If you need to clean something quickly and efficiently, sandblasting is one the best ways. While it's most often used in commercial applications, sandblasting has several uses around the home. This method of cleaning involves shooting small pellets or particles out of an air compressor at a very high speed. When these particles strike a surface, any surface debris such as old paint or rust is blasted away.
As effective as sandblasting is, there are many potential mistakes involved in the process. Sandblasting can be dangerous, and it can also damage many surfaces. Here, we'll take a closer look at this cleaning method and the mistakes most commonly made by homeowners (and by professionals working on residential projects). We'll also let you know how to avoid these dangerous and expensive mistakes.
Not Following Safety Precautions
Sandblasting involves tiny abrasive particles flying through the air at a very high rate of speed. Obviously, if these particles have the ability to take paint off, they can do some serious damage to skin and other surfaces. Following safety precautions is an absolute must when attempting DIY sandblasting.
Covering any exposed skin should be your first concern. While a set of full-body coveralls isn't something that most homeowners have lying around, they can be purchased at a surprisingly low cost at many paint-supply stores. These inexpensive coveralls are usually made of paper or very thin fabric.
Heavy gloves are another must when sandblasting. Choose a pair which extends as far up your arms as possible. Leather is your best option. Try to ensure that no skin is left exposed between the glove and your sleeve.
Protecting your face is your most important concern. At the very least, goggles must be worn in order to protect your eyes. However, a full face mask offers even more protection. A mask with a pull-down clear shield is appropriate. If you or a member of your household plays paintball on a regular basis, the masks worn for the sport offer ideal protection.
When using your sandblaster, be sure to stay out of range as much as possible. Different units use different amounts of air pressure, and this affects just how far particles will be blown back toward the user. When you rent or purchase your sandblaster, be sure to ask a knowledgeable salesperson how far back you need to stand in order to stay safe. If you can't find anybody who knows, contact the manufacturer.
Once you have suitable protection for yourself, be sure to keep pets and people away from the area in which you will be working. Let everybody in the household know to stay away until you've finished.
Using the Wrong Type of Particles
A surprisingly large number of particles are available for use during sandblasting. While some are only available to professionals, many can be purchased by DIY handymen. These particles have very different degrees of hardness, and are appropriate for very different types of jobs.
Traditional sand is the most obvious and most common choice for shot blasting machine. However, don't make the mistake of using just any sand. Any large pieces of debris in the sand, such as small rocks, can do a large amount of damage to the surface you're working on. They're also extremely dangerous when flying around at high speeds. If your home center doesn't carry sand specifically intended for sandblasting use, look for sand intended for use in children's' sand boxes. This sand is usually rather fine, and free of debris.