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Comparing Sanding Disc Backings: (Cloth, Film, Hook & Loop, and Psa)

Comparing Sanding Disc Backings

There are several types of backings for sanding discs, but the most popular ones include cloth, film, hook & loop, and PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive). Each is designed to promote high-quality results and is therefore appropriate for the intended purpose.

Sanding discs and other accessories are held in place on power tools by an attachment called a backing pad. For the highest performance, it extends below the sanding discs and offers sufficient cushioning. The disc's whole surface area is made available for the project thanks to backing pads, which also contribute to the project's smoothest finish. To assist you in making a better choice, we will talk more about backings or backing pads in this article.

Sanding Disc Backings

A backing pad is an attachment for power tools that holds and supports sanding and polishing accessories. A locking disc or hook and loop fasteners are used to keep the abrasive or polishing media firmly attached to the backing pad's face. A range of materials, including rubber, metal, and composite resins, are used to make backing pads. They come in a variety of sizes and specialized designs for different applications.

In power tools, backing pads support abrasive discs and polishing mops. The sanding disc or pad can provide effective surface contact with both flat and contoured surfaces thanks to their sturdy yet flexible installation. Additionally, the pad makes sure that when polishing or sanding, the attachment's entire surface area is accessible. The backing disc prevents the disc's edge from scouring the workpiece when sanding by keeping the disc flat at all times.

Types Of Sanding Disc Backings Or Backing Pads

Back-up pads are available in a wide variety of styles, dimensions, and configurations, many of which are made for particular purposes. Here are a few instances:

  • Cloth
  • Film
  • Hook & loop
  • Pressure-sensitive adhesives, PSA

1. Cloth

Cloth Abrasives can be created from a wide range of woven fibers, including natural fibers like cotton and synthetic fibers like rayon, nylon, and polyester. To achieve the flexibility and durability required for its intended purpose, the backing material must undergo a process that includes shrinking, drying, and stretching. Cloth-backed abrasives, such as JF, J, X, and YY, are available in a variety of thicknesses/weights with varying degrees of flexibility/sturdiness. Since they are stronger and less likely to tear.

 JF – JF weight fabric backing is advised for sanding workpieces with a more complex or detailed profile since it is the lightest and most flexible.

J – This fabric's backing is very flexible and lightweight. Polyester, rayon, or cotton might be used, depending on the application. J-weight backings are sturdy enough for a variety of uses, but they cannot handle high pressure or difficult stock removal. Use this backing for finely detailed work, mixing, and finishing.

X – Stronger than J-weight, this backing is also offered in cotton or polyester. The material is less flexible than the J-Weight backing due to the extra strength. This backing can be used for medium-pressure applications that need stock removal as well as applications that need a final finish.

YY - The strongest cloth backing, known as YY-Weight, is employed for heavy stock removal operations under high pressure. This polyester material will mold to the workpiece and is exceptionally tough and resilient. The basic objective of this backing, regardless of the finish, is to reduce as much stock as possible. This kind of backing is primarily used in woodworking processes like harsh sanding and metal forging.


  • Can be used with grease and oil
  • Tear-resistant
  •  Long-lasting performance
  • Can be cleaned to remove buildup and resin
  • offered in a range of weights and stiffnesses


  • Expensive

2. Film

Film sanding discs have a thick plastic sheet backing that is strong and flexible enough to conform to shapes without tearing or weakening. Film-backed abrasives are more expensive than sandpapers, but if you frequently wet sand (as in the automotive or metalworking industries) or work on curved objects like vehicle parts, the investment is worthwhile. Film discs are well suited for finishing marine boats due to their waterproof qualities.


  • Waterproof and suitable for wet sanding
  • Strong enough to withstand tearing
  • More durable than paper
  • Excellent job of contouring


  • More costly than paper

3. Hook & Loop

Velcro-backed hook and loop sanding discs include tiny hooks and loops that make it simple to attach them to your orbital sander. When you reuse your discs or need to switch to a different type of abrasive while working, this technique makes them both equally simple to remove. Although they are detachable, they keep a firm grip when in use and won't fly off or slip.


  • keeps a firm grasp when sanding
  • Transitioning from one sanding level to the next is simple when switching grits
  • Available in a range of sizes and grit types
  • Reusing your sanding discs will help you save money.


  • When the hooks deteriorate, the sander might fall loose.

4. Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Or Psa

Sanding discs with pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) are simple to install on your sander; just remove the backing. You will likely find a PSA disc that fits your needs and budget because it can be made of film, cloth, or paper. While paper-backed products work well for lighter sanding and finishing tasks, cloth and film-backed ones are stiffer and more tear-resistant, making them more suitable for heavy-duty sanding.

It's imperative to keep in mind that PSA discs cannot be reinstalled once they have been removed. They differ from hook and loop systems in this regard. For lengthy tasks where you'll use the same disc until it wears out, they are a superior investment.


  • Available with a variety of backing materials, including paper and film
  • Secure grip while sanding
  • Often fits budgets


  • Cannot be reattached after removal
Always think about which backing is right for your application before buying sanding discs. Although paper is less expensive, it is less flexible and more likely to tear. If you work in damp or marine conditions, film backings will produce the most effective results because they are waterproof. When you're polishing metals and finishing off components with unusual shapes, the cloth might be a better option. Similarly, the hook & loop approach is superior to PSA, which is more economical for larger pieces, provided you sand at numerous layers.
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