Abrasives can take a rough, patchy surface and give it look smooth and professionally-finished look. Use the right abrasive to touch up a small area or to strip an entire surface clean.

The previews that follow describe several different abrasive tools that you can use to hone edges or to remove layers of old paints and lacquers. Each has a specific use, so choose carefully for your particular home repair project.



This small square of rough material can remove anything from thin varnish to heavy rust, based on the grittiness of the abrasive.

Steel Wool

Choose the right grade of coarseness, and this bundle of metal fibers can scour anything from tile to brass to wood.


Just as a nail file creates a well-manicured fingernail, these files smooth out rough patches of wood.


This tool permits you to shave off layers of wood without gouging a hole in the surface.


Both electric and manual sanders speed up the process, allowing you to sand a larger surface quickly and more easily.


For more information on abrasives and other home repair tools, try the following:

  • Home Repair Tools: Review all the different types of tools you can use to make simple improvements around your house.
  • Materials: The kind of materials you use will dictate the tools and methods necessary to complete home repairs yourself. Learn the difference between the various materials in this article.
  • House Painting Tools: A good paint job depends on the right tools as much as the right paint. Find out what you need to change the look of your home.