Epoxy Blasting: Sand And Soda For Concrete

sand and soda blasting epoxy for concrete

Sandblasting and soda blasting are two of the primary ways to clean or prepare a surface for industrial coatings. Both methods use compressed air to propel abrasive material at a surface at high speed to clean it or change its texture. However, they differ in their materials and applications. Sandblasting is the older and more well-known option and is typically used on harder surfaces like metal, concrete, and steel. Soda blasting, on the other hand, is a newer and milder form of abrasive blasting that is often used on softer surfaces like wood, chrome, and plastic. It uses sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to clean and prepare surfaces for coating.

Characteristics Values
Purpose Clean or prepare a surface for industrial coatings
Process Using compressed air to force abrasive material at a surface
Equipment Air compressor, blast cabinet, blast room
Materials Sand, soda, silica, silicon dioxide, steel grit, glass bead, bristle blasting
Applications Removing rust, paint, or debris; smoothing surfaces; removing grease
Advantages More efficient and versatile than hand sanding; recyclable materials; cost-effective
Disadvantages Health risks (respiratory problems, burns, fall risks); excessive noise and heat
Cost Varies depending on scale and type of equipment; sand blasting generally more affordable


Soda blasting vs sand blasting

Sandblasting and soda blasting are two of the main ways to clean or prepare a surface for industrial coatings. The processes and equipment used are similar, but the materials and applications differ. Both methods are used to remove rust and dirt from various surfaces.


Sandblasting, also known as abrasive blasting, is the older and more established method. It involves using compressed air to force an abrasive material onto a surface to remove rust, paint or debris. It is often used to prepare metal for welding or painting, and to strip heavy powder coatings, paint, grease, oil and more.

Sandblasting is typically used on metal, heavy machinery and industrial equipment. It is also used in the automotive industry, but it can damage vehicle bodies and windows. It is an effective way to remove rust, but the finish must be applied immediately to prevent flash rusting.

Sandblasting is a versatile process with a wide range of media choices, including sand, glass or plastic beads, steel grit, and walnut shells. It is a fast, cost-effective and efficient method, but it is not recommended for use on softer materials like plastic, wood and glass, as it can cause damage. It also creates a lot of dust, which can cause respiratory problems, and can cause burns on unprotected skin.

Soda Blasting

Soda blasting is a newer, milder form of abrasive blasting. It uses sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to clean or prepare surfaces for coating. It is a non-destructive method that is especially effective on softer surfaces like wood, chrome and plastic. It is also used in automotive applications where sandblasting is unsuitable, such as when there is a risk of breaking vehicle windows. It is also a good option for cleaning aluminium sheets.

Soda blasting is a good option for removing rust, as it prevents it from forming again. It creates a protective film over the surface, which can be removed with water and vinegar or scrubbed away before applying a finish. It is also an effective way to remove mould and smoke damage, and to clean up fire damage.

Soda blasting is a more environmentally friendly option than sandblasting, as the material is water-soluble and biodegradable. It also creates less dust, making it safer to use, although respiratory protection is still required.

Cost Comparison

Soda blasting is slightly more expensive than sandblasting, due to the cost of the equipment and materials. However, sandblasting equipment costs can vary depending on the scale of the project.

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Preparing concrete for epoxy coating

Preparing concrete for an epoxy coating is a detailed and intensive process. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Assess the Concrete:

Firstly, evaluate the condition of the concrete. Check for any cracks, delaminations, eroded joints, or other damage. If the concrete is new, it should be allowed to cure fully (typically for 28-60 days before applying an epoxy coating.

Repair Damage:

Fill and stabilise any cracks or concrete spalls. Ensure that the concrete is structurally sound and free from detrimental materials and surface contaminants.

Remove Previous Treatments:

If the concrete has been previously sealed, coated, or painted, these treatments must be removed. This can be done through shot blasting, soda blasting, or diamond grinding.

Clean the Surface:

Thoroughly clean the concrete surface to remove any oil spots, grease, and other contaminants. Power washing and vacuuming can be effective methods for this step.

Test for Moisture:

Check for moisture or dampness coming up through the concrete. If moisture is evident, the floor may not be suitable for epoxy. A moisture migration system may be required.

