SandersSanders Knowledgebase

How to Wet Sand a Clear Coat (3 Easy Steps)

TheToolGeeks.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs.   We may earn from qualifying purchases.  (Learn More).

Applying fresh paint and a clear coat can give a car an exclusive look. That’s why most manufactured vehicles have a clear coat finish. Notably, applying paint is a skill that is most likely to be done by a professional. But if you are up to the task, we’ll show you how to do it. Keep reading to learn more!

It’s no doubt that sanding a clear coat can create finer scratches on painted surfaces, which you can polish later to make the surface smoother. Thankfully, that will help not only protect the paint on your car but also give it an exceptional outlook.

Sanding a clear coat can seem challenging, but it’s not. While the entire process might take a considerable amount of time, you must do it with a lot of patience and attention.

How to Wet Sand Clear Coat

During painting, an orange-peel effect can occur on the car’s surface. As a result, an imperfect bumpy surface may form. However, the amount of orange peel formed will depend on either the paint’s thickness or how you apply the clear coat.

To achieve a glossy shine on the car, you have to remove the orange peel by sanding the clear coat. Once you’ve applied the fresh coat, leave it for 24 hours to harden. It is only after the clear coat has set so that you can go ahead to sand and buff.

You may be wondering if sanding a clear coat is something that you can handle; then, the absolute answer is yes.

All you require to start the process is a quality grade auto-body cleaning solution, a spray detailer, water, a bucket, towel, rag, two different sandpaper grades one (600 and 1200 grit), a tape, and a buffer.

The whole sanding process takes place in the following three phases.

  1. Cleaning and soaking
  2. Sanding the surfaces
  3. Buffing the sanded area

Cleaning and Soaking

Here are the steps to follow when cleaning and soaking the surface for sanding.

1.  Cleaning the Exterior of the Car

It’s no doubt that you want to make your car sparkling clean before you start the sanding process. So, focus on removing any dirt and stain present during cleaning. Use plenty of water and a car-washing detergent to reach the coat with ease.

Wipe the surface gently after cleaning with a clean microfiber towel. Microfiber towels work well for cleaning smooth surfaces because it has fibers which are free from dust. If there could be the need, allow the car body to air dry.

Related Read — Best Sanders For Metal

2.    Soak the Sandpaper and Rag

Soak the sandpaper in clean water In not less than an hour. That will help in preventing the sandpaper’s sharp edges from damaging the clear coat. Also, soak the rag in soapy water.

The wet rag will keep the surface moist throughout the process. You don’t have to keep the car surface soaked, but make sure it never goes dry as you sand.

Sanding the Surfaces

Now that you’ve cleaned and soaked the clear coat surface, the next step is to sand it.

1.    Sand Small Sections at a Time

If you want to come up with even levels, choose a section that you manage to sand. For instance, you can sand a small area at a time. Let’s say one square foot. Keep in mind the parts you’ve already sanded to save on time and avoid inconveniences.

Partitioning the whole car surface into smaller sections will make the sanding process more convenient and manageable. Besides, each partitioned section will receive equal attention. In other words, that will ensure that the surface gets sanded uniformly.

Related Read — Best Sanders For Refinishing Furniture

2.    Start Sanding

When wet sanding the clearcoat, replace the orange peel with finer scratches to smooth the entire surface. To achieve better results, start sanding using the 600 grit sandpaper. Later on, you can use the 1200 grit sandpaper to get quality results.

Using either a sand block or a rubber pad helps to fit in with your panel shapes. On the other hand, it’s advisable not to use a power sander since it destroys panel shapes. Also, remember to keep your surface wet throughout as you work.

3.    Use Proper Sanding Technique

Before you sand, apply masking tape on the delicate surfaces to prevent them from getting scratched. After you have taped, be free to sand at 45 degrees to get rid of the marks.

Similarly, sand with long strokes on the direction of the wind. Evaluate the sanding progress regularly to ensure that it’s smooth and uniform.

4.    Change the Sanding Direction

Occasionally, change the direction of sanding using faintly diagonal directions from the previous strokes. Move all through the whole surface systematically and ensure you sand the entire surfaces.

To prevent the coat from burning, keep the surface wet over and over again. Ensure the change in direction is uniform to pull off a smooth level.

Related Read — Best Straight Sander

5. Sand with an Advanced Grit Paper

Switch to using more fine sandpaper that will smoothen the scratches caused by the grit papers. Do not forget to soak the sandpaper in clean water before you sand.

When through, dry off the area and make the surface look dull. Ensure that you’ve sanded the entire surface before you remove the masking tape.

Buffing the Sanded Area

Here are the steps you should follow when buffing the sanded area.

1.    Choosing a Buffing Compound

Dewalt wool buffing pad is a rubbing compound highly recommended for beginners. Dewalt buffer is used in a vast range of applications since it gives a superior buffing outcome. It facilitates the excellent performance of your car and its durability.

However, more experienced professionals can choose to use Buffmaster. It is an exceptional towel designed for wiping up surfaces and cutting up through polishes.

Related Read — Best Cordless Die Grinders

2.    Apply the Polish

On the buffer pad, apply the polish uniformly. Make sure you buff at a low RPM of 1400 in the case of an electric buffer. Move the buffer more often to prevent one surface from overheating.

Carefully buff through the surface and ensure uniform distribution of the polish. To prevent the paint from burning, regulate the amount of compound you put on the buffing pad. When done, wipe off all the buffing compounds remnants.

3.    Carry on Buffing with a Soft Pad

At this stage, it’s evident that the surface is turning out positively. The scratches are wholly covered, and the bumps are no more.

Using a finishing polish and a soft buffing pad, keep buffing until you attain a shiny surface. During this phase, the buffer can run at a higher speed with no possible damage. Still, move the pad frequently to avoid overheating. Also, ensure that the buffer stays wet by adding the polish regularly.

4.    Clean off the Buffed Spot

For a perfect board anywhere and anytime, use Meguiar’s Final Inspection to give your surface a unique outlook. Thankfully, it makes the surface more clean and free from residue.

Professionals use this technique to leave your car with an ultimate shine and sparkles that are eye-catching. Meguiar’s Final Inspection is easy to use. You have to mist the spray into the surface and wipe with a piece of cloth.

5.    Apply a Coat of Wax

Waxing your car offers a coating that guards the clear coat and painting. Failing to wax the coat can make the paint fade away and lower your car’s value.

The good news is that waxing your vehicle facilitates easy washing and prevents chippings from the paint. It also makes your car look more attractive since by hiding and filling up the scratches.

Learn More — How To Sand Concrete?

Final Words

Now that you are familiar with these steps, you have absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to sanding a clear coat. Ensure you clean the car first to sand the clear coat efficiently. Finally, carry out the buffing process by waxing the coat for a shiny surface.

Related Read — Can You Use A Random Orbital Sander For Car Polishing?

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, 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 thetoolgeeks.com, 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 thetoolgeeks.com, 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.