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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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Danny Sullivan
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September 4, 2019
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