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what is sandblasting used for?

Updated on August 14, 2016

Sandblasting is a surface treatment process. There are several variables involved in a sandblasting job:

  1. The type of abrasive material used (sand, soda, dry ice, walnut shells, etc.)
  2. The granularity - how course or fine that material is
  3. The air pressure / speed of the compressed air flow
  4. The surface being treated (wood, brick, concrete, metal)
  5. The talent and experience of the sandblaster

Sandblasting is both a skill and an art. An operator must factor in all the above for the task at hand and outcome desired. It is a process by which an abrasive media is shot at a surface via compressed air to clean and/or prepare the surface for further treatment. More delicate grit, pressure, and a gentler operator hand are required when treating a softer surface like wood.

Courser and harder materials can be used when working with a metal surface. A rougher surface may be desired in order to aid in paint adherence and job completely longevity. Higher pressures can also be used when treating a metal surface to aid it completing a job more quickly.

Sandblasting has uses from cleaning and repainting heavy industrial equipment, to cleaning walls and side of homes or internal rooms. It can also be used for creating signs or creating glass art as well!

All before and after images courtesy of a chicago sandblasting service Kelly & Sons which provides a mobile nationwide sandblasting service. If you're looking to get some service done, be sure to let your provider know all the details about the situation you are dealing with. Not only are they interested in the type of surface, but what is on it as well; for example, extra precaution must be taken when cleaning up jobs where lead paint has been used on a surface.

It should also be noted that there is a real safety concern for both sandblasting operators as well as people around during the process of unapproved, but cheap, sand being used as the abrasive agent. This problem in particular is around silica sand, which can create the very problematic lung disease silicosis. Only trained and trusted operators should be used to provide these services.

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