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Selecting the Ideal Blasting Media for Your Restoration Project

Looking to restore your wood, brick, concrete, stone, glass or metal surface?

 

Media blasting is an excellent choice to restore surfaces that have been damaged due to rust, calcium deposits, fungus and mildew, graffiti, or fire and smoke. It’s a great way to strip paint or rust from car parts in no time at all. Media blasting uses pressurized air to blast tiny pieces of material (media) out of a nozzle at a target surface.

 

Choosing the right blasting media for your restoration project is an extremely important decision since the wrong medium can severely damage the surface you’re working on. The rule of thumb for media blasting is to use the gentlest abrasive possible with the lowest pressure necessary to get the job done delivering a smooth even finish on your target material.

 

When choosing your blasting media consider its:

  • Chemical composition,
  • Density,
  • Shape,
  • Particle size, and
  • Impact resistance.

Natural Media

When in doubt, it’s best to start with a gentle blasting media and work your way up to something more powerful. Pumice, corn cob grit, or walnut shells are cheap, environment-friendly, one-time use mediums. Any of these natural media are effective at cleaning fragile material.

 

Corn cob grit is the softest of the naturally occurring abrasives making it an ideal choice for cleaning and burnishing applications. Commonly used for jewelry, cutlery, engine parts, fiberglass and the removal of graffiti or debris from wood, brick or stone.

 

Aluminum Oxide

Aluminum Oxide is composed from small grains that have a block-like shape with hard angular edges. These long-lasting, sharp, cutting edges are very efficient at penetrating work pieces such as metals, glass, ceramic, marble, granite or other stone surfaces. It is a good media for fast etching and profiling jobs.

 

Aluminum Oxide is also a great material for stripping rust off from metals with minimal dust atmosphere. But because it can leave a coarse finish, it is not the best choice for work on automobiles and other vehicles.

 

Glass or Plastic Beads

One of the most versatile blast media available are glass beads. These small spheres of uniform size and hardness can remove substances from any base surface delivering a soft, smooth satin type finish with minimal stress.  It is well suited for stainless steel applications.

 

Glass beads can also be reused for up to 100 more blasting applications making them a very cost-effective choice.

 

Safe, clean and eco-friendly, bead blast is the most effective choice to remove fungus, and stubborn calcium and mineral deposits from swimming pool tiles. It also does a great job of removing old paint from automobiles.

 

Acrylic, polyester, melamine or urea plastic beads are also a great alternative for automotive media blasting, each offering varying degrees of hardness and aggression.

 

Silicon Carbide

A real workhorse, silicon carbide can tackle almost any rough sandblasting job successfully within a shorter blast time. It is the hardest abrasive blasting media available.

 

This very hard and sharp material is a good choice for difficult cleaning applications and is considerably cheaper than other blasting media. Silicon carbide is great for fast cutting applications and deep etching on stone, glass and other hard surfaces.

 

Steel Grit or Steel Shot

If you are looking for a special finish, the angular shape of steel grit makes it perfect for removing rust and paint from steel surfaces. Steel grit is commonly used in airless applications since the rounded steel shots produce limited dust.

 

Steel abrasive is a cost-effective media blasting alternative used on a variety of surfaces to effectively remove contaminants, texture a surface for proper adherence of a final coating, or in peening (hardening) applications. 

 

Call in the Experts!

The media blasting experts at SignLite have been serving the Waterloo area for over 40 years.

 

For a free quote on your restoration project, get in touch with us today!

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Media Blasting Vs Chemical Stripping

What is the best way to remove an existing finish? Are you cleaning or stripping concrete, wood or metal finishes?

 

The method you use will depend on the material you are stripping.

 

What is Media Blasting?

Media blasting is a surface restoration method that does a quick job of removing most paints and stains, rust, scale or gum from hard surfaces. It incorporates a blasting unit that projects compressed air with abrasive material such as walnut shells, corncob grit, sharp metal media, dry ice pellets or crushed glass at high speeds onto the surface.

 

The advantages of this system are that it is fast, cost-effective, and environmentally safe. Since it uses no hazardous chemicals it can be used safely in urban areas. There is little chance of water contamination since blasting media consists of organic materials or crushed glass. It does not change the PH balance in water or soil making it a 100% environmentally-friendly.


