Soda Blasting Commonly Asked Questions And Answers
WHAT EXACTLY IS SODA BLASTING OR MICRO STRIPPING?
Micro stripping machines are specially designed for use when carrying out gentle restoration work and precision blasting projects using the finest of media such as bicarbonate of soda. It ensures a very accurate, constant yet gradual flow of chemical and eco-friendly media. Our equipment is manufactured in Europe and conforms to the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED), the legal requirement for this type of equipment to be supplied and used in the UK.
HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM SANDBLASTING?
Sandblasting is a system that fires course particles at high velocity & high pressures of over 100psi, at a surface to etch or clean and leaves an abrasive finish and will remove original features. Soda blasting or micro stripping is extremely low pressure at under 20psi and uses a fine non-abrasive media and will not leave an abrasive finish or remove original features. Sandblasting is not controllable or precise whereas soda blasting and micro stripping machines have controllable features therefore creating no damage to the surrounding area.
IS SODA THE BEST MEDIA TO USE?
That will depend on the item or area being cleaned. Soda is a soluble soft abrasive that can be used for non-destructive, gentle cleaning and stripping of buildings, graffiti removal, food industry, fibreglass car and boat shells, fire and smoke restoration, monuments, statues and for fine work around glass. However, in other applications the use of different very fine media or abrasives used at very low pressures would be more suitable and cost effective particularly in the case of cleaning oak beams, brick and sandstone or paint stripping from vehicles and alloy wheels. Beam Clean & Restore choose the correct media to use for your specific project sometimes using more than one media depending on what we are cleaning.
WHAT PRESSURE DO YOU WORK AT?
We can vary the pressure depending on the specific project. For the majority of our work and especially when working in listed buildings or cleaning delicate oak beams we do not work at pressures above 18 – 20 psi. Sandblasting methods use pressures well in excess of 100 psi – so you can imagine the damage this would create too delicate surfaces.
ARE YOUR MEDIAS CHEMCIAL FREE AND SAFE?
Yes, all of our media is chemical free and eco-friendly.
IS IT SAFE FOR USE IN LISTED BUILDINGS?
Yes, and we will work closely with your planning officer throughout the process and inviting them to witness a sample area before we continue with your project and will also provide method and risk statements if necessary. It does not remove original features such as carpenter tool marks, candle burns and may even reveal dates and names engraved into the surface.
CAN YOU REMOVE THE SMELL CAUSED BY FIRE AND SMOKE DAMAGE?
Yes, we would use soda as the media in these cases as it also acts a deodoriser and is an excellent product for cleaning areas that have suffered smoke damage.
DOES IT MAKE A MESS?
As with all renovation work there will be mess. The areas worked in will be protected by high grade heavy duty plastic sheeting which also helps to contain the used media, dust and paint particles. We will also seal all electrical points and sensors and use commercial extractor fans to help keep the dust to a minimum.
DO YOU USE WATER WHEN WORKING INSIDE?
No, this is never a good idea when working around electrical sockets, the system we use is completely dry when working indoors and any used media, paint particles and dust will fall to the floor onto the plastic sheeting ready for disposal.
DO YOU TAKE THE MESS AWAY?
Yes, upon completion all of the waste is collected up and will be taken away with us for disposal, however on large projects lasting more than 5 days we will usually request that a skip is delivered to site.
DO YOU CLEAN UP?
Yes, before departure the technicians will carry out a thorough and professional clean. Please see our many testimonials from previous customers who have been delighted with our cleaning results.
DO I NEED TO EMPTY THE ROOM OF FURNITURE?
Yes, we do ask that the areas we will be working in are cleared of all furniture, ornaments etc. prior to our arrival. If we are working in upstairs rooms then generally we will begin working there first and any fitted furniture and fixtures and fittings will of course be covered and protected before we start.
DOES THE PROCESS DAMAGE THE SURROUNDING AREAS AND PLASTER?
If the plaster around the edges of the areas we are working on is in good condition then the clean will not create any damage, however if the area is already in poor condition prior to starting then we cannot guarantee that there will be no plaster or paint disturbance. The technicians will however stop and discuss any disturbance to surrounding areas with you before continuing. If the plaster is fresh then we do advise that it is left to dry completely before we start the clean.
CAN YOU CLEAN GREEN OAK?
Yes we can, but generally for these projects we are cleaning the oak because it has got wet during a building project and therefore we would discuss the pressures and media that would be required to effectively remove this staining.