Log Home Exterior Cleaning

Sand and soda blasting

Soda Blasting Log Homes

Over time, weathering can cause log homes to need new staining, but you cannot do this without removing the old stain. When the exterior of a log home starts to look a little worn and faded, soda blasting is a great solution.

Soda blasting is a relatively new technique for paint, mould and surface rust removal, steadily gaining popularity. Unlike sandblasting, soda blasting uses bicarbonate (also known as baking soda) to strip the finish from a substrate. While sandblasting equipment can be used for soda blasting, the bicarbonate abrasive is relatively gentle compared to the grit usually used for sandblasting.

It Is Cleaner

If a finish needs to be stripped off of an outside surface, soda blasting is ideal. When sandblasting, the grit that is expelled from the blasting hose must be swept up after the stripping has been finished because the sandblasting grit is a silicate that is harmful to the environment. However, the bicarbonate from a soda blaster will dissolve into the ground or wash away during the next rainstorm.

Additionally, the dust produced from sandblasting grit can be toxic if drawn into a person’s lungs. The dust created from the soda used in soda blasting is non-toxic. As a soda blaster strips a finish, the finish may be reduced to tiny particles that can float in the air, and these particles may be toxic if inhaled. For this reason, it is still important we wear protection when using a soda blaster.

Removes Grease and Rust

Soda blasting will not only remove paints and lacquers, but it is strong enough to strip away surface rust, grease, and other debris from substrates as well. The process is better at removing grime from surfaces than harder organic blasting materials like walnut shells. It can enter and clean more minor cracks and crevasses that the more expansive organic compounds cannot reach.


Dan Mitchell wrote this excellent article for Log Home Living magazine.

Over the course of a log home’s lifespan, its stain will require periodic touch-ups, particularly on the southern-facing exposure where exterior walls are most subjected to the sun’s harsh UV rays. This regular staining requirement is part of routine log home maintenance, just as wood-siding needs to be repainted and vinyl-siding has to be replaced if it cracks. Even brick houses require occasional cleaning and mortar repair.

Though giving a wall a fresh coat of stain is pretty straightforward (clean the logs; let them dry completely; reapply the stain), there are a host of reasons why you may consider stripping the present stain off the wood and starting from scratch. Maybe you bought an existing or antique log home and you don’t know what type of stain product or shade was originally applied. Perhaps the previous owner was not as diligent as he should have been when it came to exterior maintenance and you want to re-do it right. Or, perhaps you’ve been in  your home for 20 years and you want to change the color. In each of these scenarios, getting down to the bare wood as best you can is essential to achieving optimal results, and stripping the logs of their previous stain product is the way to do that.

Removal Methods

In most cases, media blasting is the best way to remove stain quickly and easily. Over the years, log refinishing and refurbishing companies have experimented with a variety of media: sand, corncob grit, glass pellets, walnut shells — even baking soda and dry ice. Each of these materials has been shown to be efficient at removing existing finish from logs, but there are a few things to consider.

Though effective, the nature of corncob grit runs the danger of depositing and lodging organic material into the logs’ surface, which could cause mold to take hold. Inorganic materials like sand or glass won’t  leave matter or residue behind. Walnut shells have proven to be an excellent middle ground. They’re organic, but because they are so hard, they act more like glass pellets and won’t impregnate the wood with particles that could mold later on. Then, there are the more obscure materials: baking soda and dry ice. Easy cleanup is an advantage both of these options share that the others do not. Baking soda washes easily and dry ice simply melts away. Not only are these attributes good for the logs, they won’t harm your landscaping or the environment at large.

You may think: Can’t I just sand it off with a belt sander and avoid all the debris caused by the media? Well, you can, but sanding produces a lot of dust on its own, which is no picnic to clean up. Also, it’s difficult to get sandpaper into log checks and around corner systems, so you run the risk of not removing all of the stain. Media blasting gets into the tightest nooks and crannies.

Of course, there are very effective and user-friendly chemical strippers on the market, but a downside to these products is that they simply soften the finish, so you’ll need a power washer to remove it. You’ll also need to protect plants from the product, and you’ll have to thoroughly rinse the logs to remove all of the chemicals before applying the new stain — a potential issue if the logs you’re stripping are inside of your home.

