How Much Does Sandblasting Cost?
Sandblasting, also sometimes called abrasive blasting, involves shooting a stream of abrasive material (like sand) against a surface. Sandblasting is used in many different situations to smooth, sand, shape, and clean hard surfaces. So, how much does this process cost?
Sandblasting typically costs $35 to $100 per hour or $2 to $16 per square foot. Some projects may be priced by the job, like sandblasting a car or engine which could cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The type of sandblasting and materials play a big role in the price.
Average Cost for Sandblasting
Sandblasting projects may be priced by the hour, square foot, or by the job. On average, most people spend between $40 and $75 per hour for sandblasting, with some jobs being even more expensive ($100 or more per hour).
If the job is priced by the project’s size or measurements, it’s typically between $2 and $16 per square foot. Where the job lands on the price spectrum depend on whether it’s light sandblasting or a more intensive, heavy-duty job.
|Very Light Sandblasting||$2 – $4 per square foot|
|Light Sandblasting||$3 – $5 per square foot|
|Medium Sandblasting||$4 – $8 per square foot|
|Heavy Sandblasting||$7 – $12 per square foot|
|Very Heavy Sandblasting||$10 – $16 per square foot|
How Much Does it Cost to Sandblast a House?
Sandblasting a structure typically costs between $2 and $16 per square foot. That means that the total price will vary quite a bit depending on the size. How much sandblasting is required and the materials used will determine how much the contractor charges per square foot.
The average single-family house in the U.S. has about 1,580 square feet of exterior wall space. So, that would mean that sandblasting an average-sized house could potentially cost anywhere from $3,160 to $25,280.
Where the project fell on the cost spectrum would depend on the type of sandblasting material used and whether it was light or heavy-duty blasting.
Still, in most cases, standard sandblasting on a house costs between $2 and $8 per square foot on average.
Average Sandblasting Cost
|Square Footage||Average Cost|
|1,000||$2,000 – $8,000|
|1,500||$3,000 – $12,000|
|2,000||$4,000 – $16,000|
|2,500||$5,000 – $20,000|
|3,000||$6,000 – $24,000|
|5,000||$10,000 – $40,000|
Types of Sandblasting and Costs
The actual cost to sandblast a surface depends on the method used. There are many different types of sandblasting and materials that are used to do the job. For example, a technician might use wet or dry sandblasting, glass bead blasting, dry ice blasting, or hydro blasting, just to name a few.
Each of these techniques has different prices and may be used for different purposes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of sandblasting and how much you could expect to pay for each.
Silica Sand or Quartz (Dry Sandblasting)
$2 to $5 per square foot.
This type of sandblasting refers to silicon dioxide, or standard sand. It uses silica or quartz as the blasting material, shot out using air pressure. The particles are blasted at a very high velocity, making it an effective method on all kinds of surfaces.
However, this isn’t the most popular type of sandblasting today due to environmental and health concerns caused by the excessive dust and silica particles in the air.
$1.50 to $3.50 per square foot.
Wet blasting uses water mixed in with pressurized air to propel the abrasive material at high speeds without all the dust and debris caused by standard dry sandblasting. This is one of the most common styles of sandblasting, but it’s not suitable for all kinds of surfaces or jobs.
Vacuum or Dustless Blasting
$2 to $4 per square foot.
This is sandblasting using a specialized machine that uses suction to remove abrasive materials propelled into the surrounding air. The materials are then cycled back into the unit and recycled for use. That makes the method more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly.
$1 to $3 per square foot.
Hydroblasting is not the same thing as wet sandblasting. While wet sandblasting combines water with abrasives, hydro blasting uses water in place of the abrasive material. Because it doesn’t use any additional materials, it’s a cheaper option compared to other methods. However, it may not be as effective and may not be an option for all jobs.
Dry Ice Sandblasting
$3 to $5 per square foot.
Dry ice sandblasting is one of the more expensive options and it’s one of the more modern methods. Rather than using air or water to propel an abrasive material, dry ice blasting uses pellets of dry ice as the abrasive. It’s a gentler process than some of the other abrasive materials. However, it requires certain conditions for safe use like proper handling and ventilation.
Glass Bead Blasting
$4 to $8 per square foot.
Glass beads can be used as another medium for sandblasting. They’re gentler than some of the other more abrasive mediums, making them a good option for more delicate surfaces. They’re a little more cost-effective because they can be used more than once. However, it’s usually more expensive than some of the other types of blasting.
Costs for Other Sandblasting Materials
The media used for sandblasting has a big impact on how much it will cost you. While the standard media is sand (silica or quartz), there are many other materials that can be used for the job.
The least expensive materials include corn cobs and silica, and the more expensive materials include silicon carbide, acrylic, and copper slag.
Here are some of the most common materials listed from least expensive to most expensive per pound:
|Media||Price Per Pound (Average)|
|Corn Cobs||$0.80 – $1|
|Silica||$1 – $1.50|
|Soda||$1.50 – $1.80|
|Glass Beads||$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|
How Much is Dustless Sandblasting?
In some cases, people may need to have sandblasting done without all the dust and debris contaminating the area and environment. There are technologies and equipment available to do the job without all the dust. However, these techniques are significantly more expensive than standard sandblasting.
Dustless sandblasting costs anywhere from $75 per hour up to $300 per hour depending on the professional. Some technicians may price the job by the square foot, but you should expect to pay a premium for this surface.
Sometimes, delicate vehicle components are sandblasted using dustless techniques. In that case, you could pay anywhere from $50 to $1,000 for a single component or blast the vehicle’s exterior.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Sandblaster?
If you decide to go the DIY route and do the sandblasting yourself, you could either purchase a sandblaster or rent one. If it’s a one-time project, renting is probably the way to go.
You can rent sandblasting equipment for around $10 to $15 per day, plus the cost to rent an air compressor if you don’t already have one. The air compressor rental is typically between $15 and $30 per day.
Depending on the type of abrasive materials you use, you could spend anywhere from less than $1 to about $5 per pound. Most of the options are in the $1 to $3 per pound price range.
If you’re going to sandblast a 1,500-square-foot surface, you’d need between 10 and 15 pounds of media. So, you should plan to spend at least $10 to $50 on abrasive materials to do the work yourself.
The Bottom Line
The price for sandblasting depends primarily on the surface you’re blasting, its size, and the method of blasting that the professional will use. To sandblast a house or another surface of around 1,500 square feet, would cost at least $3,000. It’s possible to do the work yourself for a fraction of the cost if you have the equipment, or you can rent sandblasting equipment for under $100 per day.
Still, there are other considerations besides just the cost. Some types of projects may require special permits, or there could be environmental regulations due to the dust and debris. Or, you could have to dispose of the waste in a specific way.
Not only that, but sandblasting isn’t appropriate for all surfaces and projects. It’s a powerful abrasive method and it can cause damage if it’s not done properly. For that reason, sometimes wet sandblasting is more appropriate than dry blasting. For something less abrasive, hydro blasting is an option that uses just water.
Sandblasting is a common method used in the automotive industry, and there aren’t many alternatives that are as labor and cost-efficient as blasting. The best thing to do is get multiple quotes so that you can choose the best professional for the job, considering the tech’s reputation and experience as well as the cost to make your decision.