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Sand Blasting Tombstones

8891 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Ickcleaners
Guy's what's a good media for blasting Tombstones made of Ivory, Limestone, Granite, Marble with out damage the substrate? I read baking soda is an option but it can be harmful to foliage flowers plants surrounding the tombstone. Is there another media I could use similar to baking soda that will not harm the surrounding foliage? Your input is greatly appreciated thank you for taking the time to read this post have an awesome weekend Joe.:thumbsup:
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I assume you mean cleaning. I do both cleaning and final inscriptions. cleaning I like soda. you wont hurt the grass as its pretty quick. only issue would be the pedals on the flowers. they die. small tarp will fix that problem.

I have cleaned hundreds with soda with great results. abrasive will damage polished surfaces especially on soft stones like sandstone. walnut might be a option too, haven't tried it yet but will once the snow goes. play it safe, you destroy a 100yr old headstone, your in trouble.

for inscriptions we use 60 grit red garnet.


Thank you for your prompt reply thanks for posting photos nice work..So I gather from your post that Soda is safe on granite and marble is that right? The cemetery im dealing with currently uses an eco friendly chemical w/ 2500 psi pressure washer...I woud think chemicals could have a negative affect over time and 2500 psi is a bit overkill and could cause more harm than good what are your thoughts...thanks for you input ttys JP.
I have no experience with pressure washing stones and of course my way is better. (sounds like a typical blaster) :rolleyes:

I am sure they both have their negatives and positives. I would think the pressure washer will hurt soft stones just like soda would. You can take paint off a window with soda and not hurt the glass. Soda will not hurt any polished stone....but like any job, test a spot first.

The majority of the stones I do are granite. not many soft ones here. I think the climate would destroy them,

it will be a hard sell if they are already making money off their system.


Do you guys put anything on the ground for blast protection

Like a metal paint shield so the ground dirt doesn't blow around
dyer. its not that bad. the ones I posted were in older sections with mostly weeds. I did them a favor! on the nice grass it didn't do much damage at all. all the places I have gone to nobody ever complained.

was thinking today about cobb. that might be a better option, less dust and biodegradable. may try that too.
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Yes a 2500 PSI pressure washer will hurt the stone, but that is probably the rating of the machine not what is hitting the stone.

Without seeing pictures it would be hard to say if they did do any damage. I have cleaned up a couple tombstones with a pressure washer, but that was only to used initially to get the dirt off (soft washing) then I used a cleaner by brush on the stone then rinsed it off, and they turned out great. If the PW knows what he is doing than they can turn out good. However to much pressure can cause efflorescence to appear, and damage to the stone due to too high pressure or the wrong type of tips.

I know this is not a pressure washing forum, but there was a question about it here, and maybe this could be used as selling points to blast them instead. Personally I now recommend blasting, it looks better and is safer for the stone, with much less chance of damage.
You better hope it's not a Historic Cemetery.They have all sorts of rules and regulations.You cant even use a weed whacker in them.
good information there. I am not sure anyone would pay to have them hand cleaned. Thanks for the link.
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