How Effective Is Sandblasting?

Sometimes there's a need to get paint, stains and other deep imperfections out of a surface. From the exterior of brick or metal buildings to personal bridges over small creeks and streams, sandblasting can handle many tasks when it comes to removal and renewal. Can sandblasting handle bigger tasks? Here's some information on how sandblasting can take on major projects to give you an idea of how effective the technique can be.

Sandblasting Bridges For The Public

To understand true grit and grit removal, consider bridges that are covered with rust and time-worn paint in places that most people can't get to. 

Suspension bridges have high support structures that often require climbing for effective cleaning. Handheld sandblasting techniques with backpack-loaded containers can be heavy when climbing, so many sandblasting professionals rely on a system of hoses for their cleaning.

One hose is used to blast the surface with grit. This hose features a precision nozzle that affects specific areas with as much pressure as needed, allowing workers to use their grit freely without too much waste.

Workers maintain their safety with harnesses and safety goggles, as well as masks in case wind direction and high elevations sends the grit back in their faces. Masks are also helpful in case there's more than paint and rust coming off the bridges as they get to work.

Technique Is Everything

Sandblasting is a careful process, but there's multiple ways to get the job done. For paint removal, sandblasting professionals will figure out a specific gauge or hole size for their nozzle to get as much paint off at the same time as possible. After initial sweeps, smaller nozzles can be used to spray away at angles and small areas that still need paint removal.

Although sandblasting implies one type of grit usage, there may be times where something other than sand is necessary. If sand is too hard and damaging for a surface, other forms of grit such as walnut shells may be used to remove paint and rust without severely damaging the surface.

It isn't just about preserving the surface. Every nozzle type and every type of grit can leave a different pattern on certain surfaces. For example, sandblasting can create a sheer surface ready for polishing on a brick wall, while walnut grit could create a decorative texture that resembles stucco. The pressure of the sandblasting also affects the patterns left behind.

Contact a sandblasting professional like those at APC Services of New England to discuss sandblasting and different projects you may have in mind.