After Soda Blasting?

Now that you soda (or sand) blasted your project, what is the next step?

The main question to ask – is a coating going to be re-applied? If so, some sort of cleaning of the surface needs to be done. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has a higher than neutral pH and contains some degree of salt (chlorides). You must have a clean, oil free and pH neutral surface to ensure that you won’t have a coatings failure after any type of media blasting. Coating failures after soda blasting can usually be traced back to no pre-paint preparation or poor preparation or incorrect preparation. Baking soda is a wonderful media that allows you to do things that no other media will accomplish, but you need to educate yourself about the media and follow a few simple steps after blasting.

Consulting with coatings manufacturers before application can reveal a wealth of valuable information and help ensure a positive outcome to your project.

You have to start with a clean, prepped surface before you apply any coating – especially if you want it to last.

Here is a sampling of substrates and what we have found that works after soda and abrasive blasting:

  • Metals – All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Laboratories, HoldTight 102 by HoldTight Solutions and HoldBlast by ChlorRid are all around good products to use. Please consult these manufacturers web sites for specific product information.
  • Fiberglass – Any of the above recommendations will work and this includes boat bottoms and cars. Also for boats, Fiberglass Surface Prep #YMA601 by Interlux.
  • Wood – Sun Brite Wood Brightener – a citrus based wood bleach is a product that we like. It can be also used to brighten wood and remove rust stains on a variety of surfaces. Grocery store clear vinegar can be used too. Vary the concentration to achieve the desired effect.
  • Concrete – Many of the above products can be used.
  • Brick, block & mortar – Sun Brite Wood Brightener.

Why Clean Before Painting?

A quick message regarding vegetation:

Baking soda can burn or brown vegetation due to the pH of the product. Flowering plants that are more delicate seem to be more quickly affected. Leafy green plantings and common lawn grass seem less likely affected. Having said this, all vegetation can be affected by baking soda residue to different degrees depending on how much baking soda contacts the surface or ground and the type of vegetation. Use of breathable tarps to cover plantings around houses and decks is recommended. Follow removal of the tarps with a copious tap water wash down of the plantings. In areas where tarping is not practical, start with a generous pre-soaking of the plantings and ground the day before with tap water. Flood all plantings with tap water immediately after blasting. We have even used a lawn sprinkler to keep baking soda residue off plantings and to keep the ground wet during blasting operations. Baking soda is water soluble and use of additive free baking soda, like Natrium Products, will increase the likelihood of a good outcome.

There is no guarantee that you won’t burn vegetation with the above mentioned techniques – these are just some ideas that have worked. I always caution customers about the possibility of burning the vegetation. Because of what we can do with baking soda, most customers are happy to deal with any possible side effects.