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DIY:  How to Wet Sand and Polish Paint

Tue, 19 Sep 2017

DIY: How to Wet Sand and Polish Paint

Tutorial video on how to wet sand paint to achieve a high gloss finish, remove any imperfections in the paint surface, remove orange peal and achieve a mirror shine. This process can be used on a signal-stage paint or on a two-stage paint that has a clear coat top coat. Be very cautious around any edges where the paint can be sanded through easily and also be aware of the thickness of the paint or clear coat to ensure that the final finish is not sanded through either. When wet sanding paint, ensure that the paint is sufficiently cured. This will vary between types of paints and how they have been applied. This particular tutorial was done on a 1996 Volvo 850. 

Tools/Supplies Needed:


  • start by washing the area you will be wet sanding to ensure there isn't any dirt on the surface which could scratch the paint
  • depending on the severity of your paint finish will depend on which grit of sandpaper you start out with
  • for this procedure I started out with 1000 grit, but you can start out with 800 grit if the paint finish is quite rough
  • let the paper pre-soak in a bucket of water with some soap mixed in to allow further lubrication
  • starting with the 1000 grit, ensuring that the area is wet before sanding
  • apply light to medium pressure, evenly gliding across the surface
  • a backing pad can be used to prevent dimpling from your fingers
  • rinse away excessive sanding material when needed and keep both the sandpaper and surface well-lubricated
  • once you have removed most of the imperfections of the paint, you can now move onto the 1500 grit sandpaper to remove any slight imperfections
  • after you've achieved a smooth surface, finish up with the 2000 grit sandpaper, always ensuring the area is well lubricated with water and washing away any access material from sanding
  • rinsing the area thoroughly, you can now move onto a polishing compound
  • apply the polishing compound to a soft cloth and rub into the freshly sanded area, apply any water if the compound dries out which allows it to be more workable again
  • after a majority of the fine scratches have been removed, you're now ready to move onto a scratch removing product
  • similar to the polishing compound, you can add a light spray of water to the scratch remove if it drys out while rubbing it into the painted surface
  • once you achieved an almost perfect shine, you now need to clean off any access polishing compound or scratching removing product before moving onto the wax stage
  • when waxing paint, ensure that is has cured as the wax can prevent the paint from curing properly
  • make sure there is no water left on the surface when applying the wax
  • rub wax into the surface thoroughly and then let it sit on the surface for a minute before you wipe down the surface


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