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What is a sanding sealer?

Updated November 21, 2016

Applying sanding sealer is a vital step in finishing high-quality furniture and trim. It is the second step in a three-step process when working with stained wood. If you enjoy building beautiful pieces of furniture or consistently work with stained woods as your job, you will want to use sanding sealer as part of your finishing process.

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Sanding sealer is used as an added layer of protection and to create a smooth finish. It is used either on stained or unstained wood, depending on whether you want a stained or natural wood finish. Staining or leaving the wood natural is your first step.


Using sanding sealer makes a heavily grained piece of wood smooth to the touch. Using two coats of sanding sealer will create an even smoother finish. Applying the sanding sealer is your second step in finishing your wood project.


Sanding sealer fills and raises the wood grain, creating a rough, gritty feel. After the wood is sanded with a fine grit sandpaper, it is ready for polyurethane or lacquer, the third and final step when finishing wood.


Sanding sealers function like polyurethanes. They will run and sag if applied too heavily.

Expert Insight

Using sanding sealer on wood projects creates a stronger, longer lasting finish.

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About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).

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