What are the Different Types of Sandblasting Supplies?

Susan Grindstaff

Sandblasting is an abrasive method of removing material, usually paint, by using the pressure of fine grains of sand traveling at high speed. The sandblasting supplies usually required include a sandblasting machine, an air compressor, and silica sand. In addition, protective clothing is also generally required. In using the wet method of abrasion, sandblasting supplies also include water and a hose. It is also a good idea to use plastic or canvas to cover items near the work area to protect them from the process.

A person sandblasting.
A person sandblasting.

The two most expensive and important sandblasting supplies include the sandblaster and the air compressor. Some sandblasters come as a complete unit, with the air compressor already built in, but the less expensive models typically do not. Both of these machines can usually be rented through tool equipment retailers. Rental price varies according to location and model, but renting is usually much less expensive than purchasing, especially if the equipment is only going to be used for one job.

Silica sand for sandblasting.
Silica sand for sandblasting.

Though silica sand is what is normally used for abrasion, other products can be used as well. Sometimes, where extreme abrasion is needed, particles of blast slag can be used instead of sand. This is more common in processes such as removing automotive paint, which typically has several coats of paint and sealer. In addition, silica sand can be purchased in varying grit sizes, suitable for different types of jobs.

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For indoor sandblasting projects, sandblasting supplies that pose fewer hazards and offer easier cleanup are normally used. Many experts suggest using crushed pieces of nutshells for sandblasting jobs that must be performed indoors. Indoor sandblasting is sometimes done to remove paint from interior ceilings and other hard to reach areas. Sandblasting any interior surface usually requires spreading plastic over furnishings, walls, and windows. In addition, people and pets not involved in the process should leave the premises until the work is complete.

Protective clothing should be worn while sandblasting, such as heavy gloves, overalls, and work boots. In addition, the face and eyes should be covered at all times. Some experts suggest surgical face masks worn under a protective shield that completely covers the face. Goggles work well to protect the eyes, but they leave other parts of the face exposed to the abrasive. This can sometimes cause injury, because of the high possibility of blow back.

Another requirement, especially if sandblasting is being done in a residential area, is a permit from local authorities. In some instances, sandblasting can pose environmental concerns, and some jurisdictions have regulations pertaining to how the job can be performed and what types of abrasives are allowed. In addition, if performing the job in a residential area, care should be taken that no damage occurs to any neighboring property.

Sandblasting can remove old paint.
Sandblasting can remove old paint.

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