How Much Does Sandblasting Cost?

Last Updated on December 15, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If you’re looking to restore a worn surface or remove stubborn debris, you may be considering sandblasting. But how much does sandblasting cost? This process uses high-powered jets of abrasive material to scour surfaces.

It leaves you with sparkling clean materials ready for restoration. Prices depend on factors like the size of the job, coatings getting removed, and the surface itself. Generally plan on rates of $3 to $7 per square foot as a homeowner.

Keep reading for more details on achievable price ranges for different needs!

How Much Does Sandblasting Cost?

Typically, the cost of sandblasting is anywhere between $3 and $7 per square foot.

  • Low end – $3 per square foot
  • Average – $5 per square foot
  • High end – $7 per square foot

On a medium-sized job (like a 1500 sq ft house), the cost to sandblast is around:

  • Low end – $3,000 total
  • Average – $5,250 total
  • High end – $7,500 total

Yelp says that the average cost of most residential sandblasting projects ranges from $400–3,500, including labor and material costs.

According to HomeAdvisor, it costs an average of $987 to sandblast a home’s exterior, with a typical price range of $437 and $1,641. The total project cost of sandblasting will heavily depend on the size of the area to be sandblasted.

Fixr.com notes that the national average cost for sandblasting is $5,250, with an average range of $3,000-$7,500 for a 1,500-square-foot surface. The typical cost ranges between $2 and $5 per square foot, although the upper limit can go up to $16 per square foot depending on several factors.

We’ll explore what impacts rates in more detail below. But first, a quick primer on how sandblasting works and why someone may need it.

Sandblasting is a way to clean and smooth out rough, hard surfaces using small bits of material sprayed at high speeds. It can remove all kinds of stuff – dirt, rust, paint, etc. This process goes by other names too, like abrasive blasting.

It works by shooting tiny hard pieces called “media” at the surface needing cleaning. The media bits hit the surface at high speeds thanks to compressed air blasting them out. This impacts and cuts into the stuff on the surface that needs removing.

The average homeowner pays $3,000-$7,500 to lightly sandblast around 1,500 square feet of surface. Most spend about $5,250 for this amount. Prices depend quite a bit on the options picked though.

Using gentle corn cobs as media on 1,500 square feet might cost only $1,500. For a deeper clean with heavy-duty copper slag media on the same size area, expect closer to $24,000!

What Gets Sandblasted?

Sandblasting removes coatings from materials to reveal the clean surface underneath. Common stuff taken off includes paint, rust, grime, etc. It also smooths out dents, scratches, and rough textures from fabrication or wear. Due to the abrasive blast, it works where other cleaning methods might struggle.

You might also like our articles about the cost to fix car rust, to paint a car, or to fix a keyed car.

Sandblasting sees lots of use in cleaning machinery, tools, buildings, infrastructure, and more. While not gentle enough for everything, it excels at tough cleaning jobs. DIY-ers can try small projects like metal prep or graffiti removal if properly equipped.

Cost factors for a sandblasting project

Several things impact the price, like:

  • Surface size – More square footage means more time & media.
  • Coating type/thickness – More coats or tougher coatings need more work.
  • Surface material – Soft stuff like wood needs gentler, slower methods.
  • Media used – Aggressive media costs more and drives up project prices.
  • Access issues – Tight spots or heights require special equipment.

As you can see, prices vary quite a bit depending on needs!

Surface size matters for sandblasting pros

The price charged fluctuates mainly based on the total size of the area getting sandblasted. Cleaning a bigger space takes more media, time, and effort. Jobs usually quote by the square foot to account for this. Below are typical price ranges to sandblast different sq. footages:

  • 1,000 square feet: $2,000 – $5,000
  • 1,500 square feet: $3,000 – $7,500
  • 2,000 square feet: $4,000 – $10,000
  • 2,500 square feet: $5,000 – $12,500
  • 3,000 square feet: $6,000 – $15,000

The per square foot cost drops slightly with bigger areas as the fixed effort of setting up and breaking down makes up less of the overall job. But in general, more surface equals higher prices.

Cleaning Times Also Impact Costs

Instead of square footage, some pros price sandblasting jobs by the hour. The range usually falls between $45-$75 per hour. Complex stuff like a detailed metal part takes longer, so hourly makes sense overcharging by total size.

Spendy specialty media, extensive prep/cleanup, access challenges, and other fun surprises can push the hourly to $300+ though! Clarify what’s included when getting quotes.

Match Blast Intensity to the Job

Picking the right abrasive power for the situation saves money and headaches. Too weak, and crud remains. Too strong risks damage. Four main intensity levels exist:

  • Very light (~1/32″ cutting depth)
  • Light (~1/16″ cutting depth)
  • Medium (~1/4″ cutting depth)
  • Heavy-duty (~3/8″ cutting depth)

Going heavier than needed wastes money. And remember – soft stuff calls for gentle blasting, while tough coatings need more muscle.

