The (manual) alternative to a sanding sponge is a sanding block or wall sander. I’ve got three different types of those, as well, and I use them for different purposes. 9 times out of 10 I’m going with my sanding sponge for smaller jobs and trim work.
I’ve got two other different types of wall sanders:
- hand held (pictured – blue handle)
- pole sander
Both of those give you the versatility of attaching sandpaper with whatever grit you desire. Sanding sponges come in different grits, as well, but they are better suited for smaller tasks and working trim. The sponge itself has the ability to conform to the intricate curves and grooves that are inherent with trim and moulding.
A sanding sponge is one heck of a handy, yet simple, tool to have in your weekend warrior arsenal. Sanding sponges tend to last a long time if you simply rinse them out and let them dry.
What is a sanding sponge?
A sanding sponge is a foam block that has been impregnated with grit. It can be used wet or dry and can be rinsed out to remove residue to be reused many times. It usually has a medium grit on one side and a fine grit on the other. All of the edges have grit on them, as well, to get into nooks and crannies.
Why Use a Sanding Sponge?
There are several reasons why lots of homeowners choose a sanding sponge over a sanding block for typical, and not so typical, DIY projects.
- Sanding sponges can be used for wet for dust-less sanding, if desired.
- They don’t develop bare spots or tear, like sandpaper tends to do.
- They can be rinsed out and used dozens of times before they are tossed in the receptacle.
- You can’t rinse regular sandpaper and reuse it.
- The sponge conforms to irregular surfaces for even sanding in difficult areas.
Sanding sponges typically come in 100 grit, 150 grit and 220 grit, not to mention dual grit sanding sponges. That should suit almost any project that a homeowner comes across.
Using a Sanding Sponge
As with any sanding project, you should begin with a coarser grit and work your way down to a fine and/or a very fine grit.
If you are working with wood, be sure to sand in the direction of the woodgrain. Sanding sponges are particularly adept at getting into the crevices associated with fine trim and moulding. Feel free to apply extra pressure to make the sponge conform to the irregular surfaces.
When working with drywall or spackling repairs, it’s really nice to have two sanding sponges on hand… one for wet sanding and another for dry sanding. Removing the initial residue or spackling is best accomplished with a damp sanding sponge. Once you’ve removed the majority of the material, move to your dry sander and use a light hand.
In both cases, simply rinse the sanding block and squeeze out the excess water and let it dry for use on your next project. You can’t do that with typical sandpaper. If you are working with wood, be sure to wipe the surface with a tack cloth to remove any existing dust residue.
Good luck with your project!