Finishes of virtually all surfaces fail at some point. Whether the surface is concrete, metal or wood, resurfacing will almost certainly be required at some point. The most common method for preparing these surfaces for refinishing is abrasive blasting. In addition to simple wear or weathering, resurfacing may be desired as design trends change over time or if the use of a particular structure changes. Another more contemporary use for for this process is for the removal of graffiti. No matter what the reason for refinishing, a surface must be prepared prior to refinishing.
There are several techniques commonly utilized for blasting. Perhaps the best known method is commonly referred to as sand blasting. Various types of sand can be propelled at high speed to remove paint, rust or unwanted surface contaminants. Health concerns have made the use of sand more difficult, but sand is still commonly used. In recent years materials like beads and soda have become popular for specific purposes. Bead blasting is very common for removal of paint or corrosion from metals, and is a long-time favorite of classic vehicle restorers. A wide variety of surfaces can be successfully cleaned through the careful selection of the media to be blasted.
While most people associate the use of air pressure with any form of blasting, air is not the only method of propelling the abrasive materials. Industrial coatings and painting maintenance companies also commonly use wet abrasive techniques to minimize the levels of airborne contaminants. Wheel blasting is also commonly utilized, particularly when metal abrasives are being utilized.
Industrial projects like these can be extremely small or can be huge. While micro-abrasive blasting may be used to repair minute areas, even large ships utilize different methods of blasting to prepare the metal surfaces for new paint. There are actually few surfaces that can not be prepared for re-coating using various blasting techniques. Blasting media varies in hardness and size, allowing materials to be properly matched to the surface needing re-coating.
In all abrasive blasting, safety issues are paramount. At one point, sand blasting was commonly done with no protective gear. Lung damage commonly occurred as a result of unprotected exposure to the airborne materials. It is critically important for operators of any kind of blasting equipment to be fully aware of the safety issues involved with the material and equipment being utilized. Follow all directions for the use of equipment and the proper disposal of waste.