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Updated: September 12, 2015
Sandblasting describes the act of propelling very fine bits of material at high-velocity to clean or etch a surface. Sand used to be the most commonly used material, but since the lung disease silicosis is caused by the extended inhalation of sand dust, other materials are now used in its place. Any small, relatively uniform particles will work, including steel grit, copper slag, walnut shells, powdered abrasives, and bits of coconut shell.
Sandblasting prices range between $655 and $1,203, with the average customer spending about $902.
Uses and caution
Sandblasting is used in various ways. It can remove paint from stucco and other textured structures, rejuvenate concrete, and bring back the original look of brick, pebbles or other rock designs. While the process is relatively simple, the prep work is labor-intensive. Your contractor will need to take care to protect your windows, roof and landscaping.
Due to the risk of silicosis, sandblasting is carefully controlled using an alternate air supply, protective wear and proper ventilation. This will be taken into consideration in the cost of your quote.
Some cities and counties require a permit for this type of work, so you may have to spend additional money on the permit and paperwork.
Be prepared for costs associated with protecting your neighbor's home, yard and formal notifications. For an extra fee, your contractor can visit your neighbors and answer any questions they may have. You must give your neighbors three days' notice that sandblasting will take place. Your neighbors should be advised to move their vehicles from their property to prevent dust or particles from damaging their vehicle.
Damage may still occur due to unforeseen complications. Sections of your exterior may come off during the process so you may incur additional cost to fix this. In rare instances, windows are damaged or gutters become loose. These are always risks when sandblasting an exterior surface so consider these possible extra costs when hiring your contractor. Also remember, in extremely rare cases, your neighbors may experience property damage that you will be liable for.