Our choice of blasting media at SignLITE is crushed glass. This recycled material is one of the most versatile general-purpose abrasives, gently removing layers of paint, grease, graffiti or rust without causing surface damage.

 

Though it is safe, media blasting is not a DIY project. Talk to an expert before you pick up a blasting gun yourself!

 

What is Chemical Stripping?

Chemical stripping incorporates chemical strippers to dissolve and remove paint, sealants, rust and grease. While the end result can be a beautiful smooth finish, it is messy, and can take a while. Most chemical strippers come in gel form, allowing them to stay in place and dry slowly. This is particularly useful for wood surfaces that include intricate carvings.

 

Apart from protective clothing, no special equipment is needed. While it may be user-friendly chemical stripping is not so kind to the environment. Most common chemical strippers are solvent-based and typically contain methylene chloride. Methylene chloride is a strong oxidizer, flammable and very reactive. Rubber gloves, long sleeves, mask and respirators need to be worn. Used clothing items, rags and any residue need to be safely discarded.

 

However, biochemical strippers based on oils from natural materials such soybeans, pinesap, or citrus trees are growing in popularity. Cleanup is with water and leaves a nice citrus smell. Newer blends of solvents keep safety in mind and will break down paints and resins leaving a clean dry finish with the no final rinse required.

 

There are many residential and commercial surface restoration applications for media blasting or chemical stripping such as:

 

Concrete, Brick or Stone

  • Cleaning stamped concrete driveways
  • Concrete floors
  • Exterior or interior brick or stone walls, or patios
  • Fire, smoke, water or mould restoration
  • Cleaning graffiti, gum & grease
  • Pole lights and pylon signs

Metals

  • Auto bodies
  • Marine
  • Heavy industrial, vehicles and machinery
  • Small industrial – brass, bronze, copper and aluminum

 

Wood Finishes

  • Log home restoration
  • Wood furniture or wooden structures
  • Historical buildings
  • Boat hulls

Get a Quote

Whether your project is large or small, it always a good idea to get a quote and even a test with before and after photos. At Sign LITE our media blasting services are the solution for environmentally safe and cost effective surface restoration.

 

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Media Blasting Glossary: Terminology You Should Know

 

The term ‘media blasting’ encompasses a diverse range of methods and technologies. Although we here at Sign LITE specialize in on-site property restoration, people also use various forms of media blasting for metal finishing, vehicle restoration and more! Here’s a quick summary of the media blasting terminology you’ll encounter when it comes to our area of expertise.

 

Blasting Media

Blasting media, also known as the abrasive or grit, is the material used in the media blasting process. Media comes in many kinds of materials shapes and sizes, and choice of media can have a significant impact on the results.

 

Media is often categorized according to its shape, size, hardness and density. Organic materials like walnut shells and corncob are great for fragile surfaces like hardwood; sharp metal media like aluminium oxide is often used for heavy-duty cleaning and etching; smooth, rounded media like sheet shot is ideal for peening metal.

 

Recycled crushed glass is our media of choice since it delivers an even, clean finish and is suitable for treating a range of surface materials. Crushed glass is angular but not sharp, and it produces minimal dust. This material is also inert and non-toxic.

 

Blasting Unit

The blasting unit is the equipment used by an operator to project compressed air and media onto a surface. The set-up varies across industries and applications. For parts finishing and equipment restoration, operators often used fixed blasting units connected to a cabinet designed to contain dust.

 

Since we restore surfaces on-site, Sign LITE uses a smaller, self-contained media blasting unit that can reach locations up to 200 feet away from its power source. A portable unit consists of a handheld apparatus or ‘gun’ connected to a compressor, a hopper that feeds blasting media, and a power source. The operator can adjust the flow of air and media.

 

Interior Media Blasting

Interior media blasting is the process of cleaning an interior surface, such as concrete floors, brick walls or metal fixtures, using media blasting. In the hands of a trained professional, certain blasting methods can be used indoors safely.

 

Wet blasting using crushed glass media is ideal for interior media blasting, as it produces minimal dust and is non-toxic. 

 

Media Blasting

Media blasting, also known as abrasive blasting, is a process by which a material is projected at high speeds onto a surface. The material (media) is propelled by the force of compressed air, water, or a combination of the two. It is cost-effective and environmentally safe, employing recyclable materials and no hazardous chemicals.

