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Abrasive Blasting – Sandblasting

sandblasting an object

Sandblasting – the most common form of abrasive blasting

Surface preparation is paramount for an effective and successful coating application. A substrate that is dirty, greasy, insufficiently textured, or still has old paint can mean the difference between a valuable coating investment and a failure. One of the most effective methods of substrate preparation is abrasive blasting. Abrasive blasting is the process of modifying or cleaning a substrate by blowing abrasive material at high pressure towards its surface with either air or water. The combination of pressure and the grit abrade the surface in a controllable manner. Abrasive blasting (aka grit blasting or sandblasting) is the umbrella term for these processes; individually they are known by the type of material or grit being used for abrasion. Common abrasive blasting materials include shot, glass bead, garnet, alumina, aluminium oxide, plastic, soda, and even walnut or coconut shell.

In this article we look at the sandblasting process, sandblasting prices, sandblasting services in the UK, and some of the UK regulations around the use of silica. 

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Why sandblasting is the right treatment for you

sandblasting prices for machine components

Sandblasting removes dirt, coatings and contaminants from the surface revealing bare metal.

The popularity of sandblasting comes down to its ease of use, effectiveness, and versatility. Sandblasting can be used for steel, iron, stone, wood, and masonry substrates; you can sandblast a house when it needs recoating or restuccoing, machinery and metal pieces to remove rust or as coating preparation, even to remove graffiti. The results of sandblasting or blast cleaning include:

  • Shaping an object – Lettering and signage can be formed using sandblasting
  • Removing surface contaminants – Rust, old paint, and residue can negatively impact a coating
  • Smoothing a rough surface – For aesthetics or to improve the working of moving parts
  • Roughing a smooth surface – For applying a powder coating or other coating type

How sandblasting prices are determined

Most abrasive blasting services quote their prices based on past jobs or as a combination of sandblasting cost per square metre and other factors. Factors that affect the price include:

  • The type of grit being used – Different media have different costs, and some can be mitigated by being able to recycle or reuse the media. The cost of cleanup and environmental processes is also often down to the customer.
  • The size and condition of the substrate – The larger the substrate and the more work required to clean the substrate increase the time taken to finish the job, as so also the cost. Previously powder coated substrates require extra work to remove the old coating, so are more expensive.
  • The location and difficulty of the substrate – Difficult to reach, distant, or substrates that require extra equipment will add to the cost, as will those with unconventional or complicated shapes and surfaces. Blast cleaners may quote different prices for substrates that can be cleaned in an abrasive blasting cabinet compared to those that need offsite or outside work.

Ultimately it comes down to time. The sandblasting price is usually given per hour, with all the costs mentioned above included in the quote, or a per hour cost not including the abrasive medium.

Sandblasting price list for common items

For many jobs a sandblaster will quote a price based on how long they expect it will take. A common price for blast cleaning in the UK is £20-40 per hour. The cost of sandblasting a house is often quoted on a per day basis, though this is also affected by whether the job is a light sandblasting to clean the substrate or there is more heavy duty paint and pebbledash removal required.

For some more common items sandblasters may give out a ‘per item’ price. This includes items like wheels and patio furniture. Below you can find a sandblasting price list for popular items and substrates with an example price for each. Bear in mind that these prices are subject to the different pricing systems of individual businesses and are only indications.

Car WheelSandblast onlyfrom £15 per wheel
Car ChassisSandblast onlyfrom £80-100
Motorcycle FrameSandblast onlyfrom £50-80
RadiatorsSandblast onlyfrom £45
Patio ChairSandblast onlyfrom £25
Patio TableSandblast onlyfrom £50

Sandblasting services and specialists in the UK

Abrasive blasting should be undertaken by a trained professional. The processes in abrasive blasting can be hazardous to health and the Health and Safety Executive has regulations regarding the use of sand or free silica for blasting due to it causing silicosis when proper precautions are not taken. Fortunately, there are many abrasive blasting and blast cleaning services across the UK.  If you wish to coat the surface after abrasive blasting, there are also services that take care of both sandblasting and powder coating or painting.

If you are looking for the right coating once you have blast cleaned your substrate, get in touch! We have experts in everything from powder coating to ceramic coating to help connect you with the coating for your needs. Simply use the “Request a Quote” button beneath this article and take advantage of our 100% free quotation service.

Sandblasting CompanyLocationServices
Baldslow Blast CleaningSt Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, TN37 7PS, EnglandSandblasting for houses, antifouling, ironwork, swimming pools, and more.
Blast Clean ScotandKirkcaldy, Fife, KY1 2NL, ScotlandSandblasting for restoration, coating removal, and conservation.
Grit Blasting UKDevizes, Wiltshire, SN10 4DP, EnglandGrit blasting for surface preparation, floor preparation, and house paint removal
Steve Jones Mobile SandblastingBuilth Wells, Powys, LD2 3UF, WalesMobile andblasting and blast cleaning services for properties, tanks, antifouling, and more.
SymblastVerwood, Dorset, BH31 6GH, EnglandHouse paint removal and antifouling removal through sandblasting
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