Sandblasting is an effective method to clean surfaces and often prepare them for painting. Although this method has been broadly used for years, it comes with some downsides too. Over the years, other preparation methods have been tried and used but sandblasting has not fallen into oblivion. This fact alone begs the question, do the advantages of sandblasting outweigh its disadvantages?
The fact of the matter is this: not all jobs are the same or, if you will, demand the same force sandblasting imposes. Whether or not one would choose sandblasting services over other preparation methods is also subject to the material, the extent of contamination, and similar factors related to the surface. The only way to determine whether or not sandblasting solutions are ideal for your case is to put down the pros and cons and compare this technique with other preparation methods. Let’s do that.
Sandblasting is the method of propelling a stream of media against a surface to clean it or prepare it for a finishing job. The abrasive materials used range from sand to glass beads and are propelled at high velocity using compressed air.
Media is propelled with such force and under high pressure that large contaminated areas and thick contaminants are effectively cleaned in a short amount of time. Sandblasting is highly effective in removing rust, paint, and all sorts of contaminants from surfaces. It can be applied to several materials, ranging from concrete and wood to metal. With the right sandblasting technique and force, surfaces can become as smooth or rough as needed for the excellent adhesion of finishing coatings.
Although we use the term “sandblasting” broadly, the media of abrasive blasting varies. If we talk about the traditional silica sand, we must say that once released, it can spread and become hazardous. It may cause accidents, environmental risks, and damage to surfaces.
This method involves the application of a chemical to a surface to remove paint or stripper residues – hence, effectively cleaning the surface and preparing it for repaint.
Chemical stripping, aka chemical paint stripping and chemical paint removal, is an alternative method of removing various coatings and finishes from surfaces too delicate to be sandblasted. As less abrasive, it doesn’t cause damage, making it ideal for architectural details and furniture. It is effective on surfaces with intricate designs, which are hard to reach and clean with other methods. It doesn’t leave behind much dust, making it easy to clean afterward.
The chemical solutions are not environmentally friendly and some contain hazardous substances. This method is not ideal for all materials. Multiple layers of paint and thick coatings are difficult to remove, making this method ineffective or time-consuming.
Power washing is a method of spraying water with high pressure to remove dirt, paint, grime, mold, and other contaminants from surfaces.
Power washing is quick and effective with many surfaces. The method is harmless when power washing is done with water only.
The effectiveness of power washing is limited. Stubborn stains, rust, and thick coatings cannot be effectively removed.
Grinding and Sanding
Grinding and sanding make use of sandpaper, grinding wheels, and other abrasive materials to clean surfaces. This is done in direct contact with the surface.
Grinding and sanding allow for detailed surface preparation. The operators have control over material removal. With this method, a smooth finish can be easily achieved.
This is a time-consuming method, especially if the surface is large. Plus, grinding and sanding produce large amounts of dust.
Dry Ice Blasting
This method involves propelling dry ice pellets at high speeds against surfaces to remove contaminants and paints and to clean surfaces.
With dry ice pellets, the possibility of surface damage is minimized. Since no secondary waste is generated, this is an eco-friendly method.
Dry ice blasting is not effective with thick coatings and rust.
In the realm of surface cleaning and preparation, the choice between sandblasting and other methods highly depends on the project’s requirements. It depends on the surface itself – its strength, dimension, profile, and condition. And so, the key lies in first understanding the demands of a specific project and then, deciding on the method.