 

We use media blasting to means to remove rust, scale, paint, graffiti, gum, or other damage or deterioration from hard surfaces. Different types of media are suitable for different jobs – we’ve found crushed glass media ideal for cleaning pole lights, pylon signs, brick, concrete and many steel surfaces.

 

Watch the media blasting process in action:

 

 

Sandblasting

Sandblasting refers to media blasting using actual sand as the blasting media. Although the terms ‘sandblasting’ and ‘media blasting’ are sometimes used interchangeably, it’s important to recognize the differences between the various methods. Sandblasting poses greater occupational and environmental hazards because it disperses silica; today, most contractors have moved towards safer alternatives like crushed glass as the medium.

 

Wet Blasting

Also known as hydro blasting, wet blasting is a media blasting method that produces less dust. Although it is not truly ‘dustless’, wet blasting significantly reduces the amount of dust by combining the media with water (either by moistening the media prior to blasting or dispersing water through the blasting nozzle).

 

Ask a Media Blasting Expert

Got a surface in need of a good clean? Contact the Sign LITE team for more information on outdoor and interior media blasting.

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5 Cost-Saving Parking Lot Maintenance Tips

Maintenance matters, even when it comes to your property’s parking lot. Curb appeal is part of it, of course, but that’s not all. Potholes, puddles, crumbling pavement and dark corners can raise a host of safety issues that leave your business open to liability.

 

Parking Lot Maintenance

 

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few cost-saving tips that’ll help you keep your parking lot in impeccable shape.

 

1. Sweep it Clean

From the customer’s view, the state of the lot speaks volumes about your overall management. A tidy lot with good maintenance and beautiful landscaping shows you aim to please from the moment they step onto your property.

 

Start with a clean sweep, clearing leaves, dirt and debris on a regular basis. Not only does this make the property look neat and tidy, but it also helps you spot problem areas like cracks and oil stains. Next, get rid of crumbling parking curbs and barriers before they become a safety hazard. Lawn care is just as important – the parking lot will only look as clean as the green space that surrounds it.

 

2. Care for the Tarmac

Asphalt takes a beating here in Southwestern Ontario. It bears the brunt of UV rays, heavy rain, and snow, not to mention our love of 2-ton pickup trucks.

 

Over time, the combined forces of water, oxidation and fluctuating temperatures cause parking lot surfaces to break down. What starts as a small crack in the pavement will gradually bloom into migrating cracks, degrade the asphalt sub-base and allow potholes to form.

 

It pays to have these cracks filled and sealed before they have a chance to expand. Patching up holes on an annual basis is far cheaper than having to replace major portions of the pavement down the line!

 

3. Upgrade to LEDs

How many people does it take to change a lightbulb? When you’re talking overhead lighting, you might need more than your usual parking lot maintenance crew. The cost of replacing a burnt-out parking lot light is often greater than you would expect, especially if you have to hire outside help.

 

That’s the beauty of LED lights. Along with providing better visibility and using less electricity than halogen bulbs, LED lights have a much longer lifespan. They’re also impressively durable and weather-resistant, performing just as well in the dead of winter as they do in warmer months.

 

Depending on your existing parking lot light fixtures, upgrading to LED parking lot lighting could involve a straightforward retrofit or a more extensive installation. In either case, the fact that LED lighting requires less ongoing maintenance and uses less energy means fast payback.

 

4. Keep Your Lights Clean

While you’re contemplating an LED parking lot lighting upgrade, ask yourself: when was the last time someone went up to clean those fixtures?

 

Outdoor lighting accumulates mountains of dirt, grime, and insects. The dirtier they are, the less light they provide. By some estimates, cleaning your lamps can make them 20-30% brighter! That’s up to 30% more light for the same energy cost.

 

5. Eliminate Graffiti Fast

When a property sits unoccupied, it becomes a magnet for graffiti. Why? Because vandals know no one’s watching. How? They see that the last person’s graffiti hasn’t been touched.

 

Vandalism is contagious, and that’s why it’s crucial to stay on top of it. When someone tags your property, have someone remove that graffiti as quickly as you can. If it reoccurs, take steps to make your parking lot less appealing to potential vandals.

