. So make sure to wear a dust mask whenever you are sanding.

2. Not Wearing Safety Glasses

Another common mistake is not wearing safety glasses. The dust created by sanding can get in your eyes and cause irritation or even blindness. So always wear safety glasses or goggles when sanding.

3. Sanding Too Much

While using an orbital sander on drywall, you should remember that if you sand too much, you risk damaging the drywall. The paper surface can start to break down, leaving behind a rough, uneven surface. You will need to patch the area and start over if this happens.

4. Not Vacuuming Regularly

Green drywall sander on site

Another mistake is not vacuuming regularly. The dust created by sanding can build up quickly, making it difficult to see. Even if you use a palm sander on drywall, you must remember that if you can’t know, you’re likely to miss areas or sand too much. So remember to vacuum regularly to keep dust levels down.

5. Not Wiping Down the Walls

After sanding, you must wipe down the walls with a damp cloth. This will remove any remaining dust and prepare the surface for painting or other finishes. If you don’t do this, the dust will get stirred up when you start painting and cause problems.


Yellow drywall sander

What is the best sander for drywall?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the specific needs of the individual and the type of drywall project they are working on. However, some of the most popular sanders for drywall include electric hand sanders, pneumatic sanders, and orbital sanders.

How do you use a drywall sander?

To use a drywall sander, you will need to attach the appropriate sanding pad to the sander. Once the place is connected, you can begin sanding the drywall surface. Moving the sander in a consistent motion is essential to avoid creating gouges in the drywall.

Can you sand drywall with a palm sander at home?

Yes, you can sand drywall with a palm sander at home. However, it is essential to use the proper sanding pads and move the sander in a consistent motion to avoid damaging the drywall.


I hope my article was helpful to you. First, the answer to this question depends on the sanding you need to do and the type of drywall you are working with. If you are working with new drywall, you will need to use a different kind of sander than if you are working with old drywall. This is because new drywall is much softer than old drywall and requires another type of sander to get the job done correctly. If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to write in the comments.


About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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