How much does it cost to sandblast a house?
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Sandblasting Cost Guide
Updated: August 17, 2022
Sandblasting, also known as abrasive blasting, is the process that involves using solid particles to clean and smooth out hard or rough surfaces. The solid particles are forced onto a hard surface at high speed by using compressed air. This creates a high pressure that forces the abrasive material on the hard surface, cleaning it from dirt, paint, stucco, and other particles that can’t be cleaned with traditional cleaning methods. The most common method used is light sandblasting, although the exact method that will be used depends on what needs to be removed and what type of surface.
The national average ranges between $3,000 and $7,500 for 1,500 square feet, with most homeowners spending around $5,250 to lightly sandblast 1,500 square feet using soda or aluminum oxide. On the low end, you can opt to clean a 1,500 square foot surface using corn cobs for around $1,500 with a very light sandblasting pressure using water or silica sand as the main cleaning media. On the higher end, you can have your 1,500 square foot surface cleaned with heavy-duty pressure using copper slag for $24,000.
|National average cost||$5,250|
What Is Sandblasting Used For?
Sandblasting is commonly used to remove paint, rust, pollutants, and residue from materials and surfaces. It is also used to remove scratches, dents, and casting marks. It’s often used to clean large machines, buildings, or surfaces, but you can also blast clean household tools and appliances. Sandblasting can remove tags, burs, and excess material from metal and plastic materials and surfaces.
Sandblasting Cost per Square Foot
Sandblasting prices depend on the size of the surface you want to clean with this method. The typical cost ranges between $2 and $5 per square foot, although the upper limit can go up to $16 per square foot depending on several factors. Contractors charge by square foot because the larger the surface that needs to be cleaned, the more material and time will be needed to clean it. The most common sizes cleaned and the average costs to clean that surface using light sandblasting are presented in the table below.
|Square Footage||Average Cost (Labor Included)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$2,000 - $5,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$3,000 - $7,500|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$4,000 - $10,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$5,000 - $12,500|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$6,000 - $15,000|
Sandblasting Cost per Hour
In some instances, contractors charge hourly rates instead of by square footage. You could expect to spend between $45 and $75 per hour for the job. However, prices can go up to $300 depending on the type of surface and method used. This includes preparation, planning, sandblasting, finishing, and cleanup. Most professionals charge by the square foot with the cost of media included, but some charge by the hour. For instance, charging by the square foot would not cover the time-consuming process of sandblasting a small but very detailed car rim or similar piece. You can speak to your sandblasting company to find out how they charge and what to expect for your job.
Sandblasting Cost by Intensity
The cost per square foot depends on the intensity of sandblasting you use and can range from $1 per square foot to as high as $16 per square foot. There are four types of cleaning intensity depending on the depth of cleaning they provide: very light, light, medium, and heavy-duty. Each pressure type penetrates to a different depth of cleaning ranging between 1/32” to ⅜”. Be sure you assess the amount of cleaning the surface needs to avoid using too strong a pressure that can potentially damage the surface.
If several layers need to be removed, medium sandblasting would be needed. However, if the surface is soft, the professional will most likely use very light or light sandblasting. Heavy-duty cleaning, on the other hand, is not so commonly used on residential surfaces or items. It is used in heavier industries, marine, transport, automotive, stone cleaning, engineering, and re-finishing industries.
|Pressure||Cleaning Depth||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Very Light||1/32 inch||$1 - $3|
|Ligh||1/16 inch||$2 - $5|
|Medium||1/4 inch||$4 - $8|
|Heavy-Duty||3/8 inch||$7 - $16|
Sandblasting Prices by Method
The sandblasting prices range from $1 to $5 per square foot, depending on the method used. Many sandblasting methods depend on what is used to pressure the media onto the surface. The most common blast cleaning methods are water, air, or dry ice (carbon dioxide) mixed with the abrasive. If you want to avoid using abrasives, you can opt for hydro blasting that uses only water power for cleaning. The method used by professionals depends on the surface and what needs to be removed.
|Method||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)|
|Hydro Blasting||$1 - $2.50|
|Wet Sandblasting||$1.30 - $3.50|
|Dry Sandblasting||$2 - $4.50|
|Dry Ice Sandblasting||$3.50 - $5|
Hydroblasting is a more affordable option than others, with an average cost of $1 to $2.50 per square foot. While it is similar to wet sandblasting, hydro blasting does not use any abrasives in the cleaning process, only the force of clean water. Because abrasives are not used in the process, it is gentler to the surfaces and the environment at the same time. However, it takes longer to clean an area for the same reason. Cleaners use special water pumps that amplify the pressure and shoot the water through a nozzle on the surface to blast off dirt, debris, or old paint. With this type of cleaning, only the force of water is used. No abrasives or other chemicals are involved. However, because of this same reason, it is not as effective as abrasive cleaning.
