Dry Vs. Wet Sandblasting: The Key Differences and How it Affects Your Paint Job

When it comes to cleaning graffiti, old paint, grease, and rust, nothing works better than wet sand blasting. Most people are familiar with pressure washing or dry sand blasting, but did you know that you could combine the two?

The results that wet sand blasting provides are a perfect combination of the two, and it gets the job done just as effectively.

wet sand blasting

With that said, if you’re curious to find out more about dry vs wet sand blasting, just keep reading.

What Is Water Blasting?

Waterblasting, also known as power washing, is a surface-cleaning process that employs the use of water. To wipe away any dust, dirt, or existing covering on a surface, high-pressured water sprays in a strong stream from the hardware’s nozzle.

Waterblasting is usually thought of as an environmentally safe method of surface finishing. It doesn’t use additives, because when it makes contact with a surface, no chemicals are emitted into the environment.

However, it is important to use the water blasting procedure with caution. Divots may arise if the water stream centers on one section of the surface for a prolonged period of time. Most water blasters include a variety of nozzle settings that allow you to customize the water pressure and stream for each project.

Waterblasting leaves no traces behind because it only uses water to disinfect a surface. The majority of water blasters use vacuum dry technology, but if they don’t, the remaining water left on the ground will evaporate.

What Is Sand Blasting?

Sandblasting, also known as abrasive media blasting, prepares a surface by blasting it with a high-pressure stream of abrasive media. Sandblasting is often used to disinfect metal surfaces, although it may also be used on a number of other materials.

When a more efficient and reliable alternative to sandpaper or industrial paint strippers is required, sandblasting is needed.

Actually, there are two different versions of sandblasting, which also includes the following:

Wet Sand Blasting

A forceful stream of water and media combined together are used in wet sand blasting or vapor blasting. Consider it a cross between water blasting and traditional sandblasting.

When people want to prevent a dust storm created by the second form of sand blasting—which is dry sand blasting— they often choose wet sandblasting instead.

Wet sand blasting operates in a variety of ways, which include the following:

  • Water Injection Nozzles – this kind of nozzle dampens the abrasive until it exits the blast nozzle.
  • Halo Nozzles – where the abrasive gets misted as it leaves the blast nozzle.
  • Wet Blast Rooms- when the water and abrasive are restored, recycled, and pumped.
  • Altered Blast Pots – this is when both the water and the abrasive are placed under air pressure or under water.

Dry Sand Blasting

Dry sand blasting uses abrasive material and forceful spray. When compared to water blasting, all forms of sandblasting are deemed as quicker ways to clear a surface. Sandblasting can also mold objects more effectively and rapidly than water blasting.

The Benefits of Wet Sand Blasting

There are numerous benefits of wet sand blasting such as:

Reduction of Dust

Wet blasting decreases the amount of dust generated by the abrasive blasting process by using water. That is the primary benefit of wet blasting.

It shields the operator, nearby workers, and any dust-sensitive plant from small, abrasive airborne particulates. It’s especially useful in open environments.

Hydrostatic Forces

Hydrostatic forces are the second kind of force. There is more volume at the impact point if there is water present. As a result, you require less abrasive.


You can remove the surface and clear it at the same time with certain forms of wet blasting. The requirement for a special rinsing procedure to isolate media particles and soluble salts is thereby eliminated.

No Static Charges

When flammable gasses or materials are existing, abrasive blasting can cause sparks, which result in explosions or fires. Wet blasting does not entirely remove sparks, but it does produce “cold” sparks. Therefore, it eliminates static and decreasing the likelihood of an explosion.

The Cons of Wet Sand Blasting

As great as wet sand blasting is, it has its disadvantages. Here are a few of the cons:

Consumption of water: During this process, a large amount of usable water is absorbed, with the amount differing depending on which type of wet blasting is used.

Water mist: While the absence of airborne dust helps to improve visibility, the existence of return spray mist from the water reduces visibility.

Growing costs: Wet blasting expenses and equipment requirements are increased by water injection, mixing, and restoration facilities, as well as the need for storage and drainage.

Flash rusting: The pace at which a metal surface corrodes increases as it’s exposed to water and oxygen. To prevent this, the surface must dry immediately and thoroughly afterward.

A rust inhibitor can also be used to avoid flash rusting on the blasted surface, although this is not necessarily recommended, and the surface must also dry before painting.

Wet waste: The water must find a way to escape. Likewise, so does the wet abrasive. This waste is usually heavier and more challenging to clean than dry waste.

The Advantages of Dry Sand Blasting

Dry sand blasting is harsher than wet sand blasting, but it has its advantages. Below are a few of them:

Effectiveness: Dry blasting eliminates old coatings, mill size, rust, and other pollutants from metal surfaces with extreme effectiveness. The residue that results is much easier to dispose of.

Budget-friendly: Dry blasting is less expensive than wet blasting because it does not require extra facilities or the containment and treatment of water and wet waste.

The ability to be versatile: Dry blasting needs less equipment and planning and can be done in more places. Containment and recovery using a temporary blast building or other appropriate encapsulation should be addressed if dust is a problem.

The Cons of Dry Sand Blasting

Health risks: If inhaled, the fine, abrasive dust emitted by dry abrasive blasting will damage the operative or nearby working parties, as well as local dust-sensitive plants.

However, by using respiratory protective equipment, buffer areas, and encapsulation this can be easily avoided.

Risk of static blasts: In flammable conditions, static buildup during the dry abrasive blasting process results in dirty sparks. These sparks could trigger an explosion or burn. Thankfully, equipment shutdown, gas detectors, and licenses will all help to manage this.

How to Use a Wet Sand Blaster

It’s easy to use a wet sandblasting device, and most individuals can do it. Start by inserting the metal probe into the sand. Be sure the probe’s air intake hole isn’t covered in the sand.

The hole helps to generate the vacuum that allows the sand to draw down the line. After that, attach the blast head to the wand’s tip and begin sandblasting.

Pressure washer safe practices should be observed if you work with this form of control equipment to prevent hurting yourself or anyone. When performing wet sandblasting, wear protective garments. Items such as thick work gloves, a face mask, and long sleeves to cover your body are best.

This style of work is better done outside, but if you do work indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated.

To learn more about wet sand blasting, visit the following link: http://vaporhoningtechnologies.com/wet-sand-blasting-vs-dry-sandblasting/.

Sand Blasting Basics

Never aim the nozzle of any power equipment, particularly pressure washers, at anyone. When using the nozzle, always point it downward to ensure the sand supply cord is above the water line to prevent water from entering the sand supply.

Also, make sure that the sand hose is completely dry before using it. Keep the sand sealed at all times to prevent water droplets from coming into contact with it.

When you first start wet sandblasting, keep the wand a few feet away from the object you’re sanding. If you approach the object too closely, it will become damaged. Maintain the distance until the desired outcome manifests.

Get the Most Out of Wet Sand Blasting

As you can see, there’s no doubt that wet sand blasting is a great source of sanitation for multiple dirty surfaces. Not only that, but it’s safer for the environment and for the workers performing the job. Overall, if you want to get a blasting job done safely and effectively, then wet sand blasting is the way to go.

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