Disadvantages of Sandblasting, Pantographing, Etc. Technology
These processes do not provide a lifetime guarantee. Although it may be stated that the product has a lifetime guarantee and will remain legible, the appearance of the product over time will begin to deteriorate.
Deeply engraved text and graphics may be detrimental to the structure of the brick. It may compromise the strength of the brick. Letters, such as "A", "P", "R", etc., when deeply engraved, cause a valley around the inside portion of the letter. Over a period of time or at the point of installation, this small "island" portion of the letter is subject to chipping or breaking away, causing the letter to become illegible.
The methods of sandblasting or pantographing require a paint, epoxy or grout fill to create a contrast. When using paint, epoxy or grout fill methods, these materials are organic substances and will deteriorate over time when exposed to the elements such as sunlight, acid rain and harsh weather conditions.
Disadvantages of Filler Options in Sandblasting, Pantographing, Etc. Technology
No Filled Method - Moisture is a deterrent and the letters that are deeply engraved pool and hold water allowing for algae and mildew to grow within the text and graphics. In cold environments, water can freeze and then expand in these depressions which can lead to substrate breakdown. This appearance is neither acceptable nor appealing and could create safety hazard.
Paint Filled Method - Paint is an organic material. Over a period of time the material does not naturally adhere to the brick and begins to chip away from the brick itself. If for any reason you should need to pressure clean your brick/tile area, the paint filled text and graphics will eventually chip away, causing you to lose the initial contrast of the image.
Epoxy Filled Method - Epoxy is an organic polymer or simply a plastic. In order to create a contrast to the epoxy, a black, ivory, blue, etc. organic colorant and sometimes additives such as sand for strengthening are added to the epoxy. Although epoxy is a better fill method than paint, it will deteriorate over time as well. It begins to oxidize and shrink, and simply does not hold up to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The ultraviolet rays initiate the process of oxidation (molecular breakdown of the plastic) and the engraved characters, that once had a shiny luster, now have a “milky” film appearance. In colder climates, moisture is another deterrent to epoxy filled bricks, as it allows water to freeze between the epoxy and the brick and may cause the epoxy to break loose from the brick. Additionally, the rates of expansion and contraction differ between the brick and the epoxy, causing separation. Despite advances in chemistry and color additives, epoxy has one big drawback. When exposed to UV (ultraviolet) radiation and heat, sooner or later it discolors, turns very brittle and eventually deteriorates.
Please understand that the timeframe for these issues to occur can vary from company to company and from area to area. This information is provided to educate you with our findings in the brick engraving industry in general, and is not intended to be construed as our opinion of any particular company or their particular engraving techniques. We strongly recommend that you do the research, visit project sites that have been installed for several years or more and see for yourself what methods withstand the normal wear and tear and weather conditions.