Log home restoration consists of many different techniques and procedures. One procedure that may not be familiar to some log homeowners is "media blasting." Just the name sounds pretty aggressive and may cause concern. However, used properly it is the best method of removing certain coatings and finishes.
Media blasting is similar to sandblasting in that it is a system that uses compressed air to force a particular media through a hose onto a surface with enough force to remove a coating or other material from the surface being cleaned. Different media reacts differently depending on the surface being cleaned and the coating being removed.
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Sand being one the most abrasive media is generally used for more industrial applications such as rust removal from steel, epoxy paints, and other hard surfaces. Sand is not used as much as it once was because of the safety issues involved. Sand is made up of Silica, a known cancer-causing agent. Therefore other types of media that have become available are preferred and are widely used.
In the case of log home restoration, media blasting has become an acceptable way of cleaning and removing some finishes from the logs and other surfaces. As with any type of cleaning or stripping, care must be taken in order to not change the profile or damage the surface of the logs or other substrate.
There are many different types of blasting media being used on the market. The most popular for log home restoration are crushed corn cob, crushed glass or glass beads, and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda.) Each has its place and purpose.