One of the best applications for dry ice blasting is removing loose paint from the interior of a structure. The real advantage here is that the dry ice converts to carbon dioxide gas, and the only cleanup you have is sweeping or vacuuming the paint and debris dislodged by the blasting process, which is a substantial savings in time and money from traditional media blasting options. Of course, most facilities would not be willing to have the media dust and mess of the more traditional methods, dry ice blasting is an option that makes a great deal of sense from the customer’s perspective.
At 90-110 psi, which is typical of most portable and factory air compressor systems capabilities, dry ice blasting can remove loose paint quickly and effectively, paint which is already loose or poorly adhered. Think peeling paint, and a certain small percentage of the rest of the paint. If you can use higher air pressure, approaching 150psi up to over 200psi, the speed of removal is increased, and the amount of paint that can be removed is also increased. In some cases, dry ice blasting can remove all the paint, although this depends on the paint type (epoxy, acrylic, oil based), the age of the paint, the type of wall surface (concrete block, brick, steel beam) and to a certain extent the customer’s budget.
Dry ice blasting will not remove paint from drywall, for instance, as that has become a part of the paper covering and is essentially inseparable. Really old block walls are also a problem as they are so porous that the paint has penetrated deep into the surface. Also problematic is many layers of paint. Recently we did a peeling paint removal job at a factory facility in preparation for a new manufacturing process. The paint in about 2500 square feet of ceiling was really peeling badly, and all that was required was to stop the peeling paint from falling, so it was an excellent candidate for blasting.
Budget affects the job as well, often dry ice as a media blast option can remove a substantial portion of the existing paint, but the time it takes is so long that the costs outweighs the benefits of removal.
Using dry ice blasting to blast all the loose and easily removed paint gets almost every wall ready for a quality top coat of paint, and it does this without the dust and messiness of traditional sandblasting.