Sandpapers or sanding discs for powered sanders use two attachment mechanisms: PSA or pressure-sensitive adhesive and a hook and loop system, also called velcro. So, what are hook and loop sanding discs? Also, is the hook and loop system better than typical adhesives?
Hook and loop sanding discs use the velcro system to attach to the backing pad of a sander. The backing pad on the sander has hooks, and the rear side of the sanding discs has loops. Place and attach a sanding disc with nominal pressure and peel off to remove it.
Hook and loop sanding discs are as effective and affordable as conventional sandpapers using pressure-sensitive adhesives.
However, the hook and loop system is exponentially more convenient to use.
Read on to find out if you should switch to hook and loop sanding discs.
How Do Hook-and-Loop Sanding Discs Work?
Hook and loop sanding discs work exactly like velcro-based attachments for wrappers, belts, shoestrings, and other fastening systems. A backing pad with hooks is glued to the sander as the fixed base. Thus, the sanding discs with loops are easily removable.
Do Hook and Loop Sanding Discs Work With All Sanders?
You need a sander backing pad with hooks or an adapter. Practically, hook and loop sanding discs are compatible with most sanders: orbital, random orbital, palm, detail, disc, combination disc and belt, and even vacuum-equipped models for drywall sanding.
A hook and loop sanding disc adapter may be only a velcro-based backing pad or a plate for specific types of sanders.
For example, the Hilterbrook Hook and Loop Backing Pad, available on Amazon.com, is a 5-inch (127 mm) backing plate for random orbital sanders.
You may use this backing pad for Milwaukee, Ryobi, Makita, and Dewalt sanders, among other popular brands and their models.
Alternatively, consider the Neiko 30267A Flexible-Edge Hook-and-Loop Backing Pad if its regular mounting mechanism suits your sander.
The Neiko backing plate is available in 5-inch (127 mm) and 6-inch (~150 mm) sizes with a 24-thread mount, thus suitable for most sanders.
Those using disc sanders or others that require a PSA sandpaper can choose an adapter like the Poliwell Hook and Loop Interface Buffer Pad. This 5-inch (127 mm) pad has 8 holes.
There are variants without holes and options like Poliwell 6” (150 mm) Loop to PSA Vinyl Conversion Pads with self-adhesive installation. Use these pads to switch to hook and loop sanding discs.
Watch this video to convert a disc sander to use hook and loop sanding discs:
Pros and Cons of Hook and Loop Sanding Discs
Here are the pros and cons of hook and loop sanding discs vis-a-vis PSA sandpapers:
Pros of Hook and Loop Sanding Discs
- Effortlessly easy to use on most sanders
- Instantaneous attachment and removal
- Change sanding discs or grits instantly
- No adhesive is involved; thus, no glue buildup
- Snug fit despite being so easy to remove
- Available in various grits, diameters, shapes
- Suitable for almost all types of sanders
Cons of Hook and Loop Sanding Discs
- A hook and loop pad is necessary to switch
- The sanding discs may fly off in some cases
All the benefits of hook and loop sanding discs are evident as everyone knows the advantages of velcro compared to glue or pressure-sensitive adhesives.
Hence, let me highlight two issues you may encounter with hook and loop sanding discs due to your use and the sander’s pad.
A hook and loop sanding disc may fly off while using a sander if the plastic hooks on the pad break, wear out, melt, or suffer significant damage.
Also, you may find it a tad expensive to change the sander backing pad.
However, both problems have surefire and inexpensive remedies.
How To Prevent Hook and Loop Sanding Discs From Flying Off
Here are 5 tips to prevent hook and loop sanding discs from flying off:
- Buy premium-quality hook and loop sanding discs.
- Always move a sander on a surface, even if slightly.
- Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the sander.
- Use the hook and loop sanding discs flat on a surface.
- Store the sander sideways when not you aren’t using it.
Poor-quality sanding discs may have fragile loops.
Thus, they won’t have a firm attachment with the hooks on the backing pad of the sander.
Always buy a premium-quality backing pad, conversion kit, or adapter.
Also, use hook and loop sanding discs of well-known brands.
Always move your sander to avoid heat buildup at one place, which will melt the hooks.
Applying pressure has the same effect, too. Tilting or angling the sander on a surface causes isolated heat buildup in a small section.
Thus, the hooks may melt, so avoid such use.
Check out this video to see how and why hook and loop sanding discs fly off:
Besides, you don’t have to buy a new backing pad even if it’s damaged.
You can get a velcro strip and glue it atop the existing pad after sanding and cleaning the worn-out or damaged plate.
Watch this video to save money on an avoidable backing pad replacement:
Furthermore, you can reuse a worn-out hook and loop sanding disc, not its grit certainly but the loop system.
You can cut regular sandpaper into the required shape and size, glue its rear side onto the face of a sanding disc, and use the latter’s loop to attach to a backing pad hook.
Watch the following video for an effective method to reuse the loop face of a sanding disc:
Everyone familiar with PSA sanding discs has endured glue buildup on the sander plates.
Also, switching from one sandpaper grit to another is a tedious process, impractical, and improbable, in some cases.
In contrast, hook and loop sanding discs are an exceptionally convenient option.
- Read the full article about how sandpaper is made and what materials are used in the process.
- Also, learn more about different grits of sandpaper and how grits are categorized.
- See how to clean used sandpaper and when you should replace it.
- You don’t have sandpaper? Use these instead.