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What Is Blast Cleaning?

What Is Blast Cleaning?

Blast Cleaning involves propelling a high-pressure stream of abrasive material against a surface; used to effectively smooth, roughen, shape, or remove surface contaminants. Pressurised liquids, air, or a centrifugal wheel are generally used as the propellant.

Previously known as Sandblasting or Media Blasting, this highly effective process is frequently utilised for cleaning building facades. There are several different media used for the process, such as Dry Ice, Grit, Water and Soda blasting.

The choice of technique will be dictated by:

  • The nature of the substrate or material to be ‘blasted’ or cleaned
  • The nature of the surface contamination
  • Any environmental considerations
  • The cost and speed of application

Applications of Blast Cleaning

Although blast cleaning apparatus can be hired, entrusting this task to a professional ensures seamless results. Rainbow Restoration boasts extensive expertise in delivering blast cleaning services for various purposes, including graffiti removal, stone & masonry cleaning, soot removal after fires (both internal and external), and the cleaning of building facades, driveways, car parks, and public areas.

Graffitti removal with blast cleaning Results of Blast cleaning

Why blast cleaning is a highly skilled task

The two main variants of blast cleaning refer to the type of particle that is “blasted” and the pressure at which this is done.

  • Pressure: Blast cleaning is a specialist commercial cleaning task because the pressure used has to be adjusted to ensure that only the desired layers of material are removed. If the surface that is to be cleaned or treated is not uniform, the pressure may also need to be adjusted as the work is carried out.
  • Particle size and type: grit, water, co2 etc. Each media used has cleaning up implications following application, some more serious than others.

Materials used in blast cleaning

  • Grit is the most traditional substrate used for blast cleaning. Standard grit is suitable for cleaning heavily corroded steel, marine growth and cement build-up.
    It is also used as a base treatment before metal particles are employed.
  • Finer grits will give a more efficient clean in terms of time and amount of substrate required and would typically be used on surfaces with a special finish such as stainless steel or aluminium.
  • Coarser grits, containing more stone particles, are used to remove thick layers of grime and oil from stone surfaces to create an authentic aged effect on older stone once cleaned.
  • Calcium Carbonate is normally used either to strip paint from aluminium surfaces or (at low pressure) to remove grime from delicate surfaces such as fabric or wood, including interior beams. This is known as soda blasting.
  • Dry Ice is becoming an increasingly popular choice because it evaporates upon contact with the surface and is therefore less disruptive to the environment. It also releases no harmful contaminants into the environment, and generally it can be used more readily in built up areas or in a densely populated area.
    It produces a sudden cooling effect on the surface which can, for example, be used to separate a coat of resin from metal. Dry Ice Blasting eliminates the need for disassembly and relocation, solvents, hand-scrubbing, equipment damage and drying time.
  • Specialist Materials – There are also some more unusual substances that can be used for particular processes to decarbonise or harden surfaces, or to make them non-slip.

Rainbow Restoration’s business provides a network of more than 50 multi-personnel, multi-vehicle franchises, with a wide portfolio of blast cleaning techniques available for all types of applications. Your local Rainbow branch will be able to advise the most suitable in any given situation.

Our specialist cleaning services, like blast cleaning, are available to both domestic and commercial clients. They are used by the UK’s top insurance companies and all major loss adjusters as well as many commercial organisations.

For more information or to enquire about our services, please use our contact form or call our national helpline on 01623422488.

Updated: 20/07/23

Published: 20 Jul 2023