Check pH Level:

The ideal pH value for applying an epoxy coating is 7, but a range of 6.5 to 9.9 is acceptable. If the pH level is 10 or higher, acid etching is required, and if it falls below 6.5, a caustic etch will be needed.

Create a Surface Profile:

To maximise adhesion of the epoxy coating, you will need to create a surface profile on the concrete. This can be done through diamond grinding, shot blasting, scarification, or acid etching. Choose the method that best suits your specific project requirements and surface conditions.

Final Repairs and Testing:

After surface preparation, complete any necessary repairs, such as pitching for drainage. Then, test the surface to confirm that it has been adequately prepared for optimal adhesion of the epoxy coating.

By following these steps, you will ensure that your concrete surface is properly prepared for an epoxy coating, resulting in a durable and successful application.


Sandblasting concrete for surface finish

Sandblasting is a method used to texture the surface of hardened concrete on patios, walls, columns, driveways, and floors. It is also used to remove paint or expose aggregates. The degree of blasting varies from light cleaning to deep cutting operations. Although the actual sandblasting operation is not particularly complicated, certain procedures and precautions should be followed to ensure an attractive surface.

Procedures and Precautions

Before beginning the sandblasting process, it is important to take measures to prevent damage to the surrounding area. This includes removing all movable objects, covering items that cannot be moved, and protecting surfaces, windows, and other exposed areas. If sandblasting is performed in an enclosed space, such as a garage, adequate ventilation is necessary. It is also crucial for workers to wear safety goggles, suits with hoods, and respirators to prevent the inhalation of dust particles.


Stencils can be used to achieve specific textures on the concrete surface. These stencils should be installed and fixed before starting the sandblasting process.


The equipment required for sandblasting depends on the desired depth of the cut. For light cleaning or removal of the surface "skin", most sandblasting tools or equipment can be used. However, when deeper cuts are needed, the capacity of the equipment becomes more critical for the success of the operation. Air compressors, for instance, should have a capacity of about 300 cfm for each nozzle being used, with a minimum air pressure of 90 psi at the nozzle (100 psi is preferred). The nozzle should be a venturi type with a minimum inside diameter of three-eighths of an inch. The hose line should be strong enough to withstand the pressures and have an inside diameter of at least one and one-half inches to keep the sand in continuous suspension.


The timing of sandblasting is influenced by economics and the hardness of the concrete. The concrete matrix is easier to cut within the first 24 to 72 hours after casting.


During the sandblasting process, the operator should hold the nozzle perpendicular to the surface, maintaining a distance of about 2 feet (0.6 meters) away. The exact distance depends on factors such as pressure, concrete hardness, and the cutting ability of the abrasive. For difficult areas, short bursts of sand should be used, while sweeping motions are employed for other sections of the concrete. An experienced operator can quickly adjust the nozzle position to achieve the desired surface finish.


After completing the sandblasting, the surface should be cleaned with compressed air. All the utilised sand should be collected and removed from the area.


Soda blasting for coating removal

Soda blasting is a non-destructive method for cleaning and removing coatings from surfaces without causing damage to the underlying substrate. It is a form of abrasive blasting that uses sodium bicarbonate (also known as soda or baking soda) as its abrasive media. The soda particles are forcibly propelled against a surface using compressed air or water. When the particles come into contact with the surface, they "'explode', lifting any contaminants off without causing abrasion or harm to the surface.

Soda blasting is a great alternative to traditional methods like sandblasting as it is generally considered safer, non-toxic, and more environmentally friendly. It is perfect for cleaning sensitive surfaces or delicate substrates. It is also effective at removing protective coatings, graffiti, paint, corrosion, biological contaminants, oil, grease, carbon, and many other coatings.

One of the key benefits of soda blasting is that it does not damage the underlying substrate. This is because baking soda is typically harder than the surface contaminant but softer than the substrate. This makes it an excellent choice for cleaning materials that need to be reused or for regular cleaning of machinery. Additionally, soda is water-soluble, ensuring that no abrasive residue remains in critical areas.

