So, your property has been adorned with ugly graffiti tags that look nothing like a Banksy.
Obviously, it's criminal damage and the first step should be to report it to the Police. Once that's taken care of there are three things you should keep in mind...
- Speed - it's important to get the graffiti removed as quickly as possible to minimise the work required, the potential damage and the chances of attracting other tags.
- Surface - a major consideration before choosing the best removal product and method is to ensure it's right for the surface the graffiti has been applied to. Get this wrong by not applying the correct remover or using too much force and you could cause permanent damage to the area.
- Type of graffiti - some removal chemicals and products are more effective at cleaning certain paints and/or inks than others. If you can identify what substance has been used to create the graffiti it can make choosing the best remover far easier.
How to Choose the Right Graffiti Removal Product
Unless you want to spend days cleaning the affected surface, you're going to need a specialist graffiti removal product that contains chemicals or solvents proven to break down paint and ink layers.
POROUS OR NON-POROUS?
Which one you need depends on the substance used and the surface it's been applied to. Graffitied surfaces are divided into two types, porous and non-porous.
Paint or ink applied to non-porous areas such as plastic, glass or metal is easier to remove as the paint or ink layers remain on the surface so once dissolved can be wiped or washed away with less force and less risk to the underlying material.
If the surface you're dealing with is porous such as brick, stone, concrete or wood, a more powerful or specially formulated remover product may be required. On tougher areas applied to vertical surfaces a gel remover product may also help increase the chemical contact time with the paint or ink reducing the number of applications and risk to the surface appearance.
As well as needing a stronger removal product, porous surfaces will require a different method of application and cleaning such as a stiff brush to work the graffiti remover agent into and cracks, holes and pores of the surface material.
Using the Right Graffiti Removal Method
Again, the right method of removal cleaning will be dictated by the type and structure of the graffitied surface.
The most important caveat to any cleaning method is to always try a test patch before full application and follow the removal product instructions.
How to Remove Graffiti from Non-Porous Surfaces Such as Plastic, Glass and Metal
Removal from hard non-porous surfaces such as glass can be made easier by gently applying a sharp blade or scraper to remove thicker layers of graffiti before using the remover product as a spray or on a toughened wipe.
Softer non-porous materials such as plastic are best tackled using a specialist plastic safe graffiti spray together with a soft cloth or wipe.
For more sensitive metal, glass or ceramic surfaces where the risk of scratching is a problem, non-scratch wipes impregnated with a gentle solvent are most effective.
How to Remove Graffiti from Porous Surfaces Such as Brick, Stone and Concrete
The key to successful graffiti removal from brick, stone, concrete and other porous surfaces is to get the removal agent into contact with the paint or ink that has soaked into the cracks, holes or pores of the surface material so it can begin to break it down.
On very porous materials such as stone, a liquid remover might be best although stubborn vertical surfaces can benefit from a thicker graffiti gel which can be worked into uneven structures with a stiff brush increasing contact time with the paint or ink.
Once the graffiti has been softened by the removal agent, an absorbent cloth should be used to dab (not wipe) and soak up the most obvious paint or ink. If required, apply another layer of graffiti remover and wash away with a pressure washer on a low power setting. If the surface is particularly delicate use a hose pipe or bottle spray to apply water and continue to agitate with a stiff brush if required.
When using pressured water remember to never use pressure higher than the surface can tolerate.
How to Prevent Graffiti
- On porous surfaces such as brick, stone and concrete, consider applying a sealer solution to make any future removal easier
- The location of the surface you want to protect from further graffiti will obviously dictate what preventative measures you can take, but these are some good ideas to think about
- If the surface does get graffitied, remove it as soon as possible as existing tags can attract others looking to make their mark on the area
- If the surface is in darkness at night, improve the lighting by installing security lights which can be motion-triggered
- Where possible, make the area harder to paint by creating an uneven surface with features such as trellis, screening panels or well-spaced railings
- Where possible, plant a hedge or fast-growing cover such as bamboo
- Paint the surface in dark colours such as greens or browns that can be easily overpainted should graffiti tags be applied.
Where to Buy Graffiti Removal Products?
If you've never had to remove graffiti before, your first thought might be to reach for a paint stripper or some other widely available chemical and hope it works.
The problem with this is that these standard chemical products aren't designed to remove graffiti from the wide range of surfaces it's often applied to. Even if one of these products did manage to remove some of the paint or ink, there's a risk of surface damage and on porous surfaces, driving the graffiti deeper into the brick, stone or concrete.
For a small extra cost, you can reduce or remove these risks by using a specially formulated graffiti remover designed just for the job. It's also likely to save you time and a lot of effort.
At Marken Chemicals, we stock a good range of graffiti removers in the form of liquids, gels and sprays that are specifically designed for multiple surface types including delicate or sensitive materials such as plastic, glass and metal.
If you need help choosing the right removal product for any graffitied surface or would like to discuss bulk order discounts, contact us for advice.