I'm about to embark on some painting projects. I'll be painting (priming) bare wood (fir) jambs/doors, a vanity and some drywall. My understanding is most flat paints are sand-able, while glossy paints cannot be sanded (i.e. they snag and peel when sanded). BTW, I want to use latex, not oil base. I like to be able to sand in case I mess up or need to retouch something. How can I determine what paints can be sanded. Can all primers be sanded. I was planning on using zinsser bullseye 123 (primer/sealer) for the door jambs and doors. I was also looking at a Glidden Gripper Aquacrylic, which is slightly more expensive.

  • I found Zinsser PrimeCoat 2 at Home Depot and it says it sands to a powder. It seems lowes has the same product but under a differnt zinsser branding. I still would like to know in general how to determine what paints can sand and which ones are rubbery and snag/tear.
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 28, 2012 at 23:40
  • You can sand the 1-2-3. Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 17:28
  • 1
    update: what I've learned so far is there are two important factors that affect the sand-ability of paints: cure time and sheen. The glossier paints don't sand was well but some paints need time to cure (30 days or so) before they can be sanded without snagging/tearing. I've been using the zinsser 123 primer/sealer. It covers much better than the primecoat2 (not a sealer), although the the primecoat2 sands to a fine powder and the 123 is more gummy but can be sanded after 24 hours or so.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


Primers sand well. Oil based (alkyd) paints sand beautifully to a powder. Latex paints do not sand well in my opinion; they gum up. I have not had experience with sanding flat latex products.

There is a new product on the market that is a water-borne oil paint. It cleans up with water but apparently levels nicely like 100% alkyd. I don't know how it sands but it might be worth asking someone at a paint store.

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