Understanding the Differences between Sandblasting & Water Blasting

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Discover the difference between water blasting and sandblasting


To repaint a wood, metal, or masonry surface, it must be completely free of dust, dirt, and grime, and prepared correctly to ensure good coating adhesion to the substrate. Water blasting and sandblasting are often used to prepare a surface for painting. 

These two prep techniques must be applied properly as it affects the service life, quality, and performance of the paint job. But which is right for your project? Let’s take a look at the difference between water blasting and sandblasting.


Water Blasting

Water blasting is an efficient, safe, and economical way to clean and prepare various surfaces. It has the advantage that you can prepare and clean a wide range of exterior surfaces painted without using chemicals or releasing dangerous toxins into the environment. It’s different from chemical-based cleaning in that no residues are left behind so rinsing isn’t necessary.

The equipment used in water blasting allows you to change the pressure and use different-sized nozzles depending on the job at hand. For example, if you want to remove contaminants, dust, and cobwebs, you can use low pressure. If you want to get rid of multi-layered coats, adhesive, clean cracks for repairs, or open pores on the surface for better application of a protective coat, then you can narrow the output, therefore, creating more pressure.

Water blasting ensures that the surface being prepared is free of chemicals and clean for other uses like coating surface preparation. Improper handling of water blasting equipment can damage and erode the surface being cleaned. 



This is one of the most popular blasting surface preparation used. It gets rid of old paint, dust, and grime from various surfaces. There are two types of sandblasting methods: dry sandblasting and wet sandblasting. 

Dry sandblasting uses air that is highly pressurized together with abrasives. Wet sandblasting uses water that is high-powered together with abrasive material or sand. The two methods do the same work of cleaning any surface. Dry sandblasting is more dangerous compared to wet sandblasting because it can make dust clouds. Breathing the dust can damage lungs. 

Sandblasting is popular because it is much faster at cleaning a surface than water blasting. It’s used to prep multiple surfaces to make painting easier. The pressure used in sandblasting can be changed depending on the type of operation carried out. If it’s deep cleaning like smoothing surfaces, shaping, or roughening, high pressure is used. For light cleaning like getting rid of rust, cobwebs, dust, old paint, dirt, and grit, low pressure is used. Improper handling of sandblasting equipment can damage and erode the surface being cleaned.

Sandblasting is more powerful and efficient compared to sandpapering. Using sandpaper can take days to prepare a surface. With sandblasting, it can be done in a matter of hours. 


Choose the Right Surface Prep Method

Water blasting and sandblasting are both good ways to prepare a surface. Choosing the right method depends on the condition and specification of the surface. Therefore, it’s important to check project specifications along with the condition of the substrate, technical datasheets, and application techniques before choosing one blasting technique over the other. It’s also best to call in professionals to properly prepare your surfaces.

Are you looking for the best way to prepare surfaces for painting in the Dallas – Fort Worth area? At A&J Ecoblasting, we’ve successfully completed hundreds of projects involving power washing and sandblasting. Contact us at (817) 876-1969, and our experienced operators will help you choose the right surface preparation technique and coating system for your project.

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