When it comes to cleaning a rough surface, especially a metal one, both bead and sand blasters are solid choices for the job. They’re excellent tools for clearing off corrosion and abrasive materials, as well as stripping away paint. However, you’re not necessarily going to use both for every job you come across. Bead blasters and sand blasters have their unique strengths and weaknesses, so here’s how you can tell which one you should put to work on for your next cleaning.
The Ins And Outs Of Bead Blasters
Bead blasters are fairly versatile cleaning tools that are effective on numerous surfaces. Whereas sand blasters naturally rely on the sand to clear out stubborn deposits, bead blasters commonly rely on fine glass beads to get the job done. They’re incredibly useful for removing calcium deposits from pool tiles, remove fungus that’s embedded into a surface, and for stripping paint from an automobile. Especially when it comes to removing paint, bead blasting tends to be the preferred method as it develops a greater surface profile than its sandy counterpart.
Another major benefit of using a bead blaster is that it’s useful for cleaning mineral specimens which, due to their level of hardness, would be damaged by a conventional sand blaster. If you’re eco-conscious, bead blasters are highly environmentally friendly, being that their beads are commonly formed of soda lime or lead-free glass. Both of these are chemically inactive which means that even if they were to come in contact with any water supplies, it wouldn’t have an adverse environmental effect.
Pros To Using A Sand Blaster
While sand blasters are a touch more abrasive than bead blasters, they’re still an effective, highly economical method for all sorts of cleaning projects. Also, the cleanup process is relatively speedy too, both during the project and afterwards. Compared to sandblasting, conventional cleaning methods often take double or triple the amount of time to have the desired cleaning effect. With sandblasting, you’ll typically set down a tarp or plastics before the project, and it’ll make cleanup that much speedier.
Sand blasters are also environmentally friendly, much like bead blasters, unless you incorporate pollutants into your sand mix. They’re even non-toxic for the user and others in the vicinity. It’s a great way to remove dirt and contaminants off of a surface while also strengthening it, especially if it’s metal. The film that a sand blaster leaves behind after the cleaning process prevents future buildup of rust once the metal is re-exposed to the air.
DIY Or Relying On A Pro?
When it comes to both sand and bead blasting, it’s unsurprising that many people think their project is as simple as renting equipment and getting to work. Unfortunately, while it’s a fairly inexpensive way to complete your project, it’s also a great way to do something incorrectly. Many industry professionals have invested a fair amount of time and energy into their training to ensure that every cleaning project they undertake is done correctly and effectively.
If you decide to rent a blaster yourself, you’re increasing the risk that you damage your cleaning surfaces and leave behind more significant amounts of debris. It’s better to invest in a professional to make sure that you’re not doing more harm than you are right.
The Final Verdict
When it comes to choosing between a bead blaster and a sand blaster, it ultimately comes down to your unique project and the delicacy of the surface you’re cleaning. If you’re working with mineral specimens, a sand blaster will be too abrasive. However, for metal surfaces and rust cleaning, sand blasters will typically suffice. Make sure you consult a professional to learn about the right tools for your project and about their rates for a thorough cleaning.