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Thread: Soda Blast Removal of House Paint practical? If so...

  1. #1

    Question Soda Blast Removal of House Paint practical? If so...


    My apologies that this post may be misplaced in this forum but I didn't know where else to ask on this site; and for its length.

    I have never done soda blasting and was wondering if I could practically use this process to remove exterior paint on a home as described here in an earlier painting forum post:

    Current Project:
    I would like to strip and paint a 2-story house measuring approx. 30-ft x 24-ft, along with a with a detached garage measuring approx. 12-ft x 20-ft. It has 1940’s Transite (Portland cement / asbestos; a.k.a. “Slate”) type siding that has texture grooving and is in overall good shape. I also would like to remove paint from some of the wood trim without raising the grain.
    This is a rather straightforward undertaking that I would like to expedite without sacrificing too much quality and finish longevity.

    A Little History:
    It was last stripped and painted (without a primer coat, ugh!) about 15-years ago with acrylic latex. It held up pretty well considering the weather extremes but is understandably peeling; particularly after a couple of winter seasons where the furnace humidifier was set higher that normal, resulting in accelerated peeling in the areas around the attic vents and other areas where interior moisture became excessive. There are several areas where the paint can be peeled off in small sheets, so the removal, I suspect, should not be too difficult using any manual, chemical, or mild blasting type method. Here is a sample photo of the siding in question:

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    When the house was last stripped and painted, we had carefully stripped the old latex paint using a hand scraper and wire brush, being mindful and relatively careful so as not to release (“fry”) asbestos fibers into the air. Much of this was done under wetted conditions to further reduce the risk. It went surprisingly well but I would not want to go through that particular process again with regards to paint removal and prep.

    Paint Removal Options:
    This time around, I was thinking of using a heat-gun or infrared stripping method, but that again appears as though it would be rather tedious undertaking.

    I really don’t want to pressure wash / strip primarily because of the soggy mess produced and the possibility of water getting up under the siding. Also, I don’t think it would do a very good job getting the heavier paint accumulations from the bottom edge of the siding panels, and possibly requiring much hand scraping afterwards anyway. It would also be difficult to do the stripping with a pressure washer at the higher elevations with only a ladder as the primary means, so I’ve kind of ruled this method out.

    I’ve also contemplated using some chemical strippers like “Smart Strip” and/or “Peel Away” by Dumond, but ‘am a bit discouraged from doing so for the following reasons:
    1. Relatively expensive. I figure it would take at least 20-galllons of product, costing anywhere from $600 on up. I’d rather invest this money in equipment that I could reuse again for this and or other purposes.
    2. There is only one layer of latex paint to remove from the siding, for the most part; therefore it seems to be a bit of overkill in using this type of product.
    3. The Smart Strip product apparently can be sprayed on, but requires a rather high-end, professional airless paint sprayer setup to be able to deliver the product effectively. I wouldn’t mind having such a paint sprayer to do the painting as well, but ‘would just as well prefer to brush paint as before.
    4. The Peel Away product cannot be sprayed-on as such and requires rather expensive paper to do the peeling away of the paint.

    Soda Blasting?
    What appeals to me, considering the type of siding that we are dealing with here, is something along the lines, not as abrasive as media blasting, but perhaps a method used in auto body refinishing, something more on the order of soda blasting. I was wondering if anyone has used this (or similar) method to efficiently remove house paint?

    Wow, that’s a Big Compressor / Overhead Cost:
    My searches along the lines of local equipment rental and/or purchase of related hardware necessary to do this was not too successful both in terms of being cost effective and meeting the necessary pressure requirements of a suitable soda blaster (other than small scale) it would appear. For most apparently “suitable” soda blasters, the pressure requirements are in the area of ~18 CFM @ ~ 90PSI; the CFM and tank volume (minimum of 30 gallon?) appear to be the catch, thus requiring a rather hefty air compressor along with necessary air filtering, drying and pressure regulating accessories.

    It would appear that a new, suitable combo abrasive / soda blaster could be bought in the area of around $400-700, but the compressor alone (if new) would run anywhere from ~$900 min. on up; more likely it would be around $2.5k overall if portable engine driven was desired; not real sure what would be required. Would anyone have any suitable configuration recommendations along these lines?