Soda blasting is also a good option for rust removal as it does not break down the surface tension of metals, thus eliminating the problem of flash rusting. Sodium bicarbonate can act as a rust inhibitor, leaving a protective coating on the surface that can be easily removed with a vinegar/water mixture when it is time to paint.

Soda blasting is a versatile process that can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including aluminium, stainless steel, brick, stone, glass, fibreglass, wood, plastics, bearings, seals, and hydraulic cylinders. It is also suitable for cleaning food processing equipment as it is non-toxic and environmentally safe.

Overall, soda blasting is a gentle and effective method for coating removal that offers numerous advantages over traditional methods like sandblasting. It is a cost-effective, safe, and environmentally friendly option for removing coatings from a variety of surfaces.

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Sandblasting health and safety considerations

Sandblasting is a hazardous process that requires extensive training and safety protocols to be followed at all times. Here are some key health and safety considerations for sandblasting operations:

Secure the Environment

Before commencing sandblasting, it is crucial to eliminate any potential hazards that could lead to slipping, tripping, or falling. This includes keeping the blasting area clear of unnecessary items and substances. It is also important to prohibit activities such as eating, drinking, or smoking in the blasting areas to prevent respiratory and other health hazards. Additionally, ensure that all ventilation systems, air compressors, power supplies, and wash stations are fully functional.

Check the Blasting Equipment

Regularly inspect blasting equipment for any cracks or damage that could lead to leaks. This includes the blast hose, which should be checked for leaks or cracks. It is also recommended to use less toxic abrasives when possible and to keep the blasting equipment in proper containment structures. Test breathing filters and carbon monoxide monitors daily to ensure adequate ventilation and reduce overall toxicity.

Protective Gear

Provide blasting workers with the necessary protective gear, including helmets, clothing, gloves, safety footwear, earplugs, safety goggles, and other recommended equipment. Respiratory protection is critical, and anyone using the blaster must wear an abrasive blasting respirator that covers the head, face, neck, and shoulders. Ensure that the respirators are NIOSH-certified.

Cleanup Procedures

Post-sandblasting cleanup must involve water-based cleaning methods or HEPA-filtered vacuuming systems. Avoid using compressed air as it will disperse dust into the environment. It is also important to regularly clean blasting areas using HEPA-filtered vacuuming or wet methods.


Ensure that all personnel involved in sandblasting operations are properly trained on safety standards and protocols. They should understand the risks involved and the measures required to stay safe. This includes knowledge of how to operate the machinery safely and the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Review safety data sheets with employees to ensure they are aware of the potential dangers of specific blasting materials.

Airborne Dust

One of the most serious hazards associated with blasting operations is airborne dust, especially smaller particles (10 microns or less) that can penetrate deep into the respiratory system. Metal dust from metals like lead, cadmium, and manganese can be extremely toxic when inhaled. Regulations require special handling, trained personnel, and medical monitoring when lead is present.

Silica Sand

Silica sand is a potential health hazard and should not be used as an abrasive. If silica-containing materials are used, workers must wear a positive pressure or pressure-demand respirator with an assigned protection factor (APF) of 1000 or 2000. Proper containment and disposal of silica are crucial to prevent it from becoming an airborne contaminant.

Air Supply

Air-supplied respirators are mandatory when working inside blast cleaning rooms, using portable units without enclosures, or when the operator is not physically separated from the abrasive material. Ensure that the intake hose for airline respirators and compressors is placed in an area with clean air. Have an attendant monitor breathing air and ensure the blaster's safety at all times.

Noise Levels

Sandblasting operations generate high noise levels, so hearing protection is essential for both operators and nearby workers.

Frequently asked questions

Sandblasting is a method to texture the surface of hardened concrete on patios, walls, columns, and driveways to remove paint or expose aggregates. It involves using compressed air to force abrasive material at a surface in order to remove rust, paint, or debris.

Soda blasting is a process similar to sandblasting but milder and invented in the 1980s. It uses sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to blast particles against a surface to clean it. It is primarily used to clean and is especially effective on wood, chrome, and plastic.

Soda blasting is ideal for softer surfaces that require a gentler touch. It is also more environmentally friendly, as the baking soda is water-soluble and won't contaminate human or wildlife spaces. It also creates less dust and is safer to breathe than sandblasting residue.

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