Water blasting skips the abrasive materials altogether and uses a high pressure stream of water to clean the surface of dirt and grit as well as knocking away any loose pieces of paint. Typically, water is shot through a narrow aperture nozzle to concentrate the force of the blast. Some models use a lance-type sprayer, which resembles a heavy duty car washer. Other types deliver pressure through an apparatus that resembles a commercial floor buffer.

Pressures up to 40,000 pounds per square inch can be achieved with some water blasting models. Depending on the specific application, some water blasting systems also have a vacuum attachment that picks up and filters the contaminated water.

The highest pressure water systems are capable of reforming the substrate. Water blasting accomplishes this smoothing without leaving behind contaminants that can become trapped under layers of new paint. Specialized delivery systems enable the operators to clean the traffic markings off of pavement or remove rubber and other residue from decks and runways.

Water blasting systems do not introduce abrasive particles into the air which makes water blasting an ideal solution for environments that are sensitive to grit or dust. The blasting procedure is spark free, which makes blasting possible in some volatile environments.

Water blasting is an excellent cleaning and surface preparation choice for wet environments, such as ship hulls, pools and outdoor decking. Concrete surfaces such as sidewalks, parking garages and pavement are also good candidates for water blasting.