Water- or Oil-based?

One of the nuances that could affect your log home’s stain removal is whether the product that’s on the wood is water- or oil-based. This is important to know, as it could impact the methods used to strip the logs, the length of time involved and the cost.

As a rule, water-based or acrylic stains are easier to remove because the majority of the product sits on the surface of the log, with only a small amount seeping into the top-most layer of wood fiber.

The thing that makes oil-based stains so attractive to log home owners is also the thing that makes them more difficult to remove: The product penetrates deep into the wood grain, meaning that you may have to go deeper into the logs to purge it. It’s not impossible, but it may take more effort, resulting in increased costs.

The Bottom Line

Be prepared — it’s not uncommon to spend $15,000 to $25,000 to strip and re-stain a log home, depending on its size and region of the country. There’s a bit of an art to stripping stain from log walls, so this is one of those times when spending the money to hire a pro (someone with log refurbishing experience, not just a professional painter) will save you a lot of headaches — and wallet-aches — down the line.

Contact Murray to get an estimate on cleaning and restoring your log home.


Marine Paint Removal and Buildup

Sand and soda blasting

Soda Blasting Preferred Method

In addition to cleaning areas such as oil and grease in the engine compartment of a marine application, one of the best marine applications is removing anti-fouling bottom paint from boats, both large and small. Since it is possible to take the paint off without damaging the gel-coat or fibreglass using our soda blaster, there will be less opportunity for water ingression that can cause de-lamination and blistering in the years to come. Soda blasting is the preferred method to accomplish the removal of paint from a marine application.

Manual Removal of Marine Buildup

The task of stripping a boat hull of old paint and marine buildup is long, monotonous and high-exertion work if you do it by hand. Although they may harm a boat structure, power sanders can help, requiring broad and expensive fixes. Harsh chemicals are risky to utilize and are unsafe for the environment. Chemical disposal is also be a challenge.

Safe and Environment

There is an option quickly growing in popularity: soda blasting, utilizing bicarbonate of soda, more regularly known as “baking soda” – but it’s not exactly like the baking soda in your kitchen. The technology was developed in the mid-1980s to clean the interior and exterior of the Statue of Liberty, a delicate task requiring efficiency without damage to the statue. This same soda blasting method allows Ecoblast Restoration to gently and quickly strip away layers of old coatings and marine growth from fibreglass, wood, steel or aluminum.

Industrial Equipment Cleaning and Restoration

Sand and soda blasting

Industrial equipment cleaning & industrial equipment paint removal are both services that every company with industrial equipment needs to think about at some point in time. Whether that means that a printing press is in need of repainting or an overhead crane is in need of non-destructive inspection, soda blasting the industrial equipment can provide the solution. When a company tries to cut capital expenditures, often they will choose to keep older equipment and refurbish it for a fraction of the cost of the replacement cost. Soda blasting offers solutions for these industrial equipment applications and for equipment being removed from closed manufacturing facilities. The opportunities to recycle industrial equipment have never been greater and in virtually all cases this equipment is more valuable if it has been properly cleaned and repainted. Ecoblast Restoration technicians are properly trained soda blast specialists and can be invaluable in this industrial equipment cleaning and paint removal process.


Baking soda blasting of structural steel and painting it with an epoxy coating can increase production in paper mills by decreasing down time, helping the equipment with the flow of the product, and saving in maintenance in the following ways:


Industrial Equipment Solutions

Rust Removal

  • Rust can flake off and fall in the machines resulting in paper breaks and loss of valuable running time.

