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Best sander for plaster walls - advice please?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Pinky, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    Hi All

    Have just stripped off the old wallpaper and filled some holes. I'd like to get it smooth enough to paint rather than put more wall paper up. I have hand sanded a small part of it and it smooths out nicely. I can't be doing it all by hand though as the room is too big.

    Does anyone have an opinion on what the best sort of electric sander would be for this job? I've seen orbit, random orbital and belt types but don't know which would be most suitable. Oh, I will also need to do the ceiling with it :(

  2. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    I've got a fairly basic black & decker orbital that uses bog standard sandpaper with paper grips at the front and back. It also has a dust bag or hoover attachment which is a nice touch to clean as you go.

    I like it because it uses the normal sandpaper and not any special brand specific overpriced crap.
  3. roman

    roman pfm Member

    Under no circumstances should you get a belt sander. MUCH too heavy and aggressive.

    If its a one off job you might be best off hiring drywall sanding gear with an extractor or a scaled down set up. The main things are quality of finish, dust extraction and ease of use (meaning bulk and weight). If you really mean the best and it'll see lots of use in the future then a mirka ceros or deros cant be beaten for what you are doing without getting the real speciality gear. But at over £300 quid it might be too much. these are brushless random orbital sanders with lots of power, light and a joy to use. The discs are round so no good at getting into corners.

    Orbital sanders with square or rectangular base plates get around this problem. The handiest one is the rts 400 by festool. Again very expensive but light and with great extraction (you need a robust extractor ie hoover for this-I have a festool but many swear by cheap models from ickes or lidl-beware non standard connections and short hoses though. Other 1/4 sheet sanders are worth looking at for much less money.

    last but not least consider hand sanding with mirka or hermes setups using a light thin flexible hose attached to hand hel pad on the bottom of which is sponge Velcro to which you stick 'abranet' mesh. needs elbow grease, but again, with extraction it really excels at powdered filler but is less good on wood and paint.

    oh and if you don't use extraction and even if you do, wear a good mask, not the crappy napkin held by thin aluminium sort. Afterwards wipe down surfaces lightly with damp cloth.

    good luck!
  4. roman

    roman pfm Member

    you might consider abranet overpriced but it lasts forever when used with powdered filler and works really well.
  5. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    If you insist on no lining, then I strongly advise you use Polycell Basecoat before painting, it is expensive but works a treat.

    Then two coats of emulsion.

    Where a mask when sanding and best of luck.
  6. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    Holy crap you're recommending sanders for £200+ then recommending abranet on top of that.

    I paid £40 for my orbital sander and three packs of sandpaper. It did three rooms in my house and my mate borrowed it to do his whole house he bought recently, it is still going strong.
  7. Simonms

    Simonms Registered user

  8. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    There's some great suggestions there for me to look into so thanks all.

    I wasn't really wanting to spend £200-300 on a sander so whilst they look like great tools, I'm hoping that for an amateur like me something well under £100 would do the trick. I'd rather buy than hire so that I have it for any future jobs.

    I take the point about a belt sander being too aggressive. Which would be best then between a circular sander and one with a rectangular plate? Any further particular manufacturer or model recommendations?

    I'd rather not get something non electrical as the room is quite large and the plaster does take quite a lot some sanding to get it smooth.

    ps. I have a dust mask and goggles at the ready!
  9. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    On the subject of lining paper I have tried that before but found it didn't looks as good as a painted plastered wall. Depends on the finish/prep of the wall of course which is the bit I want to do well!

    I'll have a look at Polycell basecoat but in the past I've just used watered down emulsion as a wash/sealing coat and that has worked fine.
  10. roman

    roman pfm Member

    Sure, I don't disagree.

    I went down the same path many moons ago, a cheap sander will do just fine, I have used many of these, but these days I do a lot of this stuff and have come to value my shoulders, my lungs and my hearing a little more. I pointed out that cheaper stuff would be ok, or even to hire whats needed if its a one off.

