Vapor Blasting an Industrial Plant’s Silos in Milwaukee, WI

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Over the years, Lakeside Painting has used all sorts of abrasive media to blast away old paint, grime, dirt, rust, and contaminants for Wisconsin's commercial and industrial businesses. Our blast cleaning services have found our painters blasting structures with sand, dry ice, sponge, and other media. More recently, we have opted to use an abrasive cleaning technique known as Vapor Blasting, and there are several reasons we recommend it to our industrial and commercial customers. 

Below, we look at Vapor Blasting through one of our recent projects, which required the vapor blasting of seven silos at an industrial facility that manufactures chemicals. These silos store various chemicals used to make mineral spirits and window cleaner fluid, to take two examples. Two of our painters vapor blasted the silos, then later primed and painted them—work that we will showcase in a follow-up post. 

(In the slideshow above, you can see several of the silos vapor blasted, but also part of the cleanup process, with the debris swept up into piles for later disposal)

Why Vapor Blasting? 

Vapor Blasting, also known by the names "wet blasting" and "liquid honing", is a wet abrasive technique. Unlike other blasting methods, Vapor Blasting requires less media. Vapor blasters can use all kinds of media, like aluminum oxide (which is more expensive) and even walnut shells. We like to use glass, as it is highly effective, inert, cost-efficient, and easy to clean up.  

Because Vapor Blasting is a wet blasting method, the amount of dust ejected into the surrounding space is limited. That said, it's important to understand that Vapor Blasting is not "dustless" or "dust-free". Keeping the debris to an absolute minimum, thus making cleanup easier and more cost-efficient, was of particular importance to this industrial job's customer. 

For Vapor Blasting projects, Lakeside Painting uses an eco-friendly solution called Hold Tight 102, which helps prevent flash rust that could develop during the wet blasting process. Apart from preventing rust, the product also removes salts and other contaminants, and is non-hazardous, non-flammable (vital for this project), phosphate free, and biodegradable. 

Environmentally Friendly

Since this blasting method uses vapor instead of high volumes of water, it saves on water usage. The use of vapor is also advantageous to the cleanup process, as any water that is mixed with the debris and glass media quickly evaporates, allowing our painters to sweep up the mess as dry or slightly moist debris instead of a wet sludge. Using vapor as a blast medium was important to our customer because it cut down on water costs and protected the surrounding environment.

Other Advantages

Vapor Blasting works on a wide variety of surfaces and won't damage substrates. It also works in areas with high humidity, and is effective in many blast environments, both exterior and interior. 

If your industrial or commercial business structures could benefit from Vaport Blasting, don't hesitate to call Lakeside Painting at 262.642.9445 or email us at and we can discuss how to proceed.  

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