Can You Sand Concrete With Regular Sandpaper? (Pro’s, Con’s and Warnings!)

Concrete is a tough surface, and if you are planning to paint it or cover it with wallpaper, it will need to be sanded down beforehand.

Sanding enables the concrete to remain nice and smooth so that it is easier to paint and looks better overall.

However, sanding concrete is no easy task, especially if you are planning to do this manually. 

While it is possible to do so, this may not always be the best solution and I'll discuss alternatives below too so read on...

DISCLOSURE: TheRuggedRooster.com is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.


Using Regular Sandpaper To Sand Concrete

As we mentioned in our introduction, it is entirely possible to sand concrete down with regular sandpaper. However, it is certainly not the best sandpaper or option to use. 

While you will find some success with it, regular sandpaper wears down very quickly. Given this, you will find that you will be working your way through a packet of sandpaper fairly quickly.

Not only is this not great for your bank account, but this is not an environmentally friendly method either. 

Regular sandpaper is fairly thin. While it is great to sand down smaller objects, using it to sand concrete is very time-consuming.

Even if you use a sanding tool, it will still take significantly longer in comparison to other products. 

If regular sandpaper is the only item you have available, it can be used. But, be aware of the time and effort it will take to use.

The coarser the sandpaper you use is, the better it will sand concrete. When you think of how durable concrete is, the sandpaper you use will need to withstand this. 

A piece of regular sandpaper that you might use on concrete

Using A Sander To Sand Concrete

If you are planning to sand down a concrete wall, slab, floor, or anything of significant size, we would recommend using a sander.

If you sand concrete manually this will take a very long time and can become uneven.

A sander is an investment, but an investment certainly worth making. It is much quicker than carrying out the task manually and helps to even out the surface better. 

Using Diamond Sandpaper To Sand Concrete

The best option by far in terms of sanding is diamond sandpaper, especially when it is paired with a sander. Diamond sandpaper is more commonly available in discs that you attach to your sander.

While it is called sandpaper, it merely resembles sandpaper. It is a lot thicker and durable, being made out of flexible sheet material. While it is not sandpaper, it works similarly. 

Diamond sandpaper tends to work better than grinding discs, and the surface is created with diamonds.

Given this, it is not the cheapest option available, but worth considering if you need to sand a large concrete surface. 

While it may cost more than sandpaper outright, in the long run, when you think about how much standard sandpaper you will need, it is worth investing in. 

Using A Grinder To Sand Concrete

One of the best tools to even a concrete surface is a grinder. This will likely be a better option in comparison to regular sandpaper.

A grinder will work in a similar way to a sander, but they tend to be more powerful.

The grinder will grind down the concrete to ensure that it is nice and smooth. This is particularly helpful if you need to smooth a large area of concrete such as a floor or walls.

How To Sand Concrete With Sandpaper

As mentioned above, while you can sand concrete with regular sandpaper this will take a long time. Instead, we would recommend diamond or coarse grit sandpaper. 

Particularly heavy-duty sandpaper, with a coarseness of 400 or higher would be the best option if you do not want to use diamond sandpaper.

In addition to choosing the correct sandpaper, a sander will also cut down the time it takes significantly. 

First, you will need to attach the sandpaper to your sander and plug it into an AC socket.

We would recommend that you use the appropriate personal protective equipment such as goggles and potentially gloves to help prevent any injuries. 

You will then want to place the sander onto the piece of concrete you will want to sand. As the sander is rotating, you will not need to move the sander very much, it will do the majority of the work for you.

You will need to place a good amount of pressure on the sander to ensure that it is wearing the concrete down. 

We would recommend starting at one corner of the concrete and slowly working your way across it. You will want to regularly turn off the sander to check your progress.

 After a short while, you will start to notice that the concrete is becoming a lot smoother. 

You will need to repeat this until you have sanded down all of the concrete. If you notice any even parts, feel free to go over these until they are also smooth. 

You will also need to keep an eye on the sandpaper you are using. As concrete is a tough material, it will wear down even the more coarse grit sandpaper. If the sandpaper has worn we recommend replacing it.

Using worn-out sandpaper will not be very successful and you will not achieve the results you desire. 

Summary

We hope that you found this article informative. As you can see, while you can use regular sandpaper to sand concrete, it is not recommended.

Using regular sandpaper, even with a sander will take a significant amount of time and will use up a lot of sandpaper.

Instead, we would recommend using a grinder or diamond sandpaper. These are the quickest and most effective ways to sand concrete. 

However, if you do want to use sandpaper, we would recommend thick sandpaper with a coarseness of at least 400 or higher.

This paired with a sander will still be time-consuming, but will be a lot more successful than using regular sandpaper.