Cost per square foot by sandblasting intensity:

  • Very light: $1-$3
  • Light: $2-$5
  • Medium: $4-$8
  • Heavy-duty: $7-$16

What Method Works Best?

Sandblasting relies on media propelled at the surface for cleaning. Several methods shoot the media in different ways:

  • Hydroblasting – Water jet degradation/cutting. No media.
  • Wet blasting – Mixes water and media. Prevent dust.
  • Dry blasting – Compressed air transports media. Messier.
  • Dry ice blasting – Uses frozen CO2 pellets. Evaporates. No secondary waste.

Wet blasting, the most common method, costs around $1.30-$3.50 per square foot. Dry ice blasting runs $3.50-$5 per square foot due to the exotic media and extra equipment involved. Matching method to job saves money.

Surface Type Sets Price

Prepping wood, concrete, iron, and other materials needs different approaches. Prices reflect this:

  • Tile – $1.50-$3 per sq ft
  • Stucco – $1.50-$3.50 per sq ft
  • Wood – $2-$3 per sq ft
  • Brick – $2.50-$3 per sq ft
  • Concrete – $2.50-$3.50 per sq ft
  • Wrought Iron – $4-$8 per sq ft

For example, wood and stucco require gentle blasting to avoid damage, while robust materials like brick and concrete allow stronger methods. Pick an experienced pro familiar with your surface type.

Media Matters

While sand ranks as the cheapest abrasive, better options exist. Aggressive blast media cuts faster but costs more. Some choices:

  • Corn cobs – $0.80-$1 per lb
  • Walnut shells – $2-$3 per lb
  • Baked soda – $1.50-$2.50 per lb
  • Steel grit – $2-$2.50 per lb
  • Copper slag – $4-$5 per lb

Harder stuff like steel grit removes material quicker at the cost of surface safety. Something gentle like corn cobs balances cleaning action and friendliness.

Some media leaves nasty dust or residue. Specifying “dustless blasting” helps control mess. This mixes water and gentle media, capturing over 99% of debris. Avoid silica sands and other harmful blast media illegal in many places nowadays.

What’s Sandblasting Labor Cost?

Unless quoted hourly, sandblasting services generally run $1.50-$3 per square foot including labor. That puts a typical 1,500 sq ft home between $2,250-$4,500 for work time.

Materials add $750-$3,000 depending on project scope and media used. Complex jobs with expensive abrasives and access challenges rack up additional costs quickly.

Allow 4-6 hours from start to clean finish for a basic exterior house sandblasting job. Time covers proper setup, window/door protection, blasting itself, media removal, site cleaning, and barrier removal. Working around landscaping and tight architectural details slows the pace as well.

Dustless Blasting – A Popular Green Alternative

Dustless blasting provides cleaning with reduced debris and environmental impact. Instead of dry media creating clouds of junk, it mixes abrasives with water first. This eliminates almost all airborne dust.

Pros usually charge $75-$300 per hour. Or quote a square foot price of around $2-$3. Factors like surface type, size, coating removal challenges, etc still apply for total cost.

It shines cleaning vehicle parts, powder coating prep, sensitive gear, indoor jobs, and other places regular abrasive blasting falls short. Rental systems run $100-$200 daily. Contract gear costs from $7,500 to $35,000 new.

Combine Sandblasting With Powder Coating

Want a weather-proof paint job on metal parts or siding? Combine sandblasting to strip off old paint and grime, then apply powder coating. The roughened, clean surface left after blasting allows the powder coating to mechanically adhere much better.

The combo costs $3-$10 per square foot – say $3,100-$7,850 for a typical small home exterior. Sharing setup labor, equipment rental, etc between both process brings some savings over paying for each independently.

Health & Safety Notes

Done incorrectly, sandblasting poses serious health hazards. Fine particulate matter causes long-term breathing danger. Media containing silica or lead brings further risks needing safety equipment to limit exposure. Consider limitations in your area.

Even with experienced crews, risks exist. Make sure anyone doing abrasive blasting understands proper gear like respirators, protective suits, blast shields, etc. Containing work areas protects workers and surroundings alike. Scheduled cleanups minimize environmental dust impact.

It is also wise to inform neighbors beforehand since stripping exterior building paint potentially disperses old lead-based layers. Make sure crews test for lead just in case.

Enhance the Work Further

Once crud disappears via blasting, several options help keep it looking nice:

  • Apply rust inhibitors to protect newly exposed metal – $200-$250
  • Add sealant to porous cleaned concrete to limit stains – $75+ per gallon
  • Prime and paint the stripped surface – Varies by size
  • Repeat blast cleaning in future years as needed

DIY Sandblasting?

Sandblasting a pipeIn theory, you can rent equipment and buy media to sandblast yourself. However lack of experience risks botched jobs, property damage, injury exposure, and environmental releases. Engage qualified help instead unless you really know what you’re doing!

