The Process & Benefits of Sandblasting Concrete Surfaces

Looking for a perfectsolution to add texture to an existing or newly poured concrete surface without causing damage to the substrate? Whether treatinga council footpath or new construction build slab, an exposed aggregate sandblasted finish adds aesthetic appeal and provides a non-slip surface compliant with Australian Standards. Sandblasting is the ideal methodfor exposing concrete aggregate, possessing the ability to closely monitorthe blasting pressure, in addition to the specific abrasive required.This allows for a range of different deliverable finishes, varying between 1mm – 5mm’s of aggregate exposure. This blog post details the process of sandblasting concrete as well as exploring the benefits.

 The Process

Typically, when it comes to sandblasting a concrete surface, our clients will specify either a light, medium or heavy sandblasted finish, depending on the level of aggregate exposure desired.

Initially, you will need to check, control and eliminate any potential work hazards. Including clearingthe elected sandblasting area of any pedestrians, vehicles or contractors currently onsite, in addition to preparing and containing the environment by masking or taping surrounding surfaces.

This is all to prevent unnecessary harm or damage to surfaces or individuals in the vicinity where the concrete sandblasting will be conducted.

  • Are you sandblasting in an enclosed area such as a factory or warehouse? You must make sure there is sufficient ventilation.
  • Safety is paramount, so ensure you’re wearing a protective Nova 3000 Air Helmet, a hooded blast suit, gloves, ear plugs and steel cap work boots.
  • If you’re using stencils to achieve a particular pattern design, be sure to fix them to the surface before blasting begins.
  • Ensure diesel compressor is maintained, serviced and fuelled. Locate compressor upwind, away from blasting area.
  • Establish air supply by connecting all bull hoses from compressor to blast pot, confirming all fittings are equipped with safety whips & clips.
  • Ensure operators Nova 3000 Blast Helmet has clean air flow by connecting a breathing air filter and carbon monoxide monitor.
  • Close all air valves to the sandblasting pot and fill the hopper with Garnet or an appropriate substitute.
  • Attach necessary sandblasting hoses and Deadman lines from the pot, allowing enough lengths to be able to reach the surface requiring abrasive treatment.
  • Commence sandblasting by loading compressor and opening all air valves to the sandblasting pot. Engage Deadman switch to allow the compressed flow of garnet through the blast hose.
  • Begin with a 1 m2 test patch, by sandblasting the concrete surface from a distance and at a relatively low pressure of 70psi – 80psi. Gradually increase blast pressure towards 100 psi, thereby increasing concrete aggregate exposure until desired finish has been achieved.
  • Proceed by replicating achieved finish throughout the remaining allocated surface area requiring abrasive treatment and aggregate exposure.
  • Whilst sandblasting, be sure to be consistent by employing a brush or sweeping motion.
  • Once completed, ensure the surface area is vacuumed, swept or blow down and the produced waste and abrasive are disposed of appropriately.

 The Benefits of Sandblasting Concrete Surfaces

There are numerous advantages to be gained from choosing sandblastingto add texture to a concrete surface. These benefits include:

  • It’s a cost-effective choice compared to alternate methods
  • It’s highly efficient, being able to treat up to 100 m2 a day per operator
  • Offers an unparalleled coarse finish, unachievable by alternatives.
  • Highly monitorable to ensure clients desired finish is always achieved

To find out more, get in touch with VacuBlast today.