Soda Blast Removal of House Paint practical? If so…

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    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:


    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.

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