Removal of Dirt and Residue

  • Felt rolls, drier cans, the interior of head boxes, calendar stack applications, and winder applications.
  • Blasting can be helpful with the flow of material at the wet end, decreasing breaks at the calendar stack and at the winder, and increasing winder speed at the dry end. This will result in less down time.
  • Rafters, pan steel, crane and crane rails above the paper machine
  • Interior of water pumps
  • Tank farm and / or piping


  • The exteriors of motors helping to keep the motor operating at cooler temperatures
  • Decker fans or roof fans – this improve air flow and save on power letting them operate more efficiently and requiring less maintenance
  • Blasting allows thinner paint application
  • Ceramic tank applications: blasting is good for removal of old coatings and product. New coatings applied after blasting will allow for better flow of product.  For example, the removal of dried stock in the filler chest.
  • Interior of building: walls, floors, ceilings can be blasted and painted to improve lighting, safety, and quality of life. Fresh blasting and painting will have a pleasing visual affect.
  • Exterior of building: can be blasted and painted for presentation and building integrity.
  • If the steel does not require painting then vacuuming of rafters, crane, crane rail and drier hoods can also be very effective for fire prevention and less down time. Ecoblast Restoration is equipped to provide these services.

Heavy Equipment Cleaning

Sand and soda blasting

Heavy equipment cleaning is a project that just needs to be done from time to time. The unique properties of soda blasting with real baking soda provide a perfect way to assist in the process of refurbishing heavy construction equipment. Our soda blast media will clean the heavy equipment by removing paint, grease and oil and yet will not damage the chrome rams in the hydraulic cylinders, gears or chains, the glass in operator cabs and gauges, roller bearings, track pads or engine components. With our versatile soda blasters, it is possible to remove the paint on the heavy equipment down to the metal or just remove the contamination and etch the existing paint so the new coat will adhere properly. By introducing water at the nozzle, our soda blast media can neutralize heavy equipment surface rust leaving the substrate stable and paintable without pitting the metal.

Oil Removal and Grease Removal

Sand and soda blasting

Back in the day, animal fat was combined with baking soda to make a soap like paste. When combined with animal fats, petroleum-based oil or grease, baking soda emulsifies the oils through a process called saponification. This is the most effective and environmentally friendly means of cleaning oil and grease.

Graffiti Removal

Sand and soda blasting

Graffiti is like a cancer on the side of a building. No one wants the graffiti to show up and once it appears it often spreads. The best thing to do is get the graffiti removed as quickly as possible. Until mobile sodablasters arrived, there were few good graffiti removal options. Sand blasting would tear into the substrate and severely damage the surface where the graffiti had been. Solvents and paint strippers only turn the paint into liquid allowing the pigment from the paint to leach further into the surface making it impossible to separate the color from the aggregate. Soda blasting the surface as soon as possible after an area has been hit with graffiti is the best way to combat the problem. Graffiti artists will not waste their efforts if they know their work will be short lived and Ecoblast Restoration is often called upon to perform this graffiti removal task.

Engine Part Cleaning and Restoration

Sand and soda blasting

We don’t often think of engine parts as being delicate. But just a few grains of sand can score the cylinder walls, rings and bearings of an engine in an instant, add a few more and a brand-new engine can be useless in no time. Soda blast media however, will not harm the internal components of an engine. Our soda blasting process is used by many engine rebuilding facilities as the preferred method of cleaning engine blocks, heads, pistons, and crank shafts, since it will remove the grease and oil without harming the parts. Another important characteristic of engine part cleaning is there is no abrasive entrapment. There is nothing more frustrating to an engine re-builder than to have an engine completely rebuilt and to start tightening the last bolt on the head only to have the bolt locked in place by a small piece of glass beads, sand or other hard abrasive. This will not happen with baking soda blasting of your engine parts.

Automotive Paint Removal

Sand and soda blasting

The advantage of using a sodablaster for automotive surface preparation is that paint, grease and undercoating can be removed without breaking the surface tension of the metal. Paint can even be taken off a layer at a time and bondo can be left in or removed depending on the blasting techniques employed.

Masonry and Aggregate Cleaning

Sand and soda blasting

Years of soot, oil grease, grime and just plain dirt can seep into concrete and other aggregate materials and make it look unsightly. Often times this situation can be downright dangerous. Parking lots can become slippery from oil dropped from cars and trucks. Sidewalks become matted with chewing gum and the like. It is because of these situations that aggregate cleaning is so important. Pressure washing is not all that effective in tackling these problems, while soda blasting provides a much better solution. Get in touch with a soda blasting specialist that is ready to tackle your aggregate cleaning project, whether it be removing oil from the concrete driveway or cleaning up an entire parking lot.