 

Be Vigilant

Just about every parking lot maintenance issue has one thing in common: the sooner you notice it, the easier it is to fix.

 

Potholes don’t happen overnight – a crack in the asphalt is much easier to repair than a full-blown hole. Graffiti does happen overnight, but if you scrub it right away, you’re less likely to find more graffiti the next day.

 

Preventative maintenance is key. Ensure that someone on staff inspects the lot from end-to-end on a regular basis, looking for small cracks, oil stains, standing water, graffiti, and dead lights.

 

Contact Sign LITE to tackle any preventative maintenance needs and keep your parking lot well cared for.

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3 Ways to Remove Paint, Oil Stains and Tire Marks from Concrete Floors

Concrete is tough, but it’s also porous. Without a protective topcoat like epoxy, a concrete floor will readily absorb paint, oil and other liquids several millimetres deep into its surface. Careless driving on a concrete surface can also result in tough-to-remove tire marks.

 

The good news is, it is possible to get most stains out of a concrete floor if you take the right approach.

 

remove stains from concrete flooring

 

There are several ways to go about removing paint, oil and tire marks from a concrete floor. For smaller stains, you can usually start with the low-tech approach and step it up if necessary; for tough jobs, you might want to bring out the blasting guns from the beginning.

 

Removing Paint from a Concrete Floor

The fresher the paint, the easier it is to remove. But even a long-hardened stain doesn’t have to be there for good. With the right tools and techniques, it is possible to remove paint from concrete’s porous surface.

 

Method 1: Media Blasting

Contrary to popular belief, it is safe to use a blasting gun indoors with proper choice of techniques and equipment and blasting media. Media blasting can completely remove large paint stains from a shop, garage or factory floor without damaging the underlying concrete. Though the process does leave behind some dust and residue, the floor underneath is a clean slate for sealing or re-painting.

 

Method 2: Floor Grinder

A floor grinder with a diamond grinding cup wheel can effectively scrape off the entire top layer of a concrete floor, including paint stains. For small stains, a hand-held angle grinder can also do the job. However, this method requires that you re-finish the area with fresh cement, as it will leave behind a rugged surface that will quickly accumulate dirt and debris.

 

Method 3: Paint Remover

Paint remover (or paint stripper) is a compound designed to remove paint and clean the underlying surface. Although some manufacturers have introduced non-toxic paint removers (such as soy-based gel products), most products on the market contain harsh chemicals. You should only use a chemical paint remover in a well-ventilated area while wearing safety glasses, rubber gloves and rubber boots.

 

Removing paint from a concrete floor using paint stripper is a surprisingly arduous process (you cannot simply pour it on and wait.) As a result, this method is best used for paint stains with a small surface area.

 

The basic process:

  1. Thoroughly clean the area with soap and water to remove any loose dust or debris. For stubborn dirt, use a stronger cleaner like trisodium phosphate (TSP).
  2. Remove any loose paint with a wire brush or putty knife and sweep it away from the area.
  3. Apply the paint remover. The correct type of remover depends on the type of paint in question; when in doubt, use an oil paint stripper.
  4. Let the remover to work its way into the concrete floor. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on how long to wait.
  5. Wearing protective gloves, scrub the stain with a wire brush or putty knife to remove the loosened paint.

Depending on the depth of the stain, this process may have to be repeated two to three times in order to completely remove the paint from your concrete surface.

 

Removing Oil Stains from a Concrete Floor

Forgot to put down a catch pan during your last oil change? It happens, and it’s not pretty. Oil is among the most stubborn stains to remove from concrete, but it’s important to do, because that oil can eventually seep back to the surface and ruin your next paint or sealing job.

 

Method 1: Detergent

If you notice the oil stain while it’s new, it may be possible to remove through the application of a strong detergent, warm water, a stiff brush and lots of elbow grease. Start by blotting the stain with a rag or paper towel to absorb loose oil (dab, don’t rub, to avoid spreading it). Next, apply a detergent and scrub the stain with a brush soaked in warm water. 

