What You Need to Know About Sandblasting

Peeling PaintSandblasting is the process of sanding a surface to remove rough edges or foreign materials. Sandblasting makes sanding much easier, as it is pressure-driven and easily reaches hard-to-sand areas like nooks and crannies. The “blasting” is done using compressed air to blow sand through a nozzle for a smooth, clean finish. Depending on the project, you can use abrasive materials other than sand to prepare a surface for repainting, staining or refinishing.

What Materials Can Be Sandblasted?

  • Wood: Wood sometimes has several layers of paint, which may be peeling. Porch swings, picnic tables and gazebos are items you may consider having sandblasted.
  • Concrete: Commercial building owners may want to remove parking lines and reconfigure a parking lot, so they can sandblast the old parking lines for a clean surface to work with. Home owners may sandblast their driveways to remove paint or oil spills.
  • Cast Iron: If a cast iron railing or other detail has been painted, you may want to sandblast it to remove peeling and chipping paint.
  • Brick: Sandblasting can make painted or dirty bricks look clean and new.
  • Automobiles: Sandblasting can remove the rust on that fixer-upper in your garage before you paint it.

Costs for Sandblasting

Sandblasting can be performed on a variety of material and is preferable when sandpaper or hand-held sanders are just not appropriate for the task at hand. Sandblasting can save you time, strenuous work and the demanding physical labor of bending, sitting, squatting and reaching.

If you have never sandblasted before, you may want to contact a professional. Using a blaster without experience could potentially cause injury if correct measures are not taken or followed. In addition, keep the following in mind:

  • Some cities may require a permit for sandblasting, so check your local requirements before beginning. If hiring a professional, they may apply for the permit for you.
  • Although rare, accidental damages could occur to your property or neighboring property during the sandblasting process, so consider that additional expenses could arise.
  • The average cost to sandblast an exterior surface is between $664 and $1,116. The average cost per square foot:
    • Brush blast (1/32 inch deep): $1.35 to $2.70
    • Light blast (1/16 inch deep): $2.25 to $4.50
    • Medium blast (1/4 inch deep): $4.50 to $7.20
    • Heavy blast (3/8 inch deep or more): $6.75 to $15.75.
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Protect Vacant Properties from Vandalism

By Rodney Twyford, NPI Franchise Owner, San Antonio, Texas

Modern Building + Landscaping_HorizontalMost rental and leased commercial properties will likely be vacant at some point between tenants. Not only are vacant properties losing income for landlords, but they also become a target for vandals. According to the FBI, an estimated loss of $15.5 billion in 2012 resulted from crimes related to vandalism. Real estate property and vacant property attracts vandalism like a magnet. There are, however a variety of ways that commercial building owners can deter vandals and protect their vacant property.

Maintain good curb appeal. Vacant property should be well maintained to not only attract new tenants, but also give the appearance of activity and security so vandals think the property is being watched. This should include lawn and landscaping maintenance, as well as the keeping gutters clean, clearing sidewalks and removing fliers stuck inside doors. A new welcome mat and seasonal decorations can also help the property appear inhabited.

Don’t advertise the vacancy. Understandably, a sign advertising the availability of a vacant commercial space is typical and expected from most real estate agents; however, people passing by do not need to see that the entire property is vacant. Blinds should be installed on all windows and closed to prevent exposing vacant interior spaces.

Neighbors can help. Neighbors living or working near a vacant property can help by parking one or more vehicles in the parking lot, randomly switching parking spaces on different days. Switching a few interior and exterior lights on two to three times a week is also a great deterrent and lets people know there is activity in the building. This can either be done by the landlord, a trusted neighbor or even a timer. Installing motion-activated exterior flood lights is also a great way to prevent vandalism.

Monitor the property. The best security is always a nosey neighbor or diligent landlord who visits the property at random times during each day. It is important for the time of your visits to be unpredictable, as crimes often occur after the property has been watched for routine activity.

