Sandblasting vs. Hydroblasting

Paint jobs don’t last long unless the surface is thoroughly cleaned of old paint, dirt and rust first. That’s where the discussion of sandblasting versus hydroblasting comes in. The method chosen depends on factors unique to sandblasting and hydroblasting. Here are six primary differences between the two, along with a few hydroblasting and sandblasting tips:

  • Materials: Hydroblasting is also called water blasting because it uses pressurized water to clean surfaces and open surface pores so the paint bonds better. Sandblasting uses sand by propelling it through steam (wet sandblasting) or pressurized air (dry sandblasting). It acts like sandpaper by smoothing surfaces and removing old paint and dirt before the paint is applied.
  • Surfaces: Both hydroblasting and sandblasting are good for multiple types of surfaces. Sandblasting is the most common method for metal surfaces, since it removes rust and leaves the surface smoother. Hydroblasting works well for more fragile surfaces when there is more concern about removing grease and dirt rather than rust, although sandblasting can accomplish the same goals.
  • Margin of error: If misused, hydroblasting can damage surfaces. When a do-it-yourselfer attempts it, surfaces often show scarring and erosion because they place too much pressure in one area. So, smooth and even application is key with hydroblasting. Sandblasting is likely to produce better results because it is easier to do and takes less time.
  • Mess: Hydroblasting uses no chemicals and leaves no residue or other mess to clean up once the job is done. Sandblasting leaves debris, and you will likely have to spend some time cleaning that up to stay in compliance. There are municipalities in Utah and elsewhere that require sandblasting permits because of the waste it leaves behind. You will need to take precautions, like using drop cloths and protective gear to avoid making a sandblasting job a hazard.
  • Time: Both methods are efficient and do not require much time to complete. Hydroblasting is often quicker, mainly because it is simpler to understand and does not leave a mess for you to clean up. But in the hands of a skilled professional, both hydroblasting and sandblasting will be efficient processes.
  • Ease of painting: Hydroblasting has a slight advantage here because the use of mere water leaves less residue for painting. You just need to let the surface dry and you are ready to go. Sandblasting also leaves a smooth paintable surface, but there is a risk of sandblasting material remaining on the surface and interfering with paint. That’s another risk you can avoid by delegating your sandblasting projects to skilled professionals.

It can be difficult to determine the best blasting surfaces for your projects, since the differences are fairly subtle. That’s where we come in.

Great Western Painting offers blasting surfaces for painting prep and other industrial projects. We can help you make an informed decision between sandblasting versus hydroblasting and give you hydroblasting and sandblasting tips so you are ready when we arrive to complete the job. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you soon!

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