 

Method 2: Absorbent Material (Poultice)

A poultice is an absorptive material (like sawdust or kitty litter) saturated in a solvent (like acetone, xylene or lacquer thinner) that is placed on the concrete surface and covered in plastic wrap. Through the process of osmosis, the concoction breaks down the spilled oil and ‘pulls’ it out of the floor. It’s time-consuming, but it works, especially for small, fresh stains that haven’t had time to set.

 

Method 3: Media Blasting

For serious oil stains that have stood the test of time, media blasting is your best bet for removal. A blasting system uses pressured air (and water, in the case of wet blasting) to propel an abrasive material at the floor and strip off surface-level stains. Media blasting is gentle on the underlying concrete surface (which, though durable, is porous and easily scratched), making it ideal for property users who plan to paint or refinish the floor afterward.

 

Removing Tire Marks from a Concrete Floor

A driver came in fast and didn’t quite stick the landing; now, you’re stuck with tire marks on the floor. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be there for good. Removing tire marks from concrete is a simple task.

 

Method 1: Pressure Washing

If the concrete floor is rated for pressure of 4000 psi, pressuring washing is an option for removing rubber markings. Set the water to a pressure of 3000 psi and a temperature high enough to produce steam.

 

Method 2: Media Blasting

Passing over the floor with a blasting gun can take the tire marks right off. Since the rubber will not have penetrated the concrete as deeply as paint or oil, it should take only a light touch with a fine blasting media to remove tire marks from the floor.

 

Method 3: Degreaser

Soak the tire marks in an industrial-strength degreaser (available at most hardware or auto supply stores). After 10 minutes of soaking, scrub using a stiff-bristled brush. Clean the loosened rubber with a sponge and warm water. Be sure to let the area dry completely before parking on it.

 

Restoring Industrial Concrete Floors

Media blasting is an effective tool for restoring stained concrete floors to their original glory, but like any tool, it’s most effective in the hands of a professional. The experts at Sign LITE are happy to help when it comes to removing paint, oil or rubber from your concrete floor. Get in touch to learn more about our industrial media blasting services in Southwestern Ontario.

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3 Things All Buyers Look for in Commercial Property

What’s the number one thing buyers look for in commercial real estate?

 

Many would say the answer is location. There’s no denying that a property’s location is foremost in the minds of commercial buyers.

 

However, there’s more to location than a property’s address. Prospects will also ask questions like:

  • What is the cost of utilities and upkeep?
  • Does it look attractive and welcoming (and if not, what will it cost to bring it up to par)?
  • Is the property safe and secure?
  • Are there major repairs, renovations or replacements on the horizon?
  • Is the space accessible to our clients and customers?

Things buyers look for

 

With that in mind, here are a few key areas of improvement to focus on when it comes to preparing a commercial property for sale.

 

1. Exterior Condition of the Building(s)

When people visit the same location every day, they tend to turn a blind eye to its minor imperfections – things like graffiti, chipped paint, or a burned-out light.

 

It’s an effect called habituation. We stop noticing things we see or hear many times.

 

However, people who see the property for the very first time are bound to notice its flaws, especially those who are scrutinizing it as a prospective buyer. Even minor faults could raise questions about the costs of restoration.

 

Is it feasible to remove that graffiti, or will we have to paint over it?

 

What will it cost to strip and restore that rusted railing?

 

If the owner hasn’t bothered to replace a light, what does it say about their care for the rest of the property?

 

As a seller or manager preparing a commercial property for sale, you should endeavour to view the condition of the property with fresh eyes. Think of the impression it makes on someone seeing it for the first time.

 

Making a small investment in exterior repairs and restoration can go a long way when it comes to winning over buyers.

 

2. Cost of Upkeep

Energy expenses can be substantial here in Southwestern Ontario, even for small businesses.

 

Prospective commercial property buyers pay close attention to the efficiency and overall condition of any appliances, lighting, and other building systems that come with it. It counts as a strike against the property when the equipment is outdated or inefficient.

 

On the other hand, energy-efficient appliances and lighting can be a strong selling point.

Upgrading a property’s heating, cooling, and lighting systems can significantly increase its value and reduce risk in the eyes of a buyer.

 

Luckily, there are many rebates and programs in Ontario designed to help businesses become more efficient. For example, the Retrofit Program can provide funding for LED lighting retrofits and control systems.

 

3. Parking

It is clear why parking amenities are so important to commercial buyers.

