Using a Soda Blast for Masonry Cleaning and Restoration

What You'll Need
Soda blast machine
Sodium bicarbonate
Work boots
Long-sleeve shirt
Air compressor
Pop-up tent or plastic sheets and metal poles
Masking tape

You can use a soda blast machine for many jobs that require you to refinish a surface. You can soda blast fiberglass, glass, metal, wood and even concrete and cement. A soda blast machine uses sodium bicarbonate, which is better known as baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate is safe for the environment, and is a very useful medium to clean masonry and help in its restoration. Using one of these machines is not a difficult job, and is actually fairly easy. The article that follows will explain how you can do it with little effort or time.

Step 1 – Prepare the Site

If you are going to be cleaning and restoring a brick wall that is a retaining wall, then you do not have to do much preparation. Cut plastic and tape it over windows and wood that you do not want to get refinished. If you are working on a half wall, then you may want to erect a pop-up tent, or place metal poles in the ground and drape plastic sheets over them, to cover the wall in a makeshift tent.This is if you are working close to a home you need to protect, or if vehicles are parked behind the wall. If not, then simply move ahead to the next step.

Step 2 – The Soda Blast Equipment

Soda blast equipment is not very complicated at all, and typically consists of only 3 parts, which include the gun, the canister and the compressor. The compressor is what provides the air that propels the sodium bicarbonate. The gun is the tool that focuses the sodium bicarbonate and the air stream. The canister holds the sodium bicarbonate. Make sure all of the air valves are on the “off” or “closed” position. Attach the hoses to the valves and tighten them by hand, and then use the wrench to make sure they are secure. Fill the canister with the sodium bicarbonate, up to the indicator line. These canisters are meant to be airtight. To make sure this is the case, close the lid of the canister and then pull the ring. This expels any trapped air and seals it tight. You are now ready to soda blast the masonry.

Step 3 – Soda Blast the Masonry

The actual process of soda blasting masonry is not difficult. Turn on the air compressor and open the valve on the nozzle of the blasting gun. Stand about a foot away from the masonry and pull the trigger. The sodium bicarbonate will be propelled and hit the wall. The closer you are, the stronger the stream. Adjust your position as needed. Release the trigger and inspect the masonry. Repeat as needed. Once the masonry is clean, you can turn off the soda blast equipment. Wipe the masonry down with soapy water.