SandersSanders Knowledgebase

How to Sand a Door (5 Steps)? is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs.   We may earn from qualifying purchases.  (Learn More).

The door is one of the first things that the guests see when they come to your house. If you care about how your house looks then it is very important to have nice-looking doors.

If your doors have started to look bad then maybe it’s time to refinishing them.  Door sanding is a very easy task, we have prepared a short but effective guide on how to sand a door. 

You can do that with a sander or manually using sandpaper. The choice is yours.

Can You Sand a Door?

Yes, you can sand a door. If you have old paint, then sanding it will help you to get rid of it. Sanding also removes any scratches or holes that your door may have.

If you are planning to re-paint your door, then sanding is the first thing you should do. It will create a smooth surface, and help the paint to stick better.  You can also remove any scratches or holes that your door has. 

You can sand the door with different tools. Here are the tools that we recommend using. 

What Tools Do You Need To Sand a Door?

As I said before, sanding a door is easy, but you need the right tools to do it. The most important tool that you need to have is a sander. There are many different sander types.

What Tools Do You Need To Sand a Door?

If you don’t have one, then make sure to check our list of recommendations about the best sanders for furniture refinishing. Except for that sander, you also need some other tools:

  • Sander
  • Newspaper
  • Sandpaper
  • Protective Gears (safety glass and dust mask)
  • a Rag
  • Ventilation

You can also sand a door by only using your hands and sandpaper. But, the process will take a lot of time. 

Related Read — Can You Sand a Table?

How Long Does It Take to Sand a Door?

If you are sanding with your hands, then it will take up to 1 or 2 hours to fully sand a door. If you are using an electric sander it will take you up to 30 minutes.

That’s why we recommend using an electric sander to sand down a door. The sander rotates up to 12,000 times per minute, and that helps you to complete the project faster.

Using your hand and sandpaper will take you longer. You will have to fully sand the whole door 3-4 times until you get a smooth surface. This can take up to 2 hours. 

How to Sand a Door?

This guide explains the steps of sanding a door with an electric sander. You can use the same steps to sand a door manually. Except for using a sander, you will use your hands and sand down the door. 

Step 1: Prep The Door For Sanding

Before you start the whole process, make sure to have all the needed tools. Pick all the tools and put them in the place you are going to work.

Now, clean the door. I recommend using water & soap to clean the door before sanding. You can also use a brush to get rid of any dirt. Don’t overdo it tho. 

After you are done, take the newspapers and lay them around the working area. Make sure that you cover every inch of the workplace or you will spend a lot of time cleaning the place from the dust once you are done.

Once you deal with the tools now it’s time to protect yourself. Wear protective gear such as your safety glasses and the dust mask. Make sure to keep them on all the time or you will be inhaling a lot of dust.

Read also: Best Sander For Wood Floors

Step 2: Start With Medium Sandpaper

There are three types of sandpaper that you are going to use. The medium sandpaper, the fine, and the very fine sandpaper. The medium sandpaper has grit numbers from 80-120. The fine sandpaper has grit numbers from 150-180 grit. And, the very fine sandpaper has grit numbers from 220-240 grit.

First, we will start with medium sandpaper. Take the sandpaper and place it at the back of the sander and start sanding the door gently. The medium sandpaper is mostly used for paint removal and to get rid of most of the scratches. 

Sand it up to the point where all the old paint has vanished and the door is scratch-free. While sanding make sure to not apply too much pressure. If you have holes or edges, then you have to manually sand them.

This is called the removal phase; try to remove any scratches, bumps, or holes that your door has. If there’s a dry old paint, then focus there more. You want to completely get rid of everything before you go to the next step.

Step 3: Use Fine Sandpaper To Sand Your Door

If after the medium sandpaper you still have scratches then don’t worry. Take the fine sandpaper(150-grit), put it at the back of the sander, and start sanding again. The fine sandpaper will make sure that all the scratches are gone for good.

You will have to sand the whole door all over again. Use circular motions so you don’t leave any marks behind. Don’t use the full speed of the sander for this step. You have to smoothly get rid of the scratches. 

This is the mini-smooth phase; you want to smooth out any marks, scratches that your door has. 

Step 5: Give The Door a Final Touch

Now, it’s time for the final part. Take the very fine sandpaper(220-grit), put it at the sander, and start sanding all over again. Make sure to sand slowly and sand the whole door.

The very fine sandpaper is only used to give the door a final touch, meaning that once you are done with this your door will have a smooth finish and it’s ready to be painted.

This is the final phase; you need to have a smooth surface after you are done with this phase. If you don’t, then you can use finer sandpaper (up to 2000-grit). 

Read also: Best Sander For Trim Work

Step 5: Clean The Door & Area

After you are done with the sanding, take the newspapers and remove them slowly from the workplace.  Just to make sure, take a rag and start sweeping the whole area. 

Take a bowl of water and mix it with soap and start washing your door. You want to get rid of any dust or dirt that may have been created by sanding. 

Related Read — Is it Possible To Sand Your Wooden Stairs?

5 Things to Keep in Mind While Sanding Down a Door

  • 1. When sanding doors, to get the best results possible you will have to do it in the line of the grain. If there’s paint or scratches that don’t get removed after a normal sanding then here’s a little trickTilt your medium sandpaper to 45 degrees and start sanding only the areas where there’s paint or any scratches left. This will force the paint or scratches to get removed.
  • 2. While using the fine and very fine sandpaper you can sand in the line of the grain without any problem. These types of sandpapers are mostly used for finishing and giving the object a fine finish before painting.
  • 3. If you don’t have a sander or you are facing difficulties while using one then there’s another alternative that you can use. You can use a sanding block to sand the door. Just make sure that the sandpaper is properly attached to it. But I have to say that if you use a sanding block then you will spend a lot more time and energy than using a sander.
  • 4. If you are going to use a water-based paint for your doors then it’s recommended to sand the door one last time with very fine sandpaper just before painting. This will give the door a smooth finish and the paint will look even better once it’s dried.Moreover, doing that will also help you to get rid of any of the scratches that you have missed. And as you know, water-based paint is very good at highlighting scratches.  And that’s not something that you would want.
  • 5. If you have kids then it’s important to keep them away. Not only they can be a distraction but also sanding produces a lot of dust and they can easily inhale it.  That’s why it is always recommended to have a garage or a private space where you can do this. Ventilation is also necessary if you are working in closed spaces.

Related Read — Can You Use a Sander to Sand Glass?

Final Words

And this is it folks – this is how you sand your door. Since most of us have a lot of doors then it’s recommended to start with the ones that are very old. If you don’t have enough experience then you can start with a secondary door.

This is a very easy job, but it will take you a very long time, especially if you have decided to sand all the doors in your home. But, once you are done sanding and painting them then it will be all worth it. The doors will look new again and your house will look even better with them.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.