So what's the difference between Dustless Blasting and power washing? Here is the basic rule to keep in mind:
Power Washing = Cleaning
Dustless Blasting = Removing Coatings While Cleaning
Let's go over some of the key differences between these processes.
Abrasive for Stripping Power
Both methods use water and pressure to clean surfaces. However, Dustless Blasting incorporates an eco-friendly abrasive in the process as well.
The addition of abrasive allows you to profile the substrate. By removing a microscopic outer layer, this will expose a clean surface underneath. An example would be this stained and darkened wood:
Power washing is better for surface level cleaning. It will remove light staining, but won't effectively remove coatings such as paint, rust, or Bondo.
Check out this comparison video to see it in action:
Water Pressure & Consumption
A power washer operates between 2000–3000 PSI, whereas the Dustless Blaster operates between 30–150 PSI. That's because the abrasive does most of the work.
Low operating pressure means that the Dustless Blaster uses less water than a power washer. It only consumes about 20 gallons of water per hour, compared to 120-480 gallons per hour with an average power washer. This means you don't have to worry about being connected to a constant water source.
Creating an Anchor Profile
When blasting metal, most abrasives will create a textured surface for the new coating to stick to. This is referred to as an “anchor profile," and it helps the coating stay stronger for longer.
An anchor profile is desired on metal surfaces that are to be repainted, like a car. However, there are some situations in which to avoid profiling the surface. If you were stripping stain from a log cabin, you can select the right abrasive to avoid profiling the soft wood in an unwanted way.
You can use power washing to clean soft wood or brick without worrying about unwanted surface profiling. Again, this is best for cleaning grime and dirt — power washing can't remove the wood stain from the example above.
Which one should I pick?
A power washer and a Dustless Blaster are both good tools, they just serve different purposes. Dustless Blasting is more effective and efficient when it comes to paint stripping and cleaning. It can handle a larger number of jobs across multiple applications.
Power washing is an economical choice for small cleaning jobs. Many of our business owners have added a power washing tool to their arsenal of stripping and cleaning services, because it can be used to rinse away spent blast media from the ground.
Here is what some of our contractors have to say:
"If nothing else, it's good to have for clean up. Also gives customers extra options."
— Joe L., Business Owner
"Two completely different things. One is cleaning, the other is stripping."
— Be R., Business Owner
"We have relationships with [power washing companies] and recommend each other for projects. Do you really want to spend a day making $50 per hour power washing or $200 per hour Media Blasting?"
— Colin J., Business Owner
"I have a pressure washer on my truck but I also made contact with some local pressure washing companies. They refer me business and I refer them. Don’t look at pressure washers as competition, look at them as part of your network."
— Mike S., Business Owner
Power washing can be a great way to add services to your blasting business and make more money. If you are interested in starting your own surface preparation business, visit our Start A Business Website!