 

Although alternative transportation is gaining in popularity, most of us still get around in our own vehicles. Outside the City of Toronto, over 80% of the population of Ontario commutes by car or truck.

 

It’s not enough simply to have adequate space for customers, clients and employees to park; the parking space must also be safe. Not only is a poorly-lit parking lot uninviting, but it could easily become a liability issue for the property owner.

 

That’s one of the last things you want prospective buyers to contemplate when they see your property.

 

Having a clean, brightly-lit parking area is a big point in favour of any commercial property.

 

Need Help Preparing Commercial Property for Sale?

SignLITE supports property owners and property managers on commercial restoration projects across Southwestern Ontario. Our services include professional graffiti removal, commercial sign repairs and restoration, LED lighting, other outdoor commercial and industrial lighting, and interior and exterior media blasting.

 

Contact us to get your commercial property in shape in sell.

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What is Interior Media Blasting?

Ever wished you could clean up an interior wall the way people blast away graffiti outdoors? Good news: interior media blasting not only possible but highly effective and affordable.

 

We know what you might be thinking. What is interior media blasting? Is it safe to media blast indoors? Doesn’t it make a mess?

 

If you haven’t seen the results first-hand, these questions are understandable. Most people are only familiar with water-blasting (and media blasting in general) when it comes to outdoor fixtures like walls, fences, and concrete slabs.

 

Indoor media blasting

 

Interior media blasting isn’t as well-known as its outdoor counterpart, but it’s just as effective and increasingly popular for commercial and industrial properties.

 

Here’s what interior media blasting and water-blasting indoors is all about.

 

What is Indoor or Interior Media Blasting?

Media blasting refers to the process of cleaning a surface by blasting it with pressurized air and a fine, abrasive material (sometimes, water is added to the mix as well). The force of the air/water and the abrasiveness of the blasting media strips the surface of paint, rust, dirt, and other imperfections — all while leaving the original base intact.

 

Blasting is effective in restoring the surface of concrete, stone, brick, and metal surfaces, along with certain woods and hard plastics. Some of the most common uses for media blasting include graffiti removal, paint stripping, and rust removal.

 

Interior media blasting is just as it sounds: using blasting equipment to clean surfaces inside a building. Its primary applications are in commercial and industrial property restoration. Property owners and managers choose interior blasting when there is a need to clear away old paint, rust, oil, and other blemishes from walls, flooring and large fixtures in preparation for sale or restoration.

 

Is it Safe to Media Blast Indoors?

Although not as common as outdoor blasting, it is safe for a trained professional to use media blasting equipment indoors. However, not all blasting methods are intended for indoor use, so it’s important to choose the correct equipment and blasting media.

 

For interior media blasting in Southwestern Ontario, we use a small, portable wet abrasive blasting system with crushed glass media. Having employed these methods for years, we are confident that this form of media blasting is safe for industrial and commercial use.

  • Water-blasting, which combines blasting media and water, produces little to no dust.
  • Crushed glass media is completely inert, non-hazardous, and non-toxic. It poses no danger to people or animals.
  • Crushed glass media is not sharp and does not leave behind residue on the surface.

In short, it is safe to media blast indoors using the right equipment in the hands of a trained professional.

 

Is Interior Media Blasting Messy?

We won’t lead you to believe that water-blasting is entirely mess-free, but we do believe it’s better than the alternative. Here’s why.

 

Interior media blasting is a fast, effective way to clean brick, concrete, metal, and other surfaces. It does require some clean-up since it’s necessary to sweep what remains of the stripped material (paint, rust, etc.).

 

However, this is safer and less time-consuming than alternatives such as chemical strippers or power sanders. And considering the affordability of media blasting, we find many property owners and property managers prefer the blast-and-sweep approach.

 

Applications of Interior Media Blasting

Interior media blasting can remove surface finishes and imperfections from walls, flooring, and fixtures made of:

  • Concrete
  • Asphalt
  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Metal
  • Steel
  • Aluminum

Our clients for interior media blasting include commercial and industrial property owners, realtors preparing properties for sale, restoration companies, and property management companies. Some of the possible applications include:

  • Restoring interior brick or stone walls or fireplaces
  • Removing superficial soot and smoke damage
  • Taking oil stains off concrete floors
  • Stripping old paint from interior walls
  • Removing rust, grease and grime to prepare metal fixtures for restoration

Interior Media Blasting in Southwestern Ontario

If you need to strip a surface clean, SignLITE is happy to help. Contact us or call us toll-free at 1-877-884-9950.

