Back-up Pads Information


Back-up PadsBack-up pads improve the conditioning and sanding performance of power tools. They drive discs, sheets with coated abrasives to condition a surface. Some pads can function in wet and dry conditions and reduce the time taken to complete sanding, grinding and polishing jobs on both flat and contoured surfaces


Select models convert into soft polishing tools with the use of adapters, foam layers or buffing bonnets. Shock resistant back-up pads with built-in backing plates from elements such as fiberglass are used for grinding and blending weld beads, casting flash and metal parts. Back-up pads are employed in a variety of sanding and finishing jobs including polishing marble, granite or ceramics; sanding out automotive paint defects; and smoothing wood furniture and floor surfaces.




Back-up pads come in an extensive array of types, shapes, and sizes, with many manufactured for specific tasks. Some examples include:


H&L (hook and loop) disc back-up pads: These devices serve polishing applications. Specific models are designed with a foam layer or water feed apertures to polish materials in dry or wet modes. By contrast, H&L disc back-up pads without foam layers offer firmer action.


Low profile back-up pads: Elements of this category are fitted with thicker foam. Low-profile pads enable a fine sanding finish with medium conformability. Medium-density low-profile versions function in applications calling for both intermediate and finish sanding. High-density low-profile tools are suitable for flash and seam removal. Low-profile pads are popular in the automotive industry and woodworking.


Hand sander back-up pads: These products supplant finger sanding. Their design incorporates components such as neoprene and polyester foam to provide conformability and softness for a finer finish. Hand straps hold the devices firmly in position allowing for the fine sanding of straight edge corners, contours, and small imperfections.


Palm sander back-up pads: Such pads feature finger indentations for ergonomic reasons. They convert H&L and PSA (pressure sensitive adhesives) discs into palm sanders to perform finishing on flat surfaces. The style facilitates the process of repairing clear coat defects. Lamb’s wool is incorporated into some models for its high density compared to other materials. The dense pile surface ensures even and balanced distribution of the material.


High-performance production pads: This category serves in high-performance applications. They work with resin fiber discs as well as quick change discs.


Random orbit DA (dual action) pads: DA pads support PSA adhesive coated abrasive discs. The design comprises a polyurethane molded construction and a poly back plate reinforced with fiberglass or glass.


PSA pads: Cushioned pads for PSA or glue-on discs operate with straight rotation instruments.


Spindle pads: These devices drive PSA or H&L discs of smaller diameters and include threaded removable shanks. The undersized diameter of the component helps protect the edges.


Non-woven surface conditioning discs (SCD) pads: Grinders and sanders rely on the SDC elements. The flats on the back of the element allow for easy installation or removal.


H&L disc flexible back-up pads: Thick foam makes this category well suited for sanding curved surfaces. The products that come with a wrist strap offer enhanced control.


No-spin backer pads: Instruments of this configuration minimize damage to nearby vertical surfaces during the polishing or refinishing process by adding a free-floating disc on top.


Zero burn back-up pads: Such structures facilitate multi-directional movement in standard grinders and polishers. They reduce the dependence on expensive resin pads required to control the heat produced during operation.





Back-up pads provide a broad range of utility, including:


  • Dual action sanding
  • Soft polishing
  • Disc roll suspending
  • Hand sanding
  • Fine finish sanding
  • Intermediate sanding
  • Flash and seam removal
  • Vacuum-assist sanding
  • Random orbital sanding 

Selection Criteria

 Back-up pads

An extensive criterion applies to the selection of back-up pads encompassing the method of use and the product's physical characteristics. The following must be taken into consideration:


Size: Back-up pads are commonly grouped by diameter.


Attachment method: The devices feature both threaded shanks and inserts for fixing the pad onto a tool.


Type of surface sanded: Thin, firm pads are preferable for flat surfaces. Thick, medium to soft pads are recommended for curved surfaces.


Grit characteristics: A lower grit number reflects a more aggressive grit. A grit disc with a 50 grit ranking, for example, would require a firmer pad while a soft to medium pad would be more appropriate for a 230 grit disc.





BS ISO 15636 - back-up pads fro vulcanized fibre discs


Image Credit:


Norton | R.S. Hughes