Abrasive Paint Removal Using Sponge Blasting

When coming to a decision on abrasive cleaning and/or paint removal for industrial and commercial buildings, Southeastern Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Illinois business owners should research area paint professionals and their methods. With over 30 years of contracting experience in these Midwestern regions, Lakeside Painting, Inc. is well-versed in and widely-known for our abrasive blasting work.

Although a variety of abrasive blasting technologies exist, we believe that Sponge Blasting is the right abrasive for our customers. It has a number of benefits, all of which are discussed below.

Sponge Blasting is an efficient and highly effective abrasive paint removal system that is less intrusive on your facility. This approach to removal can save your company money and time.

Sponge Media vs. Dry Ice Blasting and Conventional Abrasives

In commercial and industrial paint projects, time is of the essence. Lakeside Painting uses both Sponge Blasting and Dry Ice Blasting paint removal/cleaning methods, but we find that Sponge Media is less time-consuming and ultimately does a better job. We also like Sponge Blasting because it is eco-friendly, which is important to many of our customers and to us here at Lakeside Painting.

Sponge Blasting is a type of abrasive blasting, in which sponge media are propelled from a high-pressure system onto a surface. It can be used to remove paint, contaminants, profile substrates and even to perform more delicate cleaning jobs. It's a versatile technology—one that Lakeside Painting has been using with greater and greater frequency.

As SpongeJet—a sponge media system manufacturer—notes on its website: “[Sponge media] combines the containment capability of urethane sponge and the cleaning and cutting power of conventional abrasives.”

What does this mean for our commercial and industrial customers? The sponge particles flatten upon impact, exposing the abrasive. Once the sponge media leaves the surface, it expands and creates a vacuum that entraps most of the airborne contaminants that would otherwise be released. Other conventional abrasive media do not have this capability.

SpongeJet Intro Video on Sponge Blasting

How We Use Sponge Blasting Media

Our industrial and commercial customers require a number of Sponge Blasting uses for their paint projects. We've removed powder coating (very hard, robust paint) with SpongeJet's plastic media. This allowed us to remove the coating without profiling the metal below. Using SpongeJet's White Spocc and plastic medias, we've also cleaned rust and scale from very large engine blocks without any damage to the cast iron.

We often use SpongeJet's Silver 330 silver media to profile (make rough) stainless equipment to ensure coating adhesion. One recent project found us cleaning extremely dirty overhead cranes in an aluminum foundry with Silver 80 (see pictures). Our painters have also removed mold from an exposed structural ceiling in a cardboard manufacturing facility.

When encountering very dirty and oily environments, we use Silver 80 and 60 media to clean and prepare the environment for painting. We recently blasted an incredibly dirty exposed structural ceiling above what had previously been a large industrial powder-coating oven. The oven's extreme heat had fried the paint and primer, making both coatings fail on a large scale. The paint was quite literally falling off the exposed structural ceiling. Lakeside used the very aggressive Silver 30 media to entirely remove the coating, then repainted it with a modified epoxy.

We also recommend Sponge Blasting to our customers whenever we are cleaning and preparing to paint over coatings containing lead. Why? Sponge Blasting releases 99.9% less dusty airborne contaminants (such as lead) than conventional abrasive blasting methods. This keeps the working environment in a commercial or industrial space safe for a company's employees. Another upside to less dust is that it saves money on handling the air within our containment area (plastic dome). Additionally, we can use smaller air scrubbers, which are less expensive to rent or own, and require less-costly filters (and fewer of them) and energy to run. And at 99% less dust than traditional abrasive blasting, Sponge Media can significantly reduce the probability of an explosion hazard—which appeals to us not only for the safety of Lakeside’s customers, but for our painters.

Environmental Benefits

Up to 95% of Sponge Media is recycled. Sponge-Jet Recyclers, for instance, “classify and clean Sponge Media abrasive for reuse.” The recyclers collect and process blasted media through an “electrically or pneumatically powered classifier,” which separates reusable Sponge Media abrasives from over-sized debris, as well as spent media and contaminants (mold, rust, etc.).

Sponge blasting also boasts lower fugitive emissions, ensuring less pollution and waste. And as noted above, it's also great at removing lead-based paint from surfaces. When dealing with lead paint it’s important to think of proper disposal, which is expensive and based on weight. Since sponge media is reused approximately 5 to 8 times, it cuts down on the amount of disposal.

Lakeside Painting is an Industrial and Commercial Painting Company serving Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin. Vigilant about safety and dedicated to quality, we understand the complex needs of active businesses. At Lakeside, we adapt to provide you excellent, individualized blast cleaning and painting services.

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Lakeside is a premium painting contractor, and we have built a strong reputation among painting companies for our quality work and enduring results. We stand behind our work with a written warranty on all labor and materials.  
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