What Is Sandblasting?

Sandblasting is a powerful and efficient process that can clean and prepare a wide range of surfaces, such as removing rust from metal, removing paint and graffiti from brickwork, or removing stain from oak beams. The process works by blasting a chosen abrasive onto the surface to be cleaned using high volume compressed air at various pre-determined pressures. Sand was traditionally the most common type of abrasive, hence the term ‘sandblasting’, although due to its high silica content it is now illegal for health and safety reasons. Other abrasives used would be grit, recycled glass, aluminium oxide, copper slag and various types of steel shot.
Sandblasting, Grit Blasting, Blast Cleaning and Abrasive Blasting are all generic terms for the same process, which is most commonly referred to as ‘Sandblasting’. Shot blasting is similar, but very aggressive, using metal shot instead of grit; this is usually only used in large blast rooms on heavy rust.
For most of our ‘sandblasting’ projects, we are able to use re-cycled glass grit; this is environmentally friendly and available in most grades. A wide variety of abrasives are available depending on the job.

Below are a few examples:

Removing rust from a fire escape or similar would require a course grade with maximum air pressure. This would quickly cut through the rust and old paint, leaving an etched surface profile that would be ideal for re-painting. See an example of this
To remove paint from brickwork would require a medium grade at a reduced pressure. This combination would cut through the paint without damaging the surface below. See an example
A fine grade of abrasive at low pressure would be used to remove paint from a classic car body panel. This would leave a very fine etch on the surface but without distortion. See an example
The same fine grade of abrasive at high pressure used on oak beams would clean the surface and expose the grain. This would often be seen in barn conversions and in other building restorations where the timbers are to be exposed. See examples of this
The list could go on much further and would include examples such as fibreglass, cast iron, stone, glass and many others. Abrasive choice and air pressure are very important. Of equal importance are operator care and attention to detail.