LOPCO Blogs

Media Blasting

“Back in the day” (really, only about 10 years or so prior to me getting involved in the coatings industry), there was a process for removing paint that, although effective, was a bit brutal.

This process, known as ‘sandblasting,’ definitely did the job, but when its methodology was utilized on residential housing stock, its face was often shown in a fashion where pitted walls rivaling that of the worst case of acne imaginable were commonplace.

I can envision paint company owners who wanted to do a good job must have been torn at the time as they knew from a surface preparation standpoint, sandblasting was the way to go, the biggest challenge however, was that after this process has taken place, the amount of follow up surface prep necessary to make the sandblasted surfaces look even somewhat respectable was an endeavor in nothing short of monumental proportions.

Enter ‘media blasting’ or as I like to refer to it ‘sandblasting’s kinder, gentler cousin’.

Though similar to sandblasting in its intent, the end results which media blasting lends itself toward could not be further apart on the ‘aesthetically pleasing’ spectrum.

If utilized properly, media blasting can be incorporated into one’s surface preparation tool arsenal as an unparalleled approach in aiding in some of the most thorough surface prep that one may look for.

Media blasting is referred to as ‘media blasting’ because of its utilization of a variety of media types – crushed glass, corn, walnut, garnet, etc. – all meant to either remove existing coatings or “coax” a surface into being highly receptive to a desired coatings system for providing its best long-term chance at success.

The variety in the different types of media allows for truly the best route to be chosen when preparing a surface.

Where once upon a time sandblasting ruled the roost, media blasting permits greater flexibility toward the manner in which a surface is prepared.

Without going into a techy deep dive, these various forms of media are essentially “blasted” out of a contraption powered by a generator and other machinery all aimed at most efficiently providing a means of achieving the surface preparation result one is desiring.

For us, we use media blasting in different capacities, but the two main areas are in prepping concrete surfaces (garage floors as an example) and helping to correct a surface (due to mill glaze, being pressure treated, etc.) of its inability to hold a paint or stain coating long-term.

Media blasting is an absolutely wonderful method in preparing concrete to receive a protective coating as it does a terrific job of opening pores in the concrete and providing a surface for whatever the system of choice may be to most properly “bite”.

Equally useful are media blasting’s benefits with helping to cure unique wood substrate challenges such as mill glaze and pressure treated wood’s inability to hold a coating for an extended period of time.

In these instances, media blasting will not only remove any previous coatings which need to come off in order to more adeptly access the surface you are preparing, but it also prepares the surface in the same fell swoop as – similar to the concrete example – it etches the surface of these wood products and makes them SUPER receptive to whatever coating system you are applying.

Media blasting’s superpower is its less aggressive adaptability that traditional sandblasting has never really fine-tuned itself to do.

While conventional sandblasting certainly still has its place, media blasting is the perfect example of an approach that has been tweaked over time and in the present day is able to deliver results which the technology of 40 years ago just would not allow.

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