Graffiti is a type of street art that has been around for centuries.
It’s usually created by spray painting or drawing on public property without permission.
While graffiti can be considered vandalism, many artists see it as a form of expression and use it to communicate political, social, or creative ideas.
Some people view it as an eyesore, while others appreciate the artistry and skill in creating graffiti murals.
So, why should you care – if it’s an art form?
Well, as far as I think, graffiti on the walls outside of your home or business can be unsightly and make it look like your property is not cared for.
It can be an eyesore, especially if it’s old, chipping, and peeling. So it is essential to know how to remove it from surfaces.
In this blog post, I have outlined the best ways to remove graffiti from different surfaces.
Whether you are a property owner or just trying to clean up some graffiti on your own, I have all the information you need right here. Hopefully, you will find it helpful.
Types of Graffiti
There are mainly three types of graffiti: tagging, throw-ups, and pieces.
Tagging is the most basic form of graffiti, consisting of a person’s initials, name, or street gang identifier.
Throw-ups are slightly more complicated than tags, involving two or more colors and usually done in bubble letters.
Pieces are the most elaborate type of graffiti, often involving three-dimensional letters, shading, and other detail work.
Each type requires different removal techniques.
Tagging can often be removed with a power washer, while throw-ups and pieces may require more intensive removal methods such as sandblasting or chemical stripping.
Removing Graffiti from Concrete
The best way to strip graffiti off concrete will depend on the type of paint or ink used, as well as the size and location of the graffiti.
If the graffiti is small and isolated, you may be able to remove it with a high-pressure washer.
This is also one of the most influential and fastest methods for removing water-based paint or ink.
If the graffiti is more extensive or widespread on your concrete surfaces, you will likely need to use a chemical-based graffiti stripper and/or TSP for cleaning.
Chemical strippers are available at most hardware stores – read the instructions carefully and test the stripper on a small concrete area before using it on the entire surface.
Once you have removed the graffiti, you can protect your concrete wall or other surfaces by sealing them with a clear anti-graffiti sealer.
This makes it more difficult for future graffiti to adhere to the surface.
Removing Graffiti from Brick Walls and Wood
Stone, masonry, stucco, brick, and wood are porous materials, so removing graffiti without causing slight damage can be difficult.
The best way to remove graffiti from porous surfaces, I think, is with a wire brush whose bristles are made of steel wire.
Start wetting the graffiti with a high-pressure washer to loosen the graffiti ink.
Then, use a wire brush to scrub the graffiti until it comes off. Scrub softly to avoid marring the wood or brick surface.
If that doesn’t work to remove the graffiti, try a water-based graffiti remover and a power washer to clean off any residue.
Again as with concrete, once you have removed the graffiti, do not forget to protect your brick walls by sealing them with a clear sealer.
If it’s a brick wall, use silane/siloxane sealers. For wood surfaces, you can use a sealer like polyurethane.
Stripping off the Graffiti Ink from Metal, Glass, and Plastic
Metal, glass, and plastic are all non-porous materials, so it’s relatively easy to remove graffiti from them by simply using a razor blade.
Not only your personal property, but it can be the signboards, playgrounds, public toilets, etc., in the city area. All these areas are prone to getting graffiti.
If the surface is large enough, start wetting and loosening the graffiti with a pressure washer.
Then, use a razor blade to scrape the graffiti off the surface gently.
When using a scraper on plastic or glass, be sure to scrape gently and carefully to avoid harming them.
If the surface is not too large and the graffiti ink is hard to remove, you can try washing the surface with hot soapy water.
Start by mixing a solution of hot water and dish soap. Then, use a sponge or cloth to scrub the graffiti with soapy water.
When cleaning, make sure to lighten the pressure so as not to damage the metal surface. After you’ve gotten rid of the graffiti, you may seal the surface (with an adequate sealer based on the surface) to keep it clean.
How Can You Prevent Graffiti from Happening in the First Place?
Graffiti is usually found in areas with a lot of foot traffic, such as sidewalks, parks, public restrooms, and even school or college bathrooms.
It is also often found in areas that are considered to be high-crime areas.
Graffiti is sometimes used as a form of territorial marking by gangs and can send messages between gang members.
While there’s no surefire way to stop graffiti, with cases of vandalism increasing daily, there are specific tips and advice you can follow in discouraging it.
These can be especially helpful in keeping your home or personal property graffiti-free.
The first step is implementing a “no tolerance” policy toward graffiti which means that anyone caught writing graffiti will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
This way, you can send a solid message to would-be vandals that their actions will not be tolerated.
Besides, you can try to…
1. Keep your property well-lit
Increase lighting in areas that are prone to graffiti. This will make it more difficult for vandals to do their work without being seen.
2. Install surveillance cameras
Surveillance cameras can deter vandals and help identify them if they do strike.
3. Increase foot traffic in the area by opening businesses or holding events
The more people are around; the less likely vandals will be to target the area.
4. Work with your neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious activity
Creating a neighborhood watch can help deter general crime, including graffiti.
5. Report graffiti to the police as soon as you see it
The quicker it’s reported, the more likely the vandal will be caught.
6. Quickly remove any graffiti that does occur
The longer graffiti remains, the more likely it is to attract more of it. The quicker it’s removed, the less likely it is to become a problem in the future.
7. Offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti vandals
This can incentivize people to come forward with information about crimes.
The Bottom Line
Graffiti can be dangerous because it attracts criminals to an area. It can also signify gang activity in an area, leading to violence.
If graffiti is not removed quickly, it can lead to increased vandalism and littering.
The best way to remove graffiti depends on the type of surface it is on. However, you can use a razor blade or wire brush for most areas.
If it’s tough or the job you think is significantly large, hiring graffiti removal services near you is better.
Once you have done that, your property should be cleaner and new – in no time – without any hassle.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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