I'm palm sanding (quarter sheet) flaking/chipped paint from exterior hardwood siding I want to preserve. I read some hints here, but I'm seeking any other labor-saving hints - this job is tedious. Here's the best of my knowledge so far:

  • First scrape loose material with a good 5-in-1 tool - avoids gummed paint in paper.
  • Separate sanding/painting teams - paint teams need clean air & surface.
  • Pre-drill a big stack of sheets with vent holes - avoid manually punching holes with each paper change.
  • Change paper often - gummed paper works much worse than new, and new paper is probably cheaper than your time. Is paint stripping sandpaper definitely an advantage over general purpose sandpaper? They don't sell it at my local big box stores.
  • Use good breather, snug gloves, safety glasses, and ear protection - have good knee pads handy for low work - throw in some earphones & music, this is a long job.
  • Spot prime after rough sand - use finer grit for resanding before later coats.
  • Use the best quality paint you can afford - you don't want to do this job again soon. Modern oil based primers will accept latex paint.

Other suggestions?

2 Answers 2


I really think a palm sander is the wrong tool for this job. Palm sanders are great for finishing with finer grits but lack the power to remove layers of paint quickly. The siding job you are starting would go a lot faster with a 5 or 6 inch dual action (DA) sander with prepunched velcro backed sandpaper disks. There are several nice ones for under $100 and buying disks in contractor packs is a good value. I have two Ridgid 5 inch DA sanders and have used and abused them for years. I think HD sells them for about $70.

  • 2
    +10 for the statement "I really think a palm sander is the wrong tool for this job." Definitely start with a scraper, a good quality, sharp scraper. You can take off a huge amount of paint with such a tool, and faster than any sander will do.
    – user558
    Mar 4, 2012 at 16:04
  • Agree with the scraper comment. There is even a power scraper now. What will they think of next? Mar 4, 2012 at 21:23

Look up a product called a "paint eater". Wagner makes one that isn't expensive. Down side? Swirls. Metabo makes one. Downside? Expensive. Porter Cable makes one too (creatively called a paint remover). They use carbide discs - Sanding siding with a conventional sander will blow through a small fortune in sand paper.

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