Since its creation in 1870, sandblasting has grown to become the most effective way of restoring or cleaning the surface of wood, stone, car panels, and even boats.
The process of sandblasting occurs when a high-pressure propulsion stream of abrasive material is directed towards a surface to remove debris, graffiti, or mold.
This surface preparation technique aims to declutter and smooth rough surfaces with the least amount of chemicals or elbow grease. Due to the amount of pressure propelling toward the surface, it’s crucial to know which sandblasting media works nest for your purpose.
Check out this sandblasting media guide for beginners that will help you determine the specific abrasive media that will be best suited for your mobile sandblasting project.
Wet Blasting vs Dry Blasting
Dry Blasting uses high-pressure air and abrasive media often made of sand, steel grit, aluminum oxide, or silicon carbide.
According to an emission report from the EPA, silica sand is rarely used anymore for restoration operations due to concerns over Silicosis, a lung disease caused by respiratory exposure to dust that contains silica.
After a brief ban of sandblasting during the 1950s, Norman Ashworth created an advantageous solution, the first vapor abrasive blaster. Wet blasting media includes sand, glass beads, or other material and often features a smoother finish.
Aluminum Oxide: When it comes to etching your way through old layers of paint and dirt, aluminum oxide is the choice. Aluminum oxide’s ability to blast through layers of glass, granite, and steel makes it prime for any surface preparations that will be painted later on.
Glass Beads: If the project you’re working on requires a brighter, softer finish, glass beads are highly recommended because of their round sphere shape.
Crushed Glass: Crushed glass is the most eco-friendly option of abrasive material. Made from 100% recycled glass product, this sandblasting media is suitable for work on concrete surfaces.
Plastic: If you’re looking to refinish the car, look no further than plastic. Because of its soft texture, plastic abrasive material leaves no anchor pattern making it the perfect sandblasting media for beginners working on cars, aviation vehicles, and watercraft.
Walnut Shells: Walnut shells rank in the higher registry of hard sandblasting media yet it has the same effect as plastic abrasive. Because walnut shells are an organic material they don’t leave any anchor patterns, which makes them useful for everything from jewelry and antique restoration to cars and aviation panels.
Silicon Carbide: For more challenging projects, silicon carbide is required. Often used for cutting stones and etching glass, silicon carbide is one of the most aggressive sandblasting media.
Corn Cob: Another natural option of sandblasting media. The abrasive material is made by crushing the thick arboraceous inner rings of a corn cob. Corn cob abrasive material is softer than the other natural abrasives on the list. Due to its softness corn cob, abrasive material is typically used for cleaning jewelry and removing graffiti from surfaces.
Steel Grit: Because of its ability to be continuously recycled, steel grit is the perfect all-round abrasive material to perform within any budgets. Steel Grit is the second most commonly used sandblasting media according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Your Next Project?
Whether you have to determine the surface material to repaint your house or select a renovation contractor for an office facelift, being able to properly identify the type of surface you’re working with and the desired characteristic is key when selecting sandblasting media.
When it comes to mobile sandblasting projects, this sandblasting media beginner’s guide is the most resourceful way to start your next restoration or surface preparation job.