June 10, 2022

WCLA uses sandblasting in monument maintenance

LAHORE: For the first time in Pakistan, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has started using the technique of sandblasting for the restoration and conservation of monuments.

WCLA officials said sandblasting is a process of smoothing and cleaning a hard surface by removing solid particles using compressed air. WCLA uses this process to clean the surface of the facade with any paint, coating, added plaster or debris, resulting in a smooth surface.

WCLA used this technique in the conservation and restoration process of Cathedral Church Mall Road Lahore, Sacred Heart Cathedral Lawrence Road Lahore, Pakpattan Shrine of Baba Fareed, Multan Church Saint Marry Virgin Cathedral, Clock Tower Multan, Shrine of Baha Ud Din Zakriya Multan, Shawala Mandir Sialkot, Sahowala Church Sialkot and Old DC office Sargodha.

A blast system consists of four basic components: the air source, the blast enclosure, the dust collector and the blast media, WCLA officials said, adding that the air source is usually gas in bottle or an air compressor.

Sandblasting can remove paint, rust and oxidation residue from the material quickly and effectively. Sandblasting as a cleaning method has been widely used for over a hundred years. WCLA Director of Conservation and Planning Najam Saqib, in an interview with The News, said the sandblasting machines have a chamber on top into which very fine particles of sand are poured. The sandblaster is then connected to a high pressure air compressor which, when activated, propels the sand through a handheld nozzle.

“Sandblasting helps remove dirt, layers of paint and chemicals from a building or monument that have accumulated there over time,” he said, adding that the technique was used all over the world and was very profitable.

He said the sandblasting helped bring out the original color and texture of the structure and made the surfaces clean and reduced bumps and lines. He said that after sandblasting, a special layer of liquid was sprayed on the surface, which made it waterproof.

When asked, he said that WCLA currently has these machines on loan. He said he will offer the authority to purchase these machines as well as train his own skilled workers for the purpose of conservation, restoration and preservation of historic buildings and heritage.

WCLA Executive Director Kamran Lashari said, “WCLA conserves all monuments in accordance with international standards and practices. We adopt various techniques and sandblasting is one of them.