Sandpaper grades: What does the 'P' mean and which grit you need

Selection of sandpapers on table in piles according to grade
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to sandpapering, you need to know what sandpaper grades to select to make sure you get the correct finish. You don’t want to be unleashing a coarse sandpaper on a job that needs a fine sandpaper, although, most mistakes can be rectified  – it will just involve more work.

Essentially, there's an ideal sandpaper grade for different DIY tasks. For instance, if you have a heavy duty paint  job that needs a lot of paint removal you want to kick off with a coarse, or even extra coarse sandpaper. But if you are preparing walls for painting you will probably need to use a fine sandpaper to get a lovely smooth finish.

Here we take a closer look at grade and grits and reveal which are best for the DIY jobs you have on the horizon.    

Sandpaper grades and grits. What’s the difference?

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.