Wet sandblasting is the most common method used that costs $1.30 to $3.50 per square foot. This type of cleaning is done using wet abrasive sand that is forced onto the surface that needs to be cleaned. The water and sand used together prevent the particles from heating up and being airborne. This shortens the cleaning time and facilitates the whole process. However, since water is used, the surfaces can start corroding faster, giving cleaners less time to tend to any issues that may arise. Also, cleaners would have to use a rust inhibitor to slow down the corrosion.
Dry sandblasting is somewhat more expensive than wet. This cost is around $2 to $4.50 per square foot. This method doesn’t involve using water for cleaning, but rather air forced through a nozzle by high pressure. The cost is higher because this method takes more time to finish the job and produces more harmful particles for the worker. However, unlike wet sandblasting, workers can stop cleaning to tend to an issue and continue working later.
Dry Ice Sandblasting
The dry ice blasting cost per square foot is between $3.50 and $5, depending on the type of surface and what needs to be cleaned. It does not involve air or water, but rather carbon dioxide in its solid form, dry ice. Dry ice pellets are accelerated and shot through the nozzle at a high velocity onto the surface that needs to be cleaned. The pellets disrupt the contaminants with extreme heat, dissolving them and making them easier to clean. Since it does not use any abrasives, dry ice cleaning is gentler for surfaces. However, the use of carbon dioxide changes the atmospheric conditions in a room if the area is not ventilated properly.
Sandblasting Rates by Surface
It costs between $1.30 and $8 per square foot for sandblasting based on the type of surface. The type of surface often determines the overall cost to sandblast an area. Each type of surface needs to be cleaned for a different reason, with the most common being to remove paint, rust, dust, or other chemicals. The type of surface also affects the type of media, amount of pressure, labor, and materials needed to clean it. All these factors impact how much you will pay in the end. Below are the most common surfaces cleaned through sandblasting with the average cost paid to clean them.
|Surface||Sandblasting Cost (Labor Included)|
|Tiles||$1.50 - $3|
|Stucco||$1.50 - $3.50|
|Wood||$2 - $3|
|Brick||$2.50 - $3|
|Concrete||$2.50 - $3.50|
|Wrought Iron||$4 - $8|
Sandblasting tiles costs between $1.50 and $3 per square foot, depending on the tiles and the media being used. It is most commonly performed on pool tiles, although it can be used on any tile you want to clean or remove paint from to repaint, repair, or otherwise improve the tile. This process is time-consuming because it must be done delicately to avoid damage to the tile.
Sandblasting stucco costs between $1.50 and $3.50 per square foot. Stucco is typically cleaned to prepare it for painting or repairing cracks in it. This is done by removing the outer layer of paint or damaged parts to prepare the stucco for the upcoming work. However, because stucco is softer than old paint, use a blasting media and blasting pressure that won’t cause damage.
Because wood is typically cleaned with dustless blasting, some contractors charge per square foot with a typical cost of $2 to $3 per square foot. However, most of them charge an hourly rate of $75 to $300 per hour, depending on the amount of work, care, and materials used. Sandblasting this surface with high pressure or heavy media can damage the wood. Make sure you use the proper sandblasting method and pressure that will be the safest for your wood based on its type, age, and other factors.
Brick walls and houses are often sandblasted to give bricks their original look. Homeowners typically pay $2.50 to $3 per square foot. Sandblasting the exterior of a house is usually done to remove paint from brick masonry and restore its original appearance. Hire a professional that would take proper care while doing this job. Sandblasting brick to remove paint can leave the bricks exposed to the elements, making them more prone to damage.
The cost to remove paint from concrete surfaces varies between $2.50 and $3.50 per square foot, depending on the type of paint you want to remove. Concrete walls and patios may have different types of paint layered on them. The exact type of paint and the number of layers that should be removed will affect the overall cost. For instance, cement-based paints are easier to remove and cost around $2.50 per square foot. Oil paints take more time to remove and cost around $3.50 per square foot.
