How to Sandblast Drain Pipes

french drain
What You'll Need
Wet sandblasting equipment
Protective gear
Recommended grade of sand
Plumbing snake

To sandblast a drain pipe requires wet sandblasting equipment and not just any ordinary sandblaster. Keep in mind that a sandblaster is an abrasive equipment used for cleaning tough surfaces; but to unclog drain pipes requires the power of water. Below is a guide for DIYers on how to use sandblast correctly.

Step 1 - Remove Trapped Debris

Remove as much clogged debris as possible inside the drain pipes. Open the cover of the drain pipe and insert a plumbing snake. Allow the snake to hook up the clog and pull it out. If the snake can no longer remove any debris, proceed with the sandblasting steps below.

Step 2 - Sandblasting Preparations

A sandblaster is pretty expensive equipment, but you can rent it to save on cost. Make sure to read the instructional manual carefully to get a firm idea on how to use the machine. Look for any specific recommended type and grain of sand that works well with the device and purchase it from a local store. The renting firm may also have supplies available.

Before starting the machine, make sure to wear protective clothing, goggles, mask, and gloves. Set up the machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Connect the device to a water supply and prepare the sand in a bucket.

Step 3 - Power Washing with Water

sandblasting a wall

Do not connect the device to the sand supply yet. Use only pure pressurized water to drive the clog further down the drain and into the sewer. Insert the nozzle of the device into the drain pipe opening and let the water pressure push the debris. If the water still fills in the pipe, let it drain for a few minutes before repeating the process. This may take a couple of attempts before the debris is cleared. When the water does not fill the pipe, the clog has cleared.

Step 4 - Wet Sand Blasting

To remove any debris clinging on the internal surfaces of the drain pipes, it is necessary to use sand. Connect the device to the sand supply; instructions may vary depending on the sandblaster model.

Keep in mind that this can eat up the surfaces of the piping material so make sure not to keep the pressure focused on one particular direction only. Insert the nozzle of the device into the opening of the pipe. Direct it towards the direction of the pipe and turn it on. Let it clean the internal surfaces of the pipe for a couple of seconds. Detach the sand supply and power wash with water to let the sand drain into the sewer.

Repeat the same process until it clears off the debris. This method can also be used to remove corroded internal parts that cause the drain pipe to clog. When dealing with corroded drain pipes, it is best to use an internal camera to capture the images inside the pipe. This allows for a more guided and accurate sandblasting.