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the best tool for the job?

I am a relatively new DIYer. I am planning on sanding my garage doors in the spring. They are wood, chipping paint, panelled doors. What would be the best tool for the job? orbital sander? belt sander? other options? I hesitate to use chemical strippers as it is a double garage door and would need a ton of stripper. any suggestions?

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Posted 2012-01-05T18:43:46+0000  by newdiyer49 newdiyer49

Hello newdiyer49, and welcome to the community!


The sander I would recommend is the Random Orbiting Sander! With this sander you are able to use a variety of sanding grits, and in the end you will have  a very smooth finish with few if any sanding scratches.


The belt sander does a great job of removing many layers of paint is a short time, but you have to be careful not to linger in one place or otherwise you will leave divots in the wood. The Home Depot does carry a variety of paint stripers in different size containers. Here is a posting from PatInPaint   to explain the stripping process in greater depth.

Posted 2012-01-05T19:04:43+0000  by Angelo_HD_CHI

thanks for the response. I was looking at the random orbital sanders too.


I have used paint strippers for cabinet doors but they were laying horizontal. Is the stripper thick enough to stay on vertical surfaces? I am thinking of using the stripper for the indents in the panel detail.

Posted 2012-01-05T19:16:38+0000  by newdiyer49

Hi Newdiy49, This is Ken with The Home Depot. Tangelo is gone and I wanted you to get you an answer to your question about using Kleen stripper on a vertical surface.


I have check with one of our paint pro's and he tells me that yes, this is thick enough to use vertically. It is used frequently to stripe windows. You will be able to see how thick you can brush on the indents on your garage door. Hope this helps.

Posted 2012-01-06T00:32:58+0000  by Ken_HD_OC

To keep the cost down but speed up the project of stripping the paint off your garage doors, just do the majority of the work with your sander, but use the paint stripper for the nooks and crannies, around windows (if any), etc. Just look for the gel or paste formulas of paint stripper.


You're going to have to sand the areas where you use the stripper as the moisture will raise the grain, but sanding sponges or a 4" paint roller with a piece of sand paper around it will handle those molding and other odd shapes around panels, windows and trim pieces. 

Posted 2012-01-18T04:36:47+0000  by Paul

Hey newdiyer.


There are 2 tools that you will find indispensable over the years that will go well with your project:


Painting Hand Tools.JPG

The carbide scraper may well allow you to avoid even using stripper.  The worse shape the door is in, the more likely that the scraper will quickly clean out the panel details.  Please note the importance of "carbide" blade.  Many scrapers are just sharpened steel, and there is a huge advantage to the carbide that you will notice right off.  No cleanup would be needed other than the final sanding in those areas. This can be done as Paul mentioned, or with a rubber sanding block as shown above with a cut sheet of paper on it.


For this particular job, and few others, I think you would find that a belt sander will make quick progress on something as large as a garage door.  The drawback is that if this is your first power sander, you will rarely have a use for it.  A random orbital sander is much more versatile, but will be slower in cleaning up your garage door.  You will find that the orbital sander can help with lots of finish sanding jobs.


The thick, gel type strippers will also work well if you choose to go that route.  As you will see over time, a given project can be successfully tackled in a number of ways.


I hope this helps,



Posted 2012-01-20T16:40:03+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
Just for the sake of wondering did you consider a power wash? Just need to let the wood dry before you repaint.
Posted 2012-02-05T03:56:57+0000  by watzdamiter

Hello watzdamiter.  Welcome to the Community!

Great name.


Lots of folks like to use a power washer.  In skilled hands it will make quick work of the initial paint removal.  If I was repainting the whole garage or a house I would consider using one.  A somewhat rough end result on exterior walls or a deck is not as noticeable as it would be on a door.  Therefore it’s not my favorite tool for this job.  You will still have to scrape and sand the door in order to get a smooth finished product.


No right or wrong answer on this one, just preferences.


Again, thanks for joining the community.



Posted 2012-02-07T14:25:32+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

I've actually done this same project before and used an orbital sander to get the bulk of the work done.  It turned out good for me.


woodrouterman, wood router reviews

Posted 2012-03-29T03:56:55+0000  by woodrouterman

Hey woodrouterman.  Welcome to the Community.


Thanks for your input, (and agreement!).


We are glad to have you join the forum.

Please keep us updated on your projects and feel free to join in helping others.






Posted 2012-04-03T15:39:56+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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