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Why We Used Crushed Glass for Media Blasting

One of our team’s specialties is media blasting: a fast graffiti and rust removal method that involves spraying the surface with a mixture of water and abrasive material. Our choice of abrasive (or ‘blasting media’) at SignLITE is recycled glass. Why? Allow us to explain the many benefits of crushed glass media blasting for graffiti removal and rust removal.

 

 

What is Crushed Glass Media Blasting?

Media blasting is widely used as a way to clean and restore walls, fences, decks, and other exterior surfaces. It is also popular among car enthusiasts as a way to strip paint and rust from the body of a vehicle for restoration. At SignLITE, we primarily use portable media blasting equipment to rescue commercial properties from beneath layers of paint, grease, graffiti, and rust.

 

Our system is what’s referred to as wet abrasive blasting or hydroblasting machine: it uses compressed air to propel a mix of water and crushed glass against the surface of the object to be cleaned. The glass strips the surface, while the addition of water cuts down on dust (a benefit we’ll say more on below).

 

Why crushed glass? In short, crushed glass media blasting is fast, gentle, safe, sustainable, and mess-free. Each of these benefits are worth exploring in more detail.

 

Fast Graffiti and Rust Removal

Time is money. When a business owner needs a wall clear of graffiti, or a deck ready for staining, they want it done fast. As a general-purpose abrasive, no other material matches the effectiveness of crushed glass. It cuts through rust, paint, and oil fast, covering a lot of ground in minimal time.

 

For proof, check out the before and after photos our team has snapped at some of our previous jobs: the results are impressive.

 

No Surface Damage

Crushed glass media blasting is tough on blight, but gentle on the underlying surface. In addition to tough rust and graffiti removal jobs, it is a suitable for restoring the original appearance of sensitive surfaces like wood, concrete, stainless steel, and fibreglass.

 

With crushed glass, property owners don’t have to worry about expensive touch-ups or extra restoration work after the job is done.

 

No Mess

The advantage of hydroblasting (wet blasting) is that it all but eliminates dust from the equation. Unlike alternatives like sodablasting, which leaves a messy residue behind on the surface, hydroblasting with crushed blast leaves no mess. That means no extra clean-up work for property owners to deal with.

 

Safety

Since there’s no dust or chemicals involved, this method of graffiti and rust removal is safe to use around people and animals. Business owners will be relieved to know they won’t have to shut down for the day in order for us to do our job.

 

Sustainable and Environmentally-Friendly

Crushed glass media blasting is the greenest way to remove graffiti. Being inert, non-toxic and non-hazardous, this choice of blasting media poses no danger to the natural environment. Plus, it’s sustainable: all the crushed glass we use comes from recycled bottles.

 

Have a job you’ve been meaning to take care of? Get in touch with us today for a free estimate on media blasting services in Kitchener-Waterloo and Southwest Ontario.

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How to Remove and Prevent Graffiti on Your Commercial Property

Graffiti. The bane of business owners worldwide. There are few things as disappointing as the sight of your valuable commercial property slathered with a layer of spray paint. But there is one bright spot: the graffiti removal process is faster and safer than ever, and there are things you can do to prevent the vandals from coming back.

 

Cat Shadow

 

Take these steps to keep vandals off your property and prevent graffiti from reappearing.

 

1. Remove Graffiti Fast

 

Take a walk through any urban centre and you’ll notice a trend: where one vandal has left their mark, others have followed. Left alone, graffiti will invariably become a magnet for more vandalism because it sends the message that people can get away with it.

 

That’s why it’s important to remove any and all graffiti from your commercial property as soon as possible after it appears. When taggers see that their message will be gone from your property in no time, they’ll be less inclined to pay you a second visit.

 

The fastest way to remove graffiti is to treat the surface with a media blasting process. Media blasting is often referred to as sandblasting, but it doesn’t involve sand – rather, it employs a mixture of pressurized water and recycled glass to strip away spray paint without damaging the surface beneath.

