Sandblasting is the act of propelling very fine bits of material at high-velocity to clean to etch a surface. It is called as such because sand used to be the most commonly used material until the discovery that the lung disease called silicosis is caused by the extended inhalation of particles or sand dust.
Due to this risk, sandblasting is carefully controlled using different methods such as using an alternate air supply, protective gears as well as proper ventilation. These methods are being considered in the determination of the cost of sandblasting.
The first sandblasting process was patented in the US in 1870.
Average Cost of Sandblasting
Just like any other restoration and renovation jobs, identifying the exact cost of professional sandblasting could be a challenge since different factors can influence the total price, such as the tools used, the urgency of the project, plus the safety measures taken to finish the job.
But to give you an idea, sandblasting prices range from $633 to $1,281, with the average customer spending about $939.
The national average cost of sandblasting is $3,000 for 1,500 square feet brick home using water and silica sand. Taken into consideration the lowest sandblasting cost of $1,500 using corn cobs in a log home with the same area, and the highest cost of sandblasting of metal and masonry with copper slag with clean up amounting to $5,000.
The average labor cost of sandblasting ranges from $40 to $65 per hour. Specialty services that include extra preparation, special abrasion materials, and job design cost over $75 per hour.
Where companies and professionals charge per square foot, the average cost of labor is $2 per square foot.
- Using dry sandblasting as opposed to wet abrasive blasting
Both methods will produce almost the same results, but dry blasting is tougher in terms of clean up, not to consider some adverse effect on the environment and health because of dust particles being airborne. Because of the cleanup cost involved, expect $1 more per square feet on top of the basic rate.
- Protective gear
As mentioned, sandblasting has an adverse effect on respiratory health. Therefore, protective gadgets, as well as the alternative air supply, can add up to the cost of the sandblasting project.
- Damage to your properties
Damage can also occur in some of your properties as a result of sandblasting. This cost may include repainting on some of the exteriors, replacing a part or an entire window after the completion of the project among others.
Sandblasting may be a simple and quick but some cities and counties may require permission for this type of project. Therefore, you may expect to shell out additional money on some paperwork so make sure it is included in the budget.
As a protection to your vicinity, your contractor can visit them and answer any questions they may have that usually revolves around the risks to their health and properties. They should also be advised to move their vehicles to other places and to cover their assets if they come within 30 feet to prevent dust particles from damaging them.
You should also take into consideration potential damage to some of their properties despite all the precautions.
Factors Affecting Cost of Sandblasting
Sandblasting prices are affected by several factors, namely;
- Materials used
Ironically, while it is called sandblasting, it no longer involves the uses of sand due to health concerns mentioned. Different materials are now being used as abrasion materials such as steel greet, copper slag, aluminum oxide particles, and crushed shell from walnuts or coconuts, among others.
Different cost per media used and type of jobs are shown below:
- Sand silica – used for masonry cleaning – $1.60 per pound
- Copper slag – used for masonry cleaning – $4.50 per pound
- Corn cubs – used for cleaning or stripping wood – $0.80 per pound
- Walnut hulls – used for cleaning or stripping wood – $2 per pound
- Soda – used for removing graffiti – $2 per pound
- Acrylic – used for soft and sensitive surfaces – $4 per pound
- Glass beads – used for burring or cleaning up edges – $1.60 per pound
- Aluminum Oxide – used for metal surfaces – $2.30 per pound
- Pumice – used for soft wood – $3 per pound
- Steel grit – used for preparation of surfaces for paint – $2 per pound
- Silicone carbide – used for fast stripping – can be reused to keep costs down – $4 per pound.
Pricing also varies depending on the area to be cleaned. Contrary to what is the prevailing norm, small jobs tend to cost much more expensive than large jobs. This is due to the setup time and cleaning cost. Larger jobs can afford to suck in the cost of setup and cleanup into the total cost of a job.
- Type of project
How much does sandblasting cost depends on the kind of project. A compressor is used to put tremendous force or pressure on the media to direct it at the area being blasted. Different level of pressure is used depending on the materials used and what type of material is being removed.
While the process is relatively straightforward, the prep work is labor-intensive. Different projects take different time to accomplish, and professional sandblasters charge different rate per hour depending on the scope and the level of difficulty.
- Wet Abrasive Blasting vs. Dry Blasting
For many years, only the dry sandblasting is being carried out, but due to health considerations, many companies and professionals offer wet abrasive sand blasting. The water being applied prevents the particles from being airborne and helps in making the cleaning process easier at the same time.
- Equipment used
Always remember that the quantity of material you use is dependent on the type of equipment used to spray it. It is always better to discuss it with your contractor beforehand.
Different Uses of Sandblasting
- Removes paint from stucco and other textured structures
- Rejuvenates concrete
- Brings back the original look of brick, pebbles or other rock designs
- Cleans metal parts such as car or truck frames, airplane bodies, or large mechanical equipment
- Strips old varnish off from old wooden cabinets
- Prepares certain surfaces for final coats, such as elastomeric paint coatings, hard metal surfaces, and clear slick coating materials that cannot be easily sanded.
- Cleans oil stains from a driveway
- Used in decorating glass through etching and carving
There have been several alternatives to sandblasting being offered in the industry such as hydro and dry ice blasting, water jetting, etc. but the quality of the results are not as good, the methods are not as convenient and not as cost-efficient as when using sandblasting.