Category Archives: Graffiti Removal

Historic Monuments and Graffiti Removal | Seattle Specific

Graffiti is a problem nationwide. In some areas of the country it is much more prevalent, much more symbolic and much more important to remove. ( Why Gang Graffiti is Dangerous ) Removing graffiti from buildings and monuments designated as historic, has its own set of specific challenges and methods that differ from removing vandalism from general buildings. This post primarily deals with the requirements required for graffiti removal on historically designated buildings in King County, WA .


King County Graffiti Ordinance 


Porous Brick Closeup

In 1996 King County passed the graffiti ordinance bill . In short it gives a business or property owner 10 days from the date of notice that the graffiti must be removed. If the graffiti is not removed the owner then faces the prospect of fines . 

Seattle has many buildings in the downtown area that are also designated as historic monuments. These “historic buildings” are primarily  made of brick, brick that is very old and very porous .  This type of building requires a very specific method of cleaning.


Challenges in Cleaning


Ghosting on graffiti-ed brick

Due to the methods of construction from the 1950s and earlier, historic brick is very fragile. Below are some of the challenges found in removing graffiti off of brick. 

Pressure Washing: Using a pressure washer that blasts anywhere from 1000-5000 psi can cause an enormous amount of damage , a pressure washer is very effective in the right hands, however in an untrained hand it can be very destructive.

Ghosting: Ghosting is the residue graffiti leaves on surfaces after it has been pressure washed. In short it is unattractive.

Access: Many times the graffiti is found very high up.

The Soft-Wash Method


Our method of removing graffiti is a combination of a chemical application to loosen the paint and then a very light rinse with no more than 60 psi. This method  loosens the binder and solvent and separates the paint into an easy to rinse blotch.

Our method is completely safe on porous brick and doesn’t harm the surface. Cleaning your graffiti should not come at the cost of your building.


Anti-Graffiti Coatings | Post-Cleaning Maintenance

Once you’ve removed the graffiti making sure you take steps to prevent future graffiti from occurring, is very important. Here are some tips:

1. Keep areas that are repeatedly targeted by graffiti well-lit. Motion detectors and flood lights are great tools at preventing vandalism.
2. Remove or secure access to areas were graffiti is  occurring. As an example: upper level ladders and garbage cans that can be used as step ladders.
3. If an area is repeatedly targeted a good option is to have an artist paint that wall or area with a mural. Studies show that areas with artwork are bypassed when seeking a target.
4. Use anti-graffiti coatings. These products work great in making an area easier to clean if it has been hit. The majority of your price in graffiti removal comes through the amount of labor spent to clean the graffiti.

The Cost of Graffiti Vandalism to Business



According to the Seattle Public Utilities graffiti vandalism cost the city of Seattle $ 1 million dollars last year alone. The battle to keep Seattle vandalism free is one that never ends. In many locations throughout the city, almost as soon as graffiti is removed, new graffiti takes its place.Although not a huge factor in the Public Utilities District annual budget the costs of combating graffiti begin truly showing themselves once the its realized that the costs and the service is dispersed through multiple agencies. 

Seattle Public Utilities spent about $1 million last year for graffiti enforcement, removal, education and outreach, while King County Metro Transit spent $734,000 last year to rid buses, tunnels, park and rides and bus shelters of graffiti.

The cost of the damage is a drain on taxpayers. But there is a lot more going on with graffiti that most of us don’t have any idea about? Graffiti in many instances are done by taggers pledging allegiance to a “crew” or group of people. These crews are farming grounds for gangs and the markings these crews leave are what gain them their notoriety and fame in the underworld.

Stopping graffiti from becoming a walk of stars is as valuable as keeping the city blight free. The amount of hassle graffiti removal provides is not without the benefits of deliberately letting criminals know that they are not welcome in our communities.


pdf-flatIn 1996 the city of Seattle adopted the graffiti nuisance ordinance. The ordinance is managed by the director of Seattle Engineering Department Solid Waste Utility whom sends out a letter letting the property owner know that their property has become a graffiti nuisance property.

The ordinance states that a building owner has 10 days to comply with an order for graffiti removal or face penalties of $100 per day. This ordinance was adopted by Seattle after seeing the success of cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Portland and San Francisco in combating graffiti through similar programs.

Although this ordinance may seem harsh to a business owner, it’s been well proven that timely removing graffiti, prevents graffiti vandalism from happening. A building that doesn’t remove graffiti quickly becomes a magnet for vandals to not only continue defacing that property, but the surrounding properties as well.


click here for our price listGraffiti removal is based on two factors, the first being the material it was applied to and the second being the size of the tag. Materials such as brick, metal and concrete all have very different methods involved in removing graffiti. Time and materials is normally how these graffiti tags are estimated for removal.

Typically the cost for graffiti removal is based on a 4 hour least for most companies. The cost can quickly add up when the graffiti is done on historic brick or landmarks that must be given great care in preserving during the process. In these situations a chemical agent is applied over and over till the markings of graffiti are removed. Effective graffiti removal products are not cheap and repeated applications drive the price up.

Elephant Snot Graffiti Remover 1 Gal Used By Professionals on Porous Surfaces for Exceptional Graffiti Removal of spray paint, marking pens, difficult to remove 2-part paint, epoxy, urethane and more