Sand Blasting Results and Cost Can Vary Enormously Depending on the Grit Supplier

Abrasive blasting – usually called sandblasting as a genericised term – uses a range of materials under pressure to strip surfaces of contaminates. The process varies considerably in methods, materials and pressures; indeed, ideal results require a thorough understanding of the physics involved and a skilled operator.

One of the most important decisions is the media used for stripping. According to major sand blasting grit suppliers, the most-used abrasives include:

  • Aluminium oxide
  • Garnet
  • Crushed glass or bead
  • Plastic
  • Specialty media

Specialty media can use a wide range of unusual material, such as corn cob and walnut shells, to achieve unusual patterns and results. More recently, garnet is drawing attention as the abrasive of choice for a very wide swath of sand blasting. Usable for both surface preparation and finished results, the advantages have propelled it to take an ever-widening portion of the market. To understand how to choose the best sand blasting grit suppliers, you’ll want to understand how to choose the right grit for the job.


One of the most popular choices, garnet is an ideal choice for the widest range of applications and is technically considered a semi-precious stone when in gem form. It’s formed when rock that contains a lot of aluminium is put under extreme pressures found deep underground. It’s brought to the surface by either tectonic or volcanic action and usually extracted by grit manufacturers from andradite and almandite deposits.

Garnet is a genuine ripper and is overtaking other media as one of the most sought-after grits from sand blasting grit suppliers. The grains are especially uniform compared to other grit and are almost entirely free from embedment, allowing reuse of media and a perfect surface for coating. It’s also ideal for finishing surfaces thanks to particle size precision and the lack of reactivity of garnet.

Another major advantage is that it’s low-consuming and creates far less dust. This is safer for the worker – both in breathing and visibility – and can be essential for work site sandblasting where dust reduction is key. It’s also essential – and may be required by law – when working around bodies of water or where contamination is a serious concern. Since it occurs naturally and is non-toxic, it’s much better for the environment than many other choices.

Plus, garnet can save significant money thanks to its ability to be reused considerably more than most other grit. It’s also far faster, thanks to the extreme sharpness of the surface edges of crushed garnet, saving labour costs. Surfaces that have been cleaned with garnet tend to last longer than some other media results, in part because garnet is highly inert, and also because it leaves a smoother finish and less porosity.

Garnet is suitable for most general-purpose abrasive blasting. It can be used for any job that sand or aluminium oxide can, with the added advantages listed above. It’s ideal for bridges, docks, harbors and marine use thanks to the non-toxic nature, and is also excellent for wet sanding. It’s become the preferred choice for fiberglass surfaces and aluminium structures as well.

Garnet Grit Size

Good sand blasting grit suppliers will offer a range of sizes for various uses. 20/40 grit garnet and 30/60 grit garnet are best suited for:

  • Removing asphalt from trucks
  • Heavy machinery
  • Road marking removal
  • Stripping heavy rust
  • Steel boats
  • Thermo plastic
  • Mill scale removal
  • General heavy stripping

80 grit garnet and 120 grit garnet are ideal for:

  • Automotive
  • Cleaning tools
  • Lighter rust removal
  • Hardwood timber stripping
  • Standard paint removal (including graffiti) from brick, steel and concrete
  • 2 Pac paint removal
  • Aluminium boats
  • Exposing aggregate particles
  • Sandstone
  • Finished surfaces
  • Whenever very fine media is needed

For more information on grit sizes, click here.

Crushed Glass and Bead

Crushed glass or beads are good as a light-duty stripping media and are considered generally environmentally safe. The crystalline structure means that, for breathing purposes, it’s considered silica-free, so silicosis isn’t a hazard when using it. It’s a less aggressive media so it isn’t great for heavy stripping, but it leaves a smooth, satin matte finish and provides less stress to the surface being blasted. Glass beads can usually be recycled for reuse.


Plastic urea abrasive is ideal for no-etch stripping. Its soft nature allows it to be used where hard media, such as garnet and aluminium oxide, would destroy surfaces being cleaned. It’s fast-acting in the right circumstances and can safely be used to strip and clean plastic, polish metal and can strip glass without frosting it. It’s very common in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Other Forms of Sandblasting

Waterjet sandblasting uses either a pure jet of water to strip surfaces or adds abrasives for an enhanced cutting capability. When the jet is just water, it’s more precisely called hydro blasting; when abrasives are used, it’s called wet abrasive blasting and entrained granules dramatically enhance the speed and depth of the cut. Garnet is not reactive with water and is considered ideal for entrained water jet cutting. Contact Abrasive Media Suppliers for advice about the best choice for your application.

There are other ways to sandblast, including wheel blasting (which uses a spinning wheel instead of high-pressure air or liquid), dry ice blasting, bristle blasting (using a rotary steel wire bristle) and vacuum blasting, a method very useful to prevent dust spread. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Abrasive Media Supplies is dedicated to being a one-stop-shop for all your abrasive media needs. To request other media supplies with AMS, click here.

Choosing the right abrasive is as critical as using the right pressures and blast methods. If your company performs abrasive blasting as a significant portion of your operations, you need to purchase your abrasives in bulk from top sand blasting grit suppliers to reduce the price per pound. Also consider the reusability in your return on investment calculations, as well as the impact of job speed on labour costs.

Our blaster directory is now live!

Jackie warned you it was coming!

If you haven’t got your listing sorted, now is the time to get your details listed. The blaster directory gives you the ability to advertise your services and products as well as display pictures of your capabilities and previous work achievements.

Just another way Jackie at Abrasive Media Supplies is working with you to ensure your success.

Our blaster directory is now live!

The blaster directory gives you the ability to advertise your services and products as well as display pictures of your capabilities and previous work achievements.

Enquire Now