When it comes to preparing or working with a slab of concrete, choosing the right equipment is essential to getting the job done right. Concrete grinders, shot blasters, floor scrapers, and scarifiers are all options, but each one gets much different results, so, what’s a shot blaster, and when should you choose it over other surface preparation equipment?

What Is a Shot Blaster?

A shot blaster is a machine filled with small steel pellets called shot. When the machine is turned on, an arm or paddles within the machine rotates at high speed around a wheel, lifting the shot and expelling it downward using centrifugal force. At the same time, a vacuum sucks up the dust, debris, and shot, and while the dust and detritus is suctioned into an attached dust collector, the reusable shot is sorted back into the hopper for continuous abrasive blasting.

When to Use Abrasive Blasting

When choosing your equipment, you need to factor in what the task entails, what your goal is, and what kind of concrete surface profile you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you want a smooth surface with a CSP of 1, you’d most likely choose a grinder to make it happen.

Abrasive or shot blasting is best when you need a CSP of 3 or higher. The larger the shot and the slower you move the equipment, the more texture and profiling you’ll get on your concrete. Tasks that require this include:

  • Removing paint, rust, dirt, and oil from a surface;
  • Blasting away thin epoxy or urethane coatings that are less than 1/16″;
  • Adding a rough profile to concrete for non-slip surface;
  • Preparing a concrete surface to add fresh paint or a coating;
  • Etching stencils or floor graphics;

When it comes to adding a coating, the manufacturer of the coating being applied will typically recommend what type of surface prep is followed prior to application. Shot blasting is typically recommended because it provides a more thorough bond.

When Is Shot Blasting Not Recommended?

Shot blasting is a great choice in many situations, but it’s not right for every type of surface preparation. When you need to remove a thick rubber, epoxy, or mastic coating, a shot blaster simply won’t penetrate the coating. Instead, the shot will just bounce off. In this case, a grinder, scraper, or scarifier would be a better option.

Find the Right Shot Blaster for Your Next Project

If you’re in need of an abrasive blasting machine for your next project, we can help. We carry a variety of shot blasters, from handheld options to large, ride-on shot blasters, and our customer service team is available to help you choose the best option for your needs. Give us a call at (815) 278-1308 or fill out our contact form to get started.