We see graffiti on public and government property like train stations, schools, bridges and even private businesses. Sometimes private properties such as homes with fences backing onto laneways or busy roads can even have to deal with new graffiti. The spray paint can be one or two unsightly tags (nicknames) in one paint colour and it can be a graffiti prone area with a range of vandalism. This type of graffiti is painted without permission and against the law, not to mention makes the area unattractive. To remove graffiti it takes more than a new paint brush and pot, you need the right graffiti removal products it’s more than just a freshly painted wall
How do I remove or paint over graffiti?
Can you cover graffiti by painting over? This will depend on the whole surface and the spray paint itself. For example, if it’s a large area or entire wall with graffiti bleeds (drips) then it may be better to call in professional painters who will come with all the correct tools and paints. You can visit the paint store and explain the issue, they will probably recommend good surface preparation like a pressure wash, stiff bristle brush and advice on water-soluble