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
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
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.