DCI: The Choice In Restoring Historic Buildings In Minneapolis And St. Paul

Two buildings. One in downtown Minneapolis, one in St. Paul’s Midway district needed restoration help. They were historic in nature, but paint (both lead-based and non-lead) needed to be soda blasted from these grand structures so they could be converted to condominiums and not torn down.

We’ll give you one guess which contractor was selected to get the job done.

Time’s up.

Yes, they called DCI.

Using our state-of-the-art blasting equipment, DCI soda blasted away paint from more than 260,000 square feet of surfaces within the six-story building in Minneapolis.

In St. Paul, DCI removed paint from more than 180,000 square feet of surfaces in that building, which is also six stories tall.

In each case, the surfaces varied. In Minneapolis: multiple types of brick were involved (soft and hard, smooth to rough), as was basic concrete.

In St. Paul, the challenge was to remove paint (multiple types and layers) from structural wood and wood decking with minimal damage, so the exposed wood surface could be used as a finished product.

In both cases, the first move was to talk with the building owner and the Historic Landmark Society to determine the best blast media to effectively remove the multiple layers of paint and, more important, maintain the integrity of the surfaces. Minneapolis: brick and concrete. St. Paul: wood.

To get this done, several different types of blast media were tested — or considered — including sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), glass beads, walnut shells or magnesium sulphate, just to name a few.

In the end, it was determined that the same material — Black Diamond (coal slag) — was best for both buildings.

So DCI went to work, restoring and beautifying each structure. In Minneapolis, the bricks look like they’ve just been laid. In St. Paul, the wood looks like it just came from the sawmill.


Again, DCI’s more than 10 years of experience and expertise lies in performing media blasting on projects where it is critical to minimize surface damage that can occur during sand blasting or even high pressure washing.

DCI’s equipment gives us the ability to not only utilize a wide variety of blast media, but also provides the added value of adjusting air pressure to get the desired results.