We sell sandpaper, but is it actually made with paper? 


You may have heard us and other high-end sandpaper manufacturers refer to their sanding discs as ‘film discs’ or ‘film-backed discs’ but what does that actually mean? 

It refers to the backing material on which the abrasive grain is bonded. If a sanding disc was a hamburger, the abrasive grain would be the top bun, the backing would be the meat, and the bottom bun would be the hook and loop material.


Most sanding discs use a paper backing material with a variety of paper weights that range from A - G with A being the lightest weight paper and G being the heaviest.

On the other hand, Serious Grit sanding discs use a polyester film backing. Film-backed sanding discs, as the name suggests, are made by adhering the abrasive grit to a thin layer of polyester film. 

So why would you want one versus the other and what makes film-discs so special?


  • Film-backed discs: Due to the nature of the polyester film backing, film-backed discs are generally more durable and resistant to tearing around the edges compared to paper-backed discs. They are suitable for heavy-duty applications and tend to last longer.
  • Paper-backed discs: While paper-backed discs are durable, they are more prone to tearing, especially when used for aggressive sanding tasks or on rough surfaces. 


  • Film-backed discs: The flexible nature of the film backing allows these discs to conform to irregular surfaces more effectively, making them ideal for sanding contoured or curved objects.
  • Paper-backed discs: While paper-backed discs are generally less flexible, they can still conform to some degree to curved surfaces. However, they tend to crack when folded over for hand-sanding.

Finish Quality

  • Film-backed discs: The stronger nature of the film backing produces a highly consistent finish on your work which is especially apparent in higher grit finishing work.
  • Paper-backed discs: While paper-backed discs can produce a great finish, it may take more passes to smooth out minute inconsistencies when a flawless finish is needed.

Use Cases

  • Film-backed discs: Film-backed discs are suitable for a wide range of applications, including automotive refinishing, woodworking, metalworking, and composite materials sanding.
  • Paper-backed discs: Paper-backed discs are commonly used in woodworking applications, such as sanding wood surfaces, preparing surfaces for painting or staining, and general purpose sanding tasks.

Wet Sanding 

    • Film-backed discs: Film-backed discs can be used for wet-sanding applications like auto-body work and high grit polishing because there is no paper to get soggy and tear.
    • Paper-backed discs: Paper-backed discs are not generally well-suited for wet-sanding work.


        • Film-backed discs: Film-backed discs tend to be more expensive than paper-backed discs due to the higher cost of the materials used in their construction.
        • Paper-backed discs: Paper-backed discs are generally cheaper and widely available at lower price points.

        So if you’re wondering what makes Serious Grit different from most sanding discs on the market like Diablo, Festool, Mirka, or others, now you know one of our secret sauce ingredients! 

        Ready to try a box and experience the difference? Browse our selection here

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