Blast Cleaning and Surface Preparation: Benefits of Sandblast

Blast cleaning is an essential process to revive, clean or prepare a surface (for the addition of paint, for example). If you have large areas of concrete, steel, stone, metal, aluminum or wood to treat, we recommend sandblast! 

This blast cleaning technique is extremely effective in removing layers of paint, varnish, wax, pigments and corrosion (or oxidation) from many types of surfaces. Different abrasives can be selected according to the material to be cleaned. As a matter of fact, each one has characteristics that guide their use on specific materials.

Read on to discover the benefits of sandblast and the applications of the main abrasives used with this process.

Benefits of Blast Cleaning with Sandblast

Here’s why you should consider sandblast for your projects.

Quality Results

Sandblast is an extremely powerful process. It can clean almost any surface, removing all contaminants that could damage the product or its appearance. Using this process to treat a material will improve its functionality and longevity. 

When used to remove rust, it effectively prepares the surface for repair by another treatment and gives it a second life. Blasting is a very good process to create the necessary profile for anchoring a coating or a paint.

Industrial or Residential Projects

Blasting is versatile and can be used for jobs of all sizes. You can blast the surface of a wooden piece of furniture or a concrete pool, as well as a construction truck or a large steel structure.

Rust Removal

Rust is a common problem with metal products. In fact, it is the leading cause of material deterioration because it corrodes metal and can spread rapidly to other metal surfaces. If not properly treated, rust can cause permanent damage. It can be particularly harmful on machines, causing malfunction, presenting a danger or even becoming out of order, should a single part be rusted. Blast cleaning is an effective way to remove rust!

Safety

The process must be performed in a safe environment, with the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). At all times, it is important to have good ventilation to avoid breathing in too many particles and dust, which have an irritating effect on lungs therefore on a worker’s health.

A Wide Selection of Abrasives - Which One to Choose?

What makes sandblast so versatile is the multitude of abrasives used depending on the technique and the surface. Every blast cleaning job has its own solution: whether it’s sand, iron silicate, recycled glass, steel balls and much more.

Here are the main abrasives for blast cleaning - all available from Groupe Bellemare -, their pros and cons as well as their main uses:

Natural Sand

Natural sandblast is used, among other things, to clean and prepare surfaces such as concrete, steel and aluminum. Very common, it is accessible, affordable and allows to carry out large blast cleaning jobs adequately. 

Natural sand is offered in different grades (grain size) to obtain results adapted to all needs. The larger the particle, the deeper the indentation. However, using large particles will give you less impact than an equal volume of smaller particles. These clean faster, provide better coverage and produce a more uniform result. The most efficient approach is to use the smallest particle necessary to achieve the desired performance.

Pros:

  • Natural material
  • Good quality-price ratio

Cons:

  • Work environment and PPE effectiveness need to be evaluated to ensure safety in the presence of crystalline silica.

Natural Sand Data Sheet

Iron Silicate (PRO-Grit)

Iron silicate is an ultra-performing product. Its high degree of efficiency reduces the amount of abrasive required. PRO-Grit iron silicate also offers a low level of dust emission. 

It is mainly used for cleaning rust, paint or scale from steel.

Pros:

  • Most effective abrasive in its class
  • High relative density abrasive (3.7)
  • Generates very little dust providing excellent visibility during blasting
  • Contains less than 0.1% crystalline silica
  • Low consumption (weight of abrasive required/m²)

Cons:

  • Not recommended for stainless steel or aluminum

PRO-Grit Iron Silicate Data Sheet

ECO-Grit Recycled Glass

Made from 100% recycled glass, this abrasive is ideal for cleaning rust, paint or scale from surfaces such as stainless steel, wood, concrete or aluminum. In addition, it is an ecofriendly choice. 

Recycled glass blasting produces little dust and protects the surface’s appearance after treatment.

Pros:

  • Abrasive made entirely of recycled glass
  • Its non-ferrous chemical composition makes it ideal for blasting stainless steel, aluminum, concrete and other. 
  • High performance for wooden structures restoration

Cons:

  • Not recommended for cleaning highly corroded surfaces

ECO-Grit Recycled Glass Data Sheet

Glass Bead

Glass bead is an abrasive that allows to obtain a very smooth finish. It is mainly used on metals like stainless steel, but also on more fragile surfaces like wood. One of the many advantages of this type of finish is that it reduces the risk of corrosion of metals. Glass beads are available in several sizes for results that meet your needs. 

Pros:

  • Ideal for a satin finish

Cons:

  • Not recommended when an anchor profile is required

Glass Bead Data Sheet

Staurolite

Staurolite is a mineral sand used for preparation of a variety of surfaces. This abrasive works quickly and produces little dust. It is frequently used in factories to clean rust, paint and scale. 

Pros:

  • Natural mineral
  • Allows to reach highest surface cleanliness quickly

Cons:

  • Not recommended for jobs where a high anchor profile is required

Staurolite Data Sheet

Find what you need

Consult our complete section on abrasives for sandblast to see all our available products. Our quality abrasives meet all industry standards and are available in large quantities. 

If you have any questions about sandblast or a particular abrasive, contact our experts!

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