Graffiti. A common occurrence in cities on subways, side streets, and in parks. Sometimes it is a work of art, something awe-inspiring to look at, like those pieces created by Banksy. However, other times it is just a downright eyesore, especially when it is on the walls of your own property and it looks as though it has been created by toddlers rather than renowned artists. Worse still is when the graffiti in question is crude or offensive. When you spot some graffiti on the walls of your beautiful property, whether inside or out, the initial reaction can be one of blind panic. You may feel that your only option is to bulldoze your whole property and that the graffiti will be there forever.
There are a variety of methods you can undertake to remove graffiti. That being said, you should not take this as a declaration that graffiti is easy to remove. Far from it, graffiti poses one of the most difficult building issues. Simple soap and water will not remove most graffiti. Often, professionals need to be enlisted, along with harsh industrial chemicals and scraping techniques.
In this article, we will be exploring the different methods for graffiti removal. We will also be exploring whose responsibility it is to remove graffiti, as well as examining whether it is a job that should really be left to the professionals.
Who is responsible for removing graffiti?
When it comes to graffiti removal, the responsibility changes depending on where the graffiti is. The Government website states that councils are responsible for graffiti removal if it is in a public place such as on public buildings, on monuments, and on benches. However, if the graffiti lies on your property or on any premises that you own, the removal is your responsibility. For example, if you own a house and a tenant is in situ but the outside has been graffitied, it is your financial responsibility to remove the graffiti, not that of the tenant. This gets more complicated when the graffiti is inside the property. If the tenant is responsible for creating the graffiti, then the responsibility for removal should be on them.
How hard is it to remove graffiti?
As we mentioned in our introduction, the removal of graffiti is a difficult one. Typically done with spray paint, graffiti adheres well to whatever surface it is on, making the removal of it very difficult if you want to keep the original surface intact and looking its best. There’s no wonder then, why most people opt to get professional help with this.
Before we start listing a bunch of different graffiti removal methods, we want to make clear that lots of the popular methods for graffiti removal are DIY methods. Whilst this is not always necessarily a bad idea it is often hazardous and runs the risk of damaging your wall. It is for this reason that most people choose to enlist the help of professionals who are well-versed in the removal of graffiti from all manners of surfaces.
Use a solvent and rub away the graffiti
This method can be used on a number of surfaces, but we always recommend doing a patch test first. This is because any solvents such as paint thinner and other chemical substances can be harmful to the material of the surface. It can be especially harmful to any painted surfaces such as interior walls with emulsion on them, or woods, with or without paint. Paint thinners and other solvents should not be used on plastic surfaces as it can cause lots of damage. They do work well on metal surfaces, though.
In order to make sure damage is kept to a minimum, we first recommend testing your paint thinner or solvent of choice on a small, well-hidden area of your surface. Apply a small amount, trying to get it only on the graffiti. You should then start to gently rub away at the graffiti with a cloth. The key here is ‘gently’ in order to reduce damage to the paint underneath.
Scraping the graffiti off
If you find that scrubbing, either with or without solvent and paint thinner is doing more harm than good, it may be time to consider scraping it. Of course, if you start scraping there is no going back and you will have to repaint at least that patch of wall. However, it is a sure-fire successful method. Simply grab a scraper like a paint or wallpaper scraper and scrape off the layer of paint with the graffiti on. Of course, this method would not work on metal and plastic, and on wood, it will cause irreparable damage so it should not be used there either. As we have mentioned already, because of the risks of damage when it comes to scraping, this is best left in the hands of professionals.
A popular method is simply repainting over the graffiti in the same color as the wall itself. This method works best if you can match the paint exactly, for example, if you have spare paint leftover from when you originally painted it. Another option would be to paint the whole wall in a new colour, choosing one that will cover the graffiti with ease. Of course, this works best on interior walls, wood, and masonry as opposed to metal and plastic surfaces.
If you have a pressure washer or know someone who does, you can use it to get the graffiti off. It depends on the surface on which the graffiti has been painted, but it can prove successful. You do have to ensure that you do not use too high a pressure on painted masonry and wood as this can actually cause indentations in the surface and leave behind the outline of the graffiti.
In our opinion, we thoroughly recommend that you at least consider enlisting the help of a professional graffiti removal company to clean up your property. Whilst there are certainly some successful DIY methods for removing graffiti, these often pose many risks and you can cause more harm than good such as further damage to the graffitied surface, resulting in the need for a professional to fix it. You may as well just choose a professional in the beginning to ensure that the job is done quickly, with no damage to the original surface, and ensuring your property looks as good as new.
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If you do decide to enlist a professional, Slime & Grime are here to help. We offer a 24 hour service, 7 days a week. Contact us today.