 

Media blasting works on brick, stone, concrete and asphalt, as well as metal fixtures like signs, lamp posts and dumpsters.

 

2. Keep Your Commercial Property Clean

 

Graffitists tend to target properties that already look dilapidated. If the paint is already peeling and the fences are falling down, vandals will correctly assume that the property owner lacks the time or resources for upkeep.

 

Basic property maintenance can go a long way in preventing graffiti. That means cleaning up trash, sprucing up the paint job, and taking other steps to keep your commercial property looking clean and beautiful.

 

3. Secure Benches and Other Fixtures

 

Vandals use things like outdoor benches, garbage bins, and dumpsters as a stepping stool to access and deface areas that would normally be out of reach, like your rooftop, exterior light fixtures, and electric signage. You can stop these objects from becoming an accomplice to vandalism by bolting them to the ground in a spot that is not adjacent to attractive surfaces.

 

4. Use Plants as a Barrier

 

Graffiti is often a crime of opportunity – vandals see a bare wall that is easy to reach and seize the opportunity to make their mark. Adding obstacles can effectively deter all but the most determined graffitists. One of the easiest ways to do this is to plant shrubberies, vines, or other vegetation around your building – which have the added bonus of beautifying your property at the same time.

 

5. Upgrade Your Exterior Lighting

 

Darkness is a graffiti artist’s ally. If you’re having problems with graffiti, boosting your exterior lighting with LED retrofit services is definitely a worthwhile investment. LED lights are brighter, more durable, and longer-lasting than fluorescent and halogen lights, providing greater coverage of your property at night.

If you don’t want to keep the lights on all night, you can also outfit LED lights with motion detectors.

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5 Ways to Attract New Customers By Restoring the Exterior of Your Commercial Space

You’ve just closed the deal to purchase a business in a prime location. Now, it’s time to start driving customers through your doors.

 

Whether you’re rebranding or just taking the reins of an existing business, these tips will help you spruce up the exterior of your commercial space in ways that will attract new customers and entice old ones to give you another look.

 

1. Painting and Graffiti Removal

Revitalizing the building’s exterior façade is a powerful way to show the world in business.

Start by clearing the layers of graffiti from the walls, planters, or columns. Graffiti removal alone makes an enormous difference in the impression people have of your business. Media blasting is an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective to remove graffiti, gum, or other blemishes from brick and other exterior surfaces.

 

Once you’ve finished the job of graffiti removal, consider refreshing the façade with a new coat of paint if the lease and budget allows it. If you’re giving the business a new name, choose paint colours that reinforce the new brand persona.

 

2. Replacing or Upgrading Electric Signage

Is your sign readable day and night? Is it visible from the street, the parking lot, and the sidewalk? If the answer is no, that should be the next item on your restoration checklist.

 

Your exterior signage is the most prominent image of your business. It’s often the first thing people see when they pass by, and the first clue that a business is making positive changes. If your old signage isn’t cutting it, it’s worth investing in electric sign repair or LED retrofit services.

 

3. Cleaning the Parking Lot

A parking lot can be a valuable asset, but only if your customers are willing to park there. Without proper maintenance, the appearance of the lot can hurt the appeal of your whole commercial space.

 

Your parking lot should be clean and well-lit, with freshly-painted lines and clear signage. In short, it has to look inviting and safe to park in.

 

Keep in mind that lampposts and light fixtures are visible in the daytime as well as at night! In addition to being bright, your parking lot lights should be clean and graffiti-free.

 

4. Refinish Other Fixtures

Take a look at the stair railings, bike racks, and other painted fixtures around your commercial space. You may not notice chipped paint or rust at first glance, but the appearance of these fixtures definitely has an impact on the overall look of your business.

 

Strip off the old paint and corrosion with a bit of media blasting and give them a fresh coat of paint. It’s a small job that makes a big impression.

 

5. Adding Extra Signage

Your electric signage is the main attraction, but don’t dismiss the value of window displays, curbside signs, and other ‘extras’ that help grab the attention of passers-by.

 

Skip the sign that says “Under New Management”; instead, focus on how customers will benefit from the changes you are making. Use secondary signage to get the word out about rotating specials, new products, and other reasons to give your business a second look.

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Danny Sullivan
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June 24, 2019
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