Sandblasting Wrought Iron
Iron can be sandblasted for a cost of around $4 to $8 per square foot, although some contractors will charge based on the item you want to clean. Iron items corrode over time, requiring them to need cleaning. However, wrought iron’s intricate details make the blast cleaning process a more complicated job, so it comes at a higher cost.
Media Blasting Cost
The media blasting cost ranges from $0.80 to $5 per lb., depending on the type of media used. The term sandblasting is often used to refer to various types of cleaning. Many materials and methods use that same name. While sand silica is used most commonly in sandblasting cleaning, silica can cause environmental and respiratory problems due to the airborne particles. Because of this, blasting with silica-based sand is prohibited in many countries. Professionals who use this technique must be properly trained to help prevent this issue. To avoid the harmful effects and clean the surface more effectively, you may use different cleaning media. The replacing media may include agriculture options such as corn cobs or walnut hulls, glass, plastic, coal, copper, steel, or aluminum slag. The media used will likely be determined by the type of surface that needs to be cleaned.
|Media Type||Cost per Lb. (Materials Only)|
|Corn Cobs||$0.80 - $1|
|Silica||$1.50 - $1.80|
|Soda||$1.50 - $2.50|
|Glass Bead||$1.50 - $2.50|
|Aluminum Oxide||$2 - $2.50|
|Steel Grit||$2 - $2.50|
|Walnut Hulls||$2 - $3|
|Pumice||$2.50 - $3.50|
|Silicon Carbide||$4 - $4.50|
|Acrylic||$4 - $4.50|
|Copper Slag||$4 - $5|
Corn cobs are one of the most affordable blasting media costing $0.81 to $1 per pound. Their granular abrasives are made by crushing the woody ring from corn cobs into grits. As an organic blast cleaning media, it’s the most environmentally friendly and great for cleaning soft, delicate surfaces without causing any damage to them. The grit sizes can vary from extra coarse to extra fine and are most commonly used to clean or strip wood. However, corn cob blasting is very labor-intensive, so contractors usually charge more than $2 per square foot to do it.
Silica Sandblasting Media
Silica is industrial sand and gravel with high silicon dioxide compounds. It costs around $1.50 to $1.80 per pound. It’s used in various industries, including construction, chemistry, and cleaning, due to its affordability and efficiency. However, cleaning with silica sand is prohibited in many countries because of the harmful airborne particles it releases that cause environmental and respiratory problems.
Soda blasting costs around $1.50 to $2.50 per pound and is one of the oldest blasting methods. It offers more protection for delicate surfaces because it is not as abrasive as some other blast media used for cleaning. The soda blasting cost per hour depends on the level of expertise you want, with the typical rate ranging between $45 and $75 per hour. However, some cleaning professionals may charge up to $300 per hour if the job is more complex.
Glass Bead Blasting Media
As their name suggests, these beads are made of glass and cost around $1.50 to $2.50 per pound. Because of their ball-like shape, they are mostly used to burr and clean up edges and give surfaces a smooth, bright finish. In addition to this, glass bead blasting media contains no lead or free silica, making it safe for the environment and the person doing the cleaning.
Aluminum Oxide Blast Media
Aluminum Oxide is one of the most commonly used abrasives in blast cleaning that costs around $2 to $2.50 per pound. It’s found in many cleaning products due to its hardness and strength, but it’s mostly used for abrasive cleaning of glass, granite, marble, and steel surfaces. However, it can damage some soft and gentle surfaces because of its strength. When cleaning delicate surfaces, it is best to avoid this method.
Steel Grit Blasting Media
Steel grit is a cost-effective blasting media that you can find for $2 to $2.50 per pound. Because of its price and high recyclability, it’s a great alternative to other more expensive abrasives. In addition to this, it’s a highly aggressive blast media that is most commonly used for cleaning, stripping, and improving a metal surface. This material is not recommended for delicate surfaces but is the preferred option for heavy-duty blasting jobs.
Another organic way of blast cleaning is by using walnut hulls, which typically cost between $2 and $3 per pound. This media is made by crushing walnut shells. Although they are part of the soft abrasives, they are among the hardest of that group. They are ideal for cleaning soft surfaces that need harder cleaning and can take more pressure. It’s most commonly used to clean and polish soft metals, fiberglass, wood, plastic, and stone.
