The right cleaning methods and processes will ensure your brickwork remains in top condition and you instantly notice Buildings which have not been well-maintained or have spent many years waiting for maintenance and restoration may require a little more than steam cleaning to remove stubborn grime, soiling and dirt. Sandblasting and abrasive cleaning are more intense methods of cleaning which are effective for removing solid surface pollutants including paints, carbon and salt from a building’s exterior. They both have their benefits and provide a stronger solution for bringing brickwork back to its best. Aggregate cleaning methods can be essential to a full restoration project as they help ensure every unwanted pollutant is removed. When done well, aggregate cleaning will sensitively strip and clean the exterior of a building while causing no damage.

Here we’re looking more closely at sandblasting and abrasive cleaning, to see which process is best dependent on the circumstances and building in question.

Wet Abrasive Blasting


Sandblasting works through tiny particles of material being propelled at extremely high velocities to remove pollutants and dirt. Sandblasting initially involved the use of just sand being propelled but due to the health concerns this can cause, with sand being dangerous if inhaled, sandblasting often uses other materials now including walnut shells, copper slag and powder abrasives.

Sandblasting is the most abrasive method of cleaning as the abrasive particles punch into the surface, stripping away any built-up dirt, rust, paint or other coatings. The issues that come with this include damage to the brickwork or other surface, so it is usually only used when no other method is suitable. Sandblasting can effectively remove centuries’ worth of accumulated dirt so can be a useful tool in some restoration projects. Light sandblasting is possible and can be highly effective when other methods of cleaning haven’t worked.

Abrasive Blasting

Sandblasting is one type of abrasive blasting but it has come to cover a much wider range of processes. Abrasive blasting uses gas to propel abrasive materials at a high velocity to break down unwanted pollutants and grime on any given service. Abrasive blasting can be used for many purposes and is usually less intensive than sandblasting. Swirl-abrasive blasting, for example, is a light aggregate cleaning solution which combines the selected abrasive particles with water for a gentle yet effective cleaning method. The latest systems for abrasive cleaning ensure that you can set the pressure and abrasive materials to a level which are suitable for the project in hand. Building’s can be cleaned sensitively but still result in the removal of most stubborn stains, paints and pollutants. 

Which Solution is Best for Me?

Working with professional building restoration and cleaning professionals will help ensure you make the right decision when it comes to abrasive cleaning and blasting. Sandblasting is almost always only considered when other methods have not been effective, or it is clear the project requires highly intensive cleaning to remove old staining, paint, or dirt.

Maintaining the integrity and original character of a building should be at the heart of all cleaning and restoration work. With this in mind it is important to get professional advice and guidance when considering any aggregate cleaning solution.

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Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business. They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far. Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school. We are delighted with the results. You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

have worked with Building Transformation on several projects within the hospitality industry and have found
them to provide high levels of professionalism and workmanship.


e will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

Mark Healy - One Facility


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