Abrasive Blasting Vs. Sandblasting: What’s the Difference?


Abrasive blasting refers to the process of surface treatment where a blasting medium that is propelled at high pressure is used to treat a surface. Treatment of a surface could be to apply a coating or to create a decorative pattern on the surface. However, the most common treatment is the removal of unwanted surface coatings.

Sandblasting as the name suggests is the process of using sand as a blasting medium for surface treatment. However, this practice has become nearly extinct as technology has allowed people to come up with better mediums for surface treatment. However there are still some companies offering sandblasting in Houston.

Sandblasting: The term that stuck

For a long time, sand was the only medium used for blasting processes. This made the name sandblasting to be synonymous with all abrasive cleaning processes then. However, nowadays, sand is the least favorite medium used. This is because sand has unfavorable properties for the procedure. Its grains are not standard but come in various sizes, it has a high moisture level, and it contains impurities which make it an unreliable medium. It can cause damage to most surfaces and also to fine-tuned blasting equipment due to its impurities. The most unfavorable property of sand though is the inherent health risks it poses. Sand has a high silica percentage. Silica can lead to permanent respiratory damage if inhaled.

Safer modern media alternatives to sand

There are several better alternatives to sand as an abrasive medium that do not pose health risks. These include baking soda (calcium carbonate), corncob, walnut shell and fruit seed blasting. All of these media are environmentally friendly. Still, other media used include hard plastic beads, crushed ceramic, glass beads and crushed glass.


Professional technicians look at the medium’s properties such as size, density, hardness and its break down rate to determine if it is fit for the task. The type of medium used and how much of the product can be reclaimed determines the price for blasting. There are technicians working for companies offering mobile sandblasting in Houston TX.

Selecting the Best Approach for Your Project

You should consider the purpose of your project when choosing the best approach for your project. This determines the kind of approach to take especially with regards to surface preparation. You may have to prepare your surface in advance before applying paint. You may also have to remove unwanted substances such as rust or old coats of paints. Deburring metal components is required for industrial purposes commercial sandblasting in Houston. For more decorative applications for example glass etching, you will need another approach that suits it. Unlike in the past, abrasive blasting processes can now be fully customizable to meet your needs.

Contact a professional blasting contractor for further advice on the best approach to use in carrying out your abrasive blasting. An experienced technician can answer all your questions and direct you on best practices to adopt for your blasting needs.

Frontline Sandblasting & Solutions
5510 Old Greenhouse Road #3100
Houston, TX 77084
Phone: (832) 892-4417


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