    One thing that is for sure though, the dust bags that come with sanders are rubbish and barely worth bothering with. If you use extraction the difference in finish, mess and durability of both your sander and sand paper is simply enormous, even more so if you use abranet (the pads wear out more quickly though). The Velcro style attachment is also much better and flatter than those infernal wire clip things for securing sand paper. Filler dust can easily ruin ordinary sanders and hoovers or at least stick to the motor brushes. Its also a real pain to clean up. Much better to catch it at source.

    BTW the recommendation to line the walls is a good one. However well you sand a mixed surface of the type described, the finish is seldom as good as you hope. However if you choose not to line then its a good idea to seal the walls with something like 'Zinsser gardz' before painting. It helps minimize 'flashing'- the difference between surfaces showing through the paint finish.
  11. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

  12. roman

    roman pfm Member

    I know what you mean about the finish of paper. It does however give uniformity and takes out some of the really minor imperfections and hairline cracks. I'm not sure whether you approach will give you the appearance of a well plastered wall without seeing it but there's no reason not to do it this way.

    Watered down emulsion works well but you might find the filled bits absorb more water and continue to show through. I guess try it and see. Avoid sealing with pva though. It can work but avoid painting onto it as it can go wrong.

    On sanders I would probably go for a 1/4 sheet model. It may be a little small for your first intended use but you'll be grateful for it being lighter when you do the ceiling. Its also handy for general household stuff like doors, skirtings and stair strings as its more likely to fit in these soaces, and with the square basepate will allow you to get quite close to edges and corners. A good one would be Makita, but look also at de walt and bosch and flex.If it really is for very occasional use then any non branded one will be fine as well. Not sure of prices right now but imagine they would range from £15 (cheap lidl/aldi /argos) to about seventy for the brands I named.
  13. roman

    roman pfm Member

    Here you go (sorry no link):

    Look up Makita BO4556 240V Palm Sander Plus Clamp .

    Bit small but all the advantages I mentioned, esp weight and ability to use rolls of 115mm paper if you don't want more expensive Velcro stuff.

    If you want to spend more then Makita do a cordless random orbital (ie circular not square) running out of battery power can be maddening but if you don't intend to use extraction then being completely untethered is a big plus esp as cheaper sanders tend to have annoyingly short power cords.
  14. roman

    roman pfm Member

    Horrible things to use. Difficult to use well if you are not used to it and will have dust raining down onto your head.

    Electric is fine if you use the right grade of paper (absolutely no lower than 120 for finish and ideally 180 or over) and avoid crazy machines like belt sanders
  15. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    I hadn't really considered a 1/4 sheet sander as I thought it a bit small but I take the point about lightness and versatility. I'll reconsider that.

    In the meantime I was considering these 1/3 sheet sanders - in order of price:




    Seems like they would all do the job so maybe the cheapest would be fine?
  16. Pinky

    Pinky In suspense, not compressed

    Yes I share the concern about how good a finish I can achieve. I'm taking the view that if it turns out not to be good enough for paint then I will resort to lining paper. Don't really fancy that for the ceiling though!

    I'll have a look at the Zensser sealer you suggested earlier, sounds like a good idea
  17. roman

    roman pfm Member

    Green bosch are usually fine. And for the money looks a good deal. The blue ones are their pro range and I notice it is the lightest. I would normally rate Makita more highly, thought that's not as certain as it once was. Looks good too though and lies between the two in weight.

    If you have a lot of ceiling sanding to do then grab an equivalent weight (bag of sugar, that kind of thing and hold it up to ceiling while on a ladder to see what is manageable.

    In the end it comes down to sanding for half as long with a heavier machine or twice as long with a lighter one (referring again to 1/4 sheet mode).

    They will all perform the job very well.
  18. Simonms

    Simonms Registered user

    ...have you tried going over walls and ceilings with a palm sander? Much more dust and the bags are useless. I have a Festool extractor and that does not collect all the dust when sanding. A sanding pole is much quicker, we are only flattening off here.

    A belt sander is not for this job.
  19. roman

    roman pfm Member

    I've done it many times a well designed sander with extraction will do a good job. I use festool/mirka and its great. It doesn't catch it all but works very well.

    I've already said the same re dust bags and belt sanders.
  20. Simonms

    Simonms Registered user

    How long did it take?... if I started palm sanding plaster back I'd be off the job before I could sneeze :)

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