Install a security system. Security systems can get expensive, but they are never more costly than the damage from vandalism or burglary. Security systems have become more sophisticated, with video monitoring that could help identify the intruders. These added features will not only help protect your property from vandalism, but they will also increase the overall value of the property and give you or the leasing agent additional features to promote.

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Grow-ops: Out of Sight Should Not Mean Out of Mind

Marijuana PlantsIndoor marijuana grow-ops are more common than some people may realize. With more legalization across the world, individual cultivating may increase. Droughts, little sunlight, flooding, legalization, poor economic situations and a host of other factors can lead to individuals choosing to grow marijuana plants inside their home or commercial building. These operations result in property damages that may be minute or extreme based on the size and length of time that the indoor growing is active.

Not Your Everyday Houseplants
Marijuana plants differ from houseplants mostly due to the size and the number of plants people keep. Most indoor operations have enough plants to make up a small outdoor garden. The next difference is the massive quantities of certain growing tools needed for survival and growth of the plants. Grow-op owners need equipment such as water hoses for watering and chemicals, which are dispersed to the plants to provide the nutrients they require or enhance their normal growth. Some growers might reroute water lines to make it easier to water marijuana plants.

In a grow-op, marijuana’s needs for sunlight and humidity are mimicked by using high-voltage grow lights that are expensive to operate. Moreover, some utility companies report suspiciously high electrical use to police. For these reasons, grow-op owners often illegally bypass the building’s electrical meter to steal electricity. Such modifications to an electrical system can make the system unsafe.

The high levels of humidity that result from growing marijuana in turn create excessive moisture inside the house or building. According to Home Heroes Inc., attics in marijuana grow-ops have average humidity levels of 80 percent. A residential home with normal humidity will have a level around 55 percent. When moisture becomes prevalent inside a grow-op building, mold and wood rot can soon begin to form, causing structural damage and expensive cleanup and repair.

The plants need to breathe, though, and high humidity makes that difficult. Venting becomes necessary, and growers often cut holes in floors, walls and ceilings to help circulate air. Many people will try to paint and patch holes to hide the existence of an indoor grow-op, which can mislead an unsuspecting home buyer into purchasing a severely damaged home.

A house or building that has been used as a grow-op can become a home buyer’s nightmare. Your home inspector knows the signs to look for and will be able to let you know if he/she suspects a house has been used as a grow-op. This is just one more reason to always have a home inspected before you buy.

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the necessary qualifications to recognize the signs of a grow-op in a home or commercial building. To find your local inspector, contact National Property Inspections in the United States and Global Property Inspections in Canada.

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Monitor Cracks in Your Commercial Building’s Foundation

iStock_000000976238XSmallCracks in poured concrete foundations can appear for many reasons. Cracks that are less than 1/8-inch with both surfaces even are generally caused by the shrinkage that occurs as concrete cures. Most of the time, these cracks will be vertical in nature and occur along the joints where the foundation forms come together. These are common and usually of no concern.

Diagonal cracks, many times starting in a corner or at a window or door opening, or horizontal cracks indicate foundation wall movement. This movement is usually inward. These types of cracks are caused by pressure exerted inward from the soil around the foundation. Water, whether it be rain or groundwater, can cause the soil surrounding the foundation to expand and contract creating a hydraulic ram effect pushing the wall inward.

With diagonal cracks, even cracks less than 1/8-inch should be of concern, as they do indicate movement and should be monitored. Cracks larger than 1/8-inch should also be monitored, especially if there are signs of moisture intrusion. As a rule of thumb, any wall leaning in more than 2 inches from plumb is structurally unsound and should be inspected by a foundation specialist or structural engineer.

A small crack in a newer building is of more concern than a small crack in an older building. NPI commercial property inspectors discuss with commercial building owners and buyers the severity of the crack(s), such as location and type of crack, and advise them not to pass on a building specifically because of cracks. Unless there are structural or moisture issues, most cracks can just be monitored and, if needed, many repairs are not hugely expensive. However, keep in mind that foundation issues come in many forms, and, when in doubt, you should consult a specialist.

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