Considerations in Surface Prep

As technology advances, so too do methods of accomplishing different jobs and tasks. Surface preparation is one of those jobs that has seen change and growth as a result of new technology. With equipment innovations that reduce costs and improve ROI, waterblasting has emerged as a strong alternative to sandblasting for removing old plaster or paint and preparing for new surfaces and coatings. 

Here are some top reasons to consider making the switch: a crew prepares the surface of a pool

  • Cleaner surface profile: Sandblasting creates an entirely new surface finish profile and traps contaminants within tiny valleys on the surface. On the other hand, waterblasting restores surfaces back to their original profile, creating a perfectly clean finish that is ready for resurfacing. Ultimately, waterblasting elevates surface prep to provide a quality finish and efficient overall process. 
  • Less hazardous waste: Sandblasting creates a significantly higher amount of hazardous waste than waterblasting. When sandblasting a pool, many contractors end up making two to three trips to the waste facility each day, meaning less time working and additional expenses such as fuel, labor hours and hazardous waste disposal fees. With waterblasting, many contractors collect the wastewater and allow it to evaporate, then dispose of remaining residue, cutting trips to dispose of material to once per week.
  • Easier access to materials: Finding water is cheaper and easier than industrial-grade sandblasting media such as aluminum oxide, garnet or steel grit for blasting. When it comes to budget, a 50-pound bag of aluminum oxide can cost around $70, while an equivalent volume of tap water costs only $0.20—a more than 99% cost savings. 
  • No dust: Every year, people are diagnosed with lung cancer that can be linked to silica dust exposure from jobs that create airborne concrete dust such as concrete cutting and sandblasting. Add in other serious risks, including irreversible scarring of the lungs, kidney disease and pulmonary disease, and the need to mitigate exposure and risk is clear. Waterblasting provides an immediate benefit over sandblasting as it eliminates silica dust contamination, providing the crew with cleaner and safer air. 
  • Cutting-Edge Technology: For some applications, waterblasting offers automated technology to increase safety and boost productivity. Magnetic carriers can be programmed to efficiently remove coatings from magnetic surfaces while operators control the robot from up to 100 feet away. This method significantly reduces the risk of injury from high-pressure water and hoses. 

Looking to the Future

Don’t let outdated methods stand in the way of achieving full potential. By embracing the latest technology, contractors can gain a competitive edge and increase profits. The upfront cost of switching to a new method may seem daunting but can pay off in the long run with improved efficiency, quality and safety.

About the Authors
Jetstream is a leading global manufacturer of industrial high-pressure waterblasting equipment, parts and accessories. With more than 45 years of experience in the industry, the company offers expertise in products and solutions for maximizing efficiency and minimizing downtime. For more information, visit