Pumice is a mild abrasive that typically costs $2.50 to $3.50 per pound. It has a low, sponge-like density that resembles foam, making it fit for situations that require less aggressive cleaning on light surfaces. It cuts through rust, scale, and coatings from wood, metal, and plastic surfaces. Pumice is an ideal mid-range choice when you need moderate abrasiveness for various cleaning needs.
Silicon Carbide Blast Media
Silicon carbide is one of the most expensive sandblasting media on our list. It costs between $4 to $4.50 per square foot. As the hardest abrasive blasting material, silicon carbide is the best fit for challenging blast cleaning jobs. It comes in several colors and purity levels and is mostly used because it’s highly effective and can be reused. For those who want an eco-friendly solution, this is worth the investment.
Acrylic sandblasting is also known as plastic abrasive grit and costs around $4 to $4.50 per pound, making it one of the more expensive blast cleaning media on our list. It’s mostly used on soft, sensitive surfaces because it is gentler and less aggressive than most other media. As such, it’s ideal for cleaning mold, anti-corrosion coatings, waxes, sealants, and adhesives.
Copper Slag Blast Media
Copper Slag is the byproduct left after copper extraction by smelting with a cost of $4 to $5 per pound. Copper slag is commonly used in blast cleaning for masonry. It is highly effective for cleaning, produces very low dust levels, and consumes less abrasive. However, copper contains some heavy metals that may be harmful to the cleaners, so many avoid using it in their blast cleaning process.
Average Labor Cost of Sandblasting
Most homeowners spend between $3,000 and $7,500 to sandblast a 1,500 square foot surface, which is $2 to $5 per square foot. Sandblasting services cost around $45 to $75 per hour, although most professionals charge per square foot at an average rate of $1.50 to $3 per square foot. This means that the typical labor costs for a 1,500 square foot property are around $2,250 to $4,500, while materials cost around $750 to $3,000. However, if the cleaning job is more complex, the costs would increase.
The work starts by protecting all surfaces within 30 feet of the area being blasted. The media can damage surrounding areas, so laying tarps or taping windows may be necessary to protect the building and landscaping. During the cleaning process, a compressor is used to put immense pressure on the media to direct it to the area being blasted. The amount of pressure used depends on the media and what is being removed.
Once the sandblasting is complete, the dry media is swept or vacuumed up, and the remaining media is washed away with water. Since some media can be reused, it is not uncommon for professionals to vacuum up the excess from contained tarps to use it in future cleaning jobs. You can expect the process to take between four and six hours to complete.
Dustless Blasting Price
The dustless blasting cost per hour ranges between $75 and $300 per hour if you hire a professional. Some jobs can be charged per square foot, with the typical cost going around $2 to $3 per square foot. This new, unique blasting method combines the abrasives with water to reduce the amount of dust in the air during the blasting process. The cost depends on the type of surface, the time it takes to clean it, the material that needs to be cleaned, and the dustless blasting equipment cost. While some jobs are charged by the hour, others are given a fixed rate. The cost to blast clean vehicle parts ranges from $40 for the wheel to $990 for the vehicle’s external surface.
Sandblasting and Powder Coating Cost
If the services are combined, you can expect to spend between $3,100 and $7,850 on sandblasting and powder coating costs or $3 to $10 per sq.ft. You may combine these two services when you are repainting vehicle rims, an entire car, or even if you are powder coating the siding on your home and want to sandblast the old paint, as well as dirt and grime, off before repainting. In some cases, professionals may discount services when combined, so be sure to ask for an estimate of sandblasting and powder coating together if this is something you need.
Sandblasting Health Risks
Abrasive blast cleaning produces high levels of dust and airborne particles, commonly known as silica. The inhalation of silica can result in a respiratory condition called silicosis, which can be fatal. Because of this risk, sandblasting is prohibited in many towns and states. Where it is not prohibited, respiratory protection, protective eyewear, and head protection are required to be used by a sandblaster.
Sandblasting is often used to remove paint from old structures. Many homes and buildings used lead paint before the ‘70s, so sandblasting paint may result in lead dust being released into the air. Swallowing or breathing lead dust may result in lead poisoning, which is why you should have the paint tested for the presence of lead before abrasive removal.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Rust Inhibitor Paint
After sandblasting anything, consider adding a coat of rust inhibitor, which costs around $200 to $250 per five-gallon bucket. A rust inhibitor is needed because when wet abrasives are used, the surfaces may have flash corrosion. Adding a coat of rust inhibitor creates a protective barrier that prevents the water and air from getting on the surface and initiating the oxidation process.