    So, I guess I would like to confirm if soda blasting would be a practical approach here; and if so, could anyone recommend an economical, effective system to accomplish this? There is only one layer of latex paint applied (no primer coat) and, if seen as a practical approach, I would hope that it wouldn’t take a lot of soda / media, but if we we’re talking over (20) 50# bags I think I may have to rule this method out.

    I’d like to keep the major hardware costs (less media) that would comprise a complete system to under $2k if possible. Following are some components considered, but I’m certainly open to suggestions along these lines or otherwise:

    Soda / Media Blaster: A few soda blasters considered:
    4. Ace model 2-PS

    Air Compressor: What would be suitable ratings for an associated compressor for this project?
    Note: I don’t want to limit myself to something that will be constantly turning on and off either due to insufficient tank capacity or CFM flow, yet I’m on a rather tight budget. It would appear that if I were to go beyond 16CFM, I would be looking at a 2-stage air compressor with a 7.5HP electric motor costing upwards of $2k; ouch!
    Here are a few new air compressors that I’m presently contemplating:
    2. - vi-content

    Filter/Dryer: I’m thinking it best to perhaps locate the compressor temporarily in the dehumidified basement of the house (as opposed to outside in the garage) to help reduce airline moisture. Would some form of supplemental Air Filter/Drying apparatus be recommended? I’m contemplating options such as the following:

    Soda / Media: Considering the paint to be removed and the underlying surfaces (i.e. Transite siding and wood trim), what type of soda would you recommend using?

    Any suggestions / recommendations along these lines would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Pottstown, PA



    Great question, let me try and answer in short, to-the-point manner. If I missed anything let me know!

    In my opinion soda blasting would be the most best option for removing paint in that situation. Many auto enthusiasts use soda for fiberglass bodied cars like corvettes where they want to remove the paint, but not damage the gel coat that protects and seals the fiberglass. You want to do a similar thing and the soda is perfect for that. Another nice thing is that the soda breaks down after it hits the surface and will wash away with rain and isn't harmful to the environment like some other abrasives out there.

    Soda Blasting does require a compressor on the large side that has a good air filtration system. Whichever compressor you choose, you should consider purchasing an additional air dryer or at least a desiccant system to help dry the air before going into the blaster. Soda HATES moisture and you will instantly get clogs if you don't add some extra filtration. Another option could be to rent a compressor from a rental store if you have no other use for a compressor in the future.. but again you may need to add some last-chance filtration before the blaster.

    Our 2-stage system you linked above is ideal for keeping the moisture down. Be sure to drain it often! You may want to also screw on a Last Chance Filter at the end of the air line just before the air fitting. This will get out any last trace contaminates your filtration system may have missed. For how cheap they are, the extra insurance is worth it!

    For soda I'd suggest you get blasting specific Soda Media and avoid at all costs using house-hold baking soda! Our soda with the large crystals will be the most abrasive and take off most paint. You can always dial the flow/pressure back a little if you feel it is a hair too aggressive for your application, or just keep the blast nozzle a little further from the surface.

    Lastly, don't forget to get a good media blasting safety gear to assure you keep your body safe from the dust and particles that will be flying!

    Hope that helps!


  3. #3


    Thanks Matt for diving in and providing your helpful feedback to my rather lengthy initial post.
    At this point, I have just a few general follow-up questions (I'll try to be brief):

    1. Is the “2-stage system" that you refer to, the 100#, “2-in-1” blaster starter kit selling for around $719 (Item #50502)? Does this unit have a good metering valve to regulate the introduction of soda into the air stream? Any sort of moisture trap?

    2. Can I get a 25’ hose (w/ dead-man) for this unit or would a longer hose just open the door for more moisture to be introduced, reduced outlet pressure, etc?

    3. Would you recommend a minimum 1/2” id air delivery hose to the blast pot considering that the compressor may be located up to 75’ from the blast pot? I’m contemplating either of these hoses:

    4. If I were to consider the above mentioned soda blaster, I would probably be looking to purchase a compressor such as one of these to drive it:
    Do you foresee any concerns with the CFM, pressure and tank capacity ratings of a unit like this, along with the other criteria that I've provided (i.e. possible 100' delivery hose, filtering / drying (I may opt for the:
    as an air drying option, etc))?

