The short answer is yes, sandblasting is an effective method for removing rust. However, there are several things to remember when sandblasting to remove rust.
The purpose of sandblasting is to remove rust that has formed on the surface of a metal area or other surface. The rust is broken down by the sand and the surface underneath is revealed. Rust that has caused corrosion deep into the surface has basically ruined that part of the structure, and sandblasting would simply reveal the trouble areas.
Sandblasting got its name from the use of sand as the original material used. But sand tends to contain unsafe amounts of silica, which can cause serious health issues and is less commonly used for sandblasting. Today, abrasive materials includes crushed glass, steel grit, nickel slag, and various plastics.
Always follow the directions laid out in your equipment’s manual. Sandblasting equipment is highly specialized and dangerous if used incorrectly.
- Step 1 – Prepare the work area. Small objects should be sandblasted in a blasting cabinet. Objects that don’t fit in the cabinet need a tarp secured around the area to collect the used abrasive material, which can be reused.
- Step 2 – Prep the blaster. Load the blaster with abrasive material and close all valves to prevent spilling.
- Step 3 – Protect yourself. Skin, eyes, and airways should be covered with long clothing and gloves, a dust hood with protective lenses, and a respirator.
- Step 4 – Begin blasting. Vents may be covered with breathable material to make collecting dust for disposal simpler.
Using the blaster
Once again, it is always a good idea to follow your machine’s instructions.
- Step 1 – Turn on the blaster. The tool is most effective when using with short side-to-side strokes angled down and moving from top to bottom.
- Step 2 – Dispose of the material used to catch dust on the cabinet’s vents. Use your shop’s vacuum to collects the stray material and dust. The tarp you laid out in prep will help in collecting a large amount of used material.
- Step 3 – Protect the blasted surface. Vacuum or otherwise remove debris from the surface you just blasted. Rust can return quickly if the area is not coated with a protective finish.
If done correct, sandblasting is an effective cleaning method, but it can be damaging if not done correctly. If you want to consult a professional regarding rust or other stains on your building’s surfaces, contact us today for a consultation.