Average Cost to Sandblast a Swimming Pool
Having a swimming pool blast cleaned is typically $1 to $2 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the job. Over time, pools can show signs of wear so that you may notice the paint peeling or flaking. By sandblasting your pool, the paint becomes airborne and disappears, giving the swimming pool a cleaner, newer look. As most pools are made of concrete or fiberglass, the most effective blast cleaning method would be with light pressure and a slag media or white sand.
The cost to sandblast rims ranges between $20 and $70 per wheel. The overall cost depends on how many items you want to have cleaned, their size, and how much material will be used during the cleaning process. The most common reasons to sandblast wheels are to remove paint or primer or remove corrosion and grime. Some professionals offer package rates for rims or provide a discount when sandblasting the rest of the car, too.
Sandblast a Car
The typical cost to sandblast a car shell ranges between $550 and $750 for plastic media blasting and $800 and $1,100 for glass bead blasting. The overall cost to sandblast a car depends on which parts you want to have cleaned and the media you will use to do it. This quote includes the inside, outside, and underneath of the vehicle. The cost of sandblasting rims may or may not be included, so if you need that, be sure to ask.
Rejuvenating a driveway with sandblasting costs between $2 and $5 per square foot. Driveways take heavy vehicle and foot traffic during the day, causing the surface to get damaged and even slippery from car liquids. Cleaning it with blasting media makes it look fresher, and removes all debris, dust, and particles that may cause other potential hazards.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY. You can make sandblasting a DIY job. This is not recommended due to the harmful effects of some media used in the process. Professionals are trained and have the proper equipment needed to do the cleaning properly. It’s always recommended to hire an expert to do the job. If you still want to do the sandblasting yourself, make sure you have the proper protective gear and equipment before starting.
- Permits. If the sandblasting is done on private property, there is no need for a permit as no federal laws restrict this. However, sandblasting for a commercial purpose is subject to regulations by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Commission (OSHA).
- Damage. Even when the sandblasting is performed by trained professionals, there is always the chance of damage, not only to your home but also your neighbor’s home. Make sure that the professional you hire is properly trained and experienced in sandblasting to ensure they will do the job the safest way possible. In addition to this, you should make sure that you properly tarp and protect the property, so no damage is done to it during the process.
- Neighbors. Make sure you’ve notified your neighbors of the upcoming sandblasting job three days before starting so they can protect their property accordingly. You can either do it yourself or pay an extra fee to your contractor to do it and answer all questions they have. They will also be advised to protect their yard and move their vehicles to ensure that the dust and particles resulting from the sandblasting don’t end up in their home or cars.
- Alternatives. Some people suggest acid washing for certain materials or cleaning needs. While sandblasting is effective, acid washing can be more economical. It is also better for stripping difficult-to-remove materials and surfaces but can be dangerous because of the acid and other chemicals involved. Ultimately, it is best to ask a professional what they recommend.
- How much does it cost to have a trailer sandblasted?
The cost to sandblast a trailer depends on the time needed to clean it, typically around two hours. So, cleaning a trailer will cost around $80 to $150 for the whole job.
- How much is a sandblaster rental?
You can opt to rent sandblasting equipment for a day, which costs about $9 to $15 per day. You would also need to rent an air compressor for $15 to $30 a day and use an abrasive at the cost of around $1 per pound. You need around 12 pounds for 1,500 square feet.
- How much does a dustless blaster cost?
Buying dustless blasting equipment can cost anywhere between $7,500 to $35,000. Renting it costs $100 to $200 per day.
- How much can you make dustless blasting?
The cost of dustless blasting jobs is $45 to $75 per hour. The overall amount you can earn by doing this job depends on what you will clean and how much work you have. For instance, if you work a full eight-hour shift, you could make $360 to $600 per day.
- How much does a sandblaster cost?
Buying a sandblaster can cost as low as $70 for some very lightweight and low-pressure models, although the price goes up to $1,700 for heavy-duty sandblast cleaners.
- Is sandblasting good for a car?
Sandblasting is a fast and efficient way to remove paint, rust, and other contaminants from the surface of a car. However, it needs to be done professionally to ensure that the right media and methods are used for the task at hand.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.