Sandblasting - A Quick Guide

sandblasting wood and brickFor many cleaning applications which you might undertake outside your home a simple pressure washer will do the job. These are fairly commonplace and pretty effective. But every now and then you may have a job which requires a more high end piece of technology. For these jobs a sandblaster may be perfect. But be aware that this can be an extremely messy job. This article provides a quick guide to sandblasting

A sandblaster can be used to remove paint and dirt from masonry, brick, stonework and hardwoods. While it may be tempting to simply rush out and hire a sandblasting machine to clean every surface around your home, it is extremely important to recognise that sandblasting can be destructive to some surfaces and that it is not suitable for everywhere.

What is sandblasting?

Sandblasting is forcing abrasive material through a compressor onto a surface at very high pressure. This pressure can be varied depending on the surface. The material used is not usually sand in the usual sense of the word and is chosen dependent on the surface being cleaned. Copper, steel and glass are all used in blasting however “sandblasting” is still the term most commonly used. The grit blasted from these machines gradually ‘eats’ away the dirt or paint leaving the surface clean. But, a great deal of care needs to be taken so that the grit doesn’t damage the surface itself.

When not to sandblast

Soft surfaces such as brick and some masonry may not hold up well under sandblasting. But if a surface has not been cleaned by jet washing, a light sandblast may do the trick. The surface needs to be restored afterwards if it has been damaged. Most stonework should also be cleaned using jet washing rather than sandblasting.

Oak beam cleaning

Sandblasting is perfect for cleaning hardwoods. While the process can be used to restore the look of the timber it is also good for allowing the penetration of wood treatments for woodworm or beetles. Sandblasting will also prepare the wood for painting without wetting it.

Removing rust

Used mostly in the automotive industry, sandblasting is a good technique for removing rust from metal work. This can also be used for parts of the home such as metal railings or pipework.

Protective clothing

It is essential that you are correctly dressed if you are undertaking a sandblasting job. This means full overalls and a helmet with a full face visor. A respirator should be worn along with thick rubber gloves. The grit, while very small, comes out with extreme force and can easily damage any skin it comes into contact with.

Cleaning up

An industrial vacuum cleaner is essential for picking up the grit once it has done its job. This will not be an easy job and the dust will take some time to settle and to be collected up. Once the vacuum has been done the area will need to be wet mopped as well. Remember to wear a respirator while cleaning up as the dust will hang in the air.

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