Sandblasting makes short work restoring filthy exteriors and equipment to like-new condition. While prices fluctuate based on needs, expect around $3-$6 per square foot for typical jobs. Size, coatings, and materials impact final costs more than any other factors. Carefully match intensity and technique to the situation without overdoing.

Other Cost Impacting Factors:

  • Volume discounts on big jobs
  • Hourly vs per sq ft. rate structures
  • Regional wage & material differences
  • Equipment employed (controls precision)

Accounting For Unforeseen Issues

No two sandblasting jobs ever proceed identically. Unfortunately, excessive corrosion, failed paint layers, accessibility snags, hardware damage risks, and related surprises lurk on some plans. Ensure reasonable contingency allowances exist in all cost estimates to cover inevitable hiccups.

How Can I Reduce Sandblasting Costs On My Property?

Now that we covered why rates fluctuate, here are some options for possibly lowering your specific abrasive blasting costs:

Provide Own Media If Allowed

Since media abrasion directly drives pricing, supplying your own may cut expenses substantially. This depends heavily on contractor equipment compatibility of course. And doing so means forfeiting any volume purchase discounts they enjoy. However, the potential savings justify asking if customer-provided media is an option before finalizing agreements.

Negotiate By Total Job Instead of Hourly

Some firms bid sandblasting jobs hourly assuming excessive complications from unknowns. Try negotiating fixed pricing instead. This transfers unexpected overrun risk back onto the vendor in exchange for capped payments. Potentially saves money but introduces some scheduling risk if the duration is dragged out.

Consider Scheduling During Slow Periods

Most sandblasting outfits balance seasonal influxes from various industries. For example, colder months going towards infrastructure and equipment refurbishment versus warmer construction activity. Ask if pricing fluctuations are based on cycles.

Compare Multiple Bidders

Pricing sandblasting jobs remains as much art as science in the eyes of contractors. Getting multiple quotes introduces healthy competition. But when reviewing bids, keep apples-to-apples by confirming assumptions and details at an equivalent level of specificity. Doing so avoids unfair cheaper appearances simply lacking proper scoping compared to higher priced experienced outfits planning rigorously.

Consider Alternate Methods

In niche situations, alternate approaches may prove cheaper than sandblasting to remove coatings. Chemical stripping avoids abrasion but introduces handling issues with nasty solvents and caustics requiring special personal protection and environmental disposal considerations.

Additional Costs To Keep In Mind

While sandblasting itself makes up the bulk of the price, remember secondary expenses like those below, that may hide in estimates unless specifically called out.


Structures built prior to 1978 risk containing lead paint requiring abatement procedures dependent on jurisdictions. Always test layers getting disturbed beforehand.

Containing Debris

Sandblasting pensions for spreading messy and unhealthy debris far and wide without strict containment measures. Ensure quote scoping accounts for barriers, screens, and verification of neighbor advance notifications to avoid unintended costs stopping work responding to complaints.

Setup and Transport Fees

Mobilizing compressor and media delivery equipment means surprisingly high costs and minimums from rental vendors. These emerge as line items or get bundled into hourly rates unless specifically added to quotes.

Permit Fees

Rarely on private residential properties, but zoning or historic preservation districts may require oversight paperwork and costs before authorizing abrasive blasting facades.


Some contract language specifies leaving the site cleaner than started. Third-party inspectors ensure meeting debris removal or containment dismantling requirements before releasing payment.


Sandblasting often constitutes an interim step in preparing for recoating or sealing. Ensure an adequate budget exists for subsequent finish renewal or repairs after subtracting abrasive job expenditures.

How Much Does Sandblasting Equipment Cost To Rent or Buy?

Contractors furnish capital equipment like compressors, blast pots, and media recovery systems permitting project pricing excluding those investments. But curiosity might have you wondering what market rates or purchase expenses should be considered for major gear either way. Here are typical budgets to get an idea should you ever consider acquiring specialty abrasive blast tooling:

Daily Rental Fees

  • Compressor – $50-$150
  • Blast pot – $40-$75
  • Accessories – $30-$60
  • Mobile dust collector – $45-$100

Purchase Costs

  • Production pneumatic blasting pot – $2,000-$8,000
  • Multi-nozzle blast cabinet – $7,500-$30,000
  • Towable trailer rig – $12,000-$60,000

Final Words

The cost of a Sandblasting project fluctuates mainly according to total size, coatings abraded, surface sensitivity, and access constraints at roughly three to seven dollars per square foot for general exterior building revitalization projects.

2 replies
  1. rachel frampton
    rachel frampton says:

    My dad would like to preserve his factory’s exterior painting, which is why he’s thinking of hiring an industrial coating service that will offer to sandblast. Well, it never occurred to me that wet blasting is more affordable compared to dry-blasting. Thank you for also sharing here that dry blasting is safer compared to the dry process.

  2. Chris Pederson
    Chris Pederson says:

    I mean, $50-$100 an hour sounds pretty reasonable for sandblasting. I don’t want to get into it because it just seems too messy. So I’d rather just hire someone to help me out the couple of times I’ll need it.


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