    5. Any recommendations for soda blasting wood trim (i.e. media (medium abrasive?), pressure setting, etc.))? Trial and error?

    6. Based upon the house dimensional information provided (approx. 30-ft x 24-ft) and the condition and type of paint to be removed, is there anyway that you could provide a ballpark estimate of the amount of blasting soda that would be required for a simple house of this size? A liberal estimate to do the Garage as well? Here’s an earlier photo (it’s about 10-ft up to the eves line and 20-ft to the peak):
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    7. Would your Heavy-Duty Portable Soda Pressure Blaster, Item #11804 be considered overkill for a project such as this, or would it perhaps do a less troublesome and more efficient job overall? Even though it costs considerably more, I may consider it if the features, construction and performance were appreciable; I really like some of the features that it has, in being similar to the ACE model PS-2. The greater CFM requirement is another issue however.

    8. Do you sell refurbished or used soda blasters along these lines? Or, can you suggest any parties that might? Note: I'm sure that I would have other future uses for the blaster including minor auto body work as well.

    Thanks for your (and any others') further insights.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Pottstown, PA


    I was referring to our 2-stage filter/dryer system not a blaster specifically. The starter kit would work , but for such a large job like you are doing the Heavy duty kit would be ideal.. I know the price difference is substantial, but that is more suited to heavier blasting. As you mentioned though the CFM requirements are a bit higher and would need a substantial compressor to feed it without having to wait for the compressor to catch up.

    We usually can't give exact quotes for quantity of soda, but we advise a full size classic car body would take 10-12 bags of media to blast.. if that gives you any way to gauge.

    One of the larger gas powered compressors would definitely be the best bet!

    We do not offer refurbished units I'm afraid and not sure of anywhere that does.



  5. #5


    Ahh of course, sorry for the misunderstanding Matt concerning the 2-stage filter. I've been thinking 2-in-1 blasters, 2-stage compressors, etc, and got confused in the process.

    Even though this method isn't looking too economically promising for this purpose from the DIYer's standpoint, before I rule it out, I just wanted to ask a few more questions:

    1. First of all, I'm not too concerned that the paint be removed necessarily all that fast (e.g. in 15 sec. or less per siding tile), but I would hope for something on the order of stripping at least one 20"x<12" siding tile per 30-60 sec.
    Given that, do you think that the Model 50096 with it's 3/32" nozzle would satisfy this requirement considering we're only talking about removing one layer of latex paint here?
    Note: I could send in a reduced size (8"x10") painted siding sample for testing/determination purposes if need be.

    2a. This blaster (50096) requires 10 cfm at 90 psi. Is this a minimum or optimum cfm value?
    I've read elsewhere that if continuous-duty blasting were desired that one should have a compressor capable or delivering 4x the cfm rating of the device, as a guideline; wow! Well, I don't think that I'd be looking at "continuous-duty" here, but something more on the order of somewhere between 50-80% of the time on; obviously the higher the better.
    2b. Given that guideline, what practical cfm would I need from a compressor (or compressors) in order to satisfy the envisioned cfm requirement of this blaster? Would 25-30 cfm suffice or might this still be inadequate considering the envisioned 80% duty-cycle desired?
    I say "compressors" because I have contemplated purchasing (2) 60-gallon, 1-stage compressors with a cfm each ranging from 12.6-14.5 cfm to be connected in tandem, thus delivering a total of between 25.2-29 cfm total, and a 120-gallon total capacity. This arrangement appears somewhat more cost effective (about $1.5k)

    3a. The details on the Eastman "Heavy-Duty Portable Soda Pressure Blaster, Item #11804" are a bit vague. If I were to consider this unit (preferred), I see that it requires 18 cfm at 80 psi. What would be the minimum compressor cfm recommended given the guidelines pointed out in the previous question?
    3b. Could this blaster use a 3/32" soda blasting nozzle to reduce the cfm requirement if desired?
    3c. Is this unit built comparable to the ACE model 2-PS?

    Thank you for any further insights.

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