Graffiti is usually a spray paint on the wall. But the graffiti vandals use different kinds of colorful materials like lipstick, adhesives, shoe polish, etc. This is why it is not very easy to remove graffiti from any surface because it requires proper knowledge and skill about the machinery and chemical to be used in the process. Besides that, there is a different kind of surfaces like brick, stone, limestone, glass, plastic, wood, metal where graffiti is done. Every element has its specialized ways of graffiti removal like power washing is recommended in the case of masonry surfaces.
Scraping is preferred for glass surfaces and using penetrating oil like “WD-40” and mineral spirits are recommended for wood, metal, and plastic surfaces. Also, if the removal work is not done properly, the surface will look even uglier than before and it will cost more for repairing work. Here are some top graffiti removal methods:
Painting Over Graffiti
Painting over graffiti might give a temporary solution but it is not good in the long run. Because it starts to peel and fade away within few months and some graffiti colors bleed through the paints. The general idea is to remove as much as color by scraping before the paint is applied. A sealer coat must be applied to restrict the graffiti color from bleed out. Then several coats of color should be applied. Dark color should be chosen as it gives better coverage. Painting might be cost-friendly but regular maintenance should be done to get the best result out of it. Painting is recommended for materials from which graffiti cannot be removed so easily like wood and plastic surfaces.
We wrote a guide on how to remove graffiti with pressure washing which is one of the common methods of removing graffiti in mechanical ways. Those methods are recommended when you are about to treat masonry surfaces like brick and stones, also some metals. First you spray chemicals over the surface then high pressured hot water along is used in this process to clear the paint strain as hot water helps to weaken the chemical bond of adhesive paints. Pressure washing provides some extra benefits like it saves a lot of time. Besides that, it is permanent and cost-effective.
It is a process where abrasive elements are sprayed under high pressure to a surface with a heavy machine. Usually, slag abrasives and minerals are used instead of water. Blasting is a heavy-duty method for graffiti removal, it is slick and quick. The downside is that you better hire a professional for this kind of job as inexperienced work might leave some pores on the surface which might weaken the whole structure. The equipment that is used in the process is expensive and not a lot of companies have it. That’s the main reason that makes this method rarer. Also, this technique is not suitable for some more gentle surfaces because of the risk of damage.
Chemical treatment / Soft washing
It might be the best way to remove graffiti from any kind of surface. There are different products that have been launched by the different companies in the market which contain chemicals made specially to remove paints from the various surfaces. Penetrating oil, mineral spirits, etc. are recommended for plastic, wood, and metal. Chemical detergents, liquid cleansers, solvents are also effective in this kind of work.
These chemicals can be easily rinsed away with water. But the main concerns that this method has are environment and worker safety as these components contain various volatile elements. But the good news is there are also some quality bio solvents options that are very effective but also non-toxic and safe.
To get the highest benefit using these methods, the most important factor is time. It is best to take the necessary steps to remove graffiti within 24-48 hours. In some cases, the paint penetrates the surface with time and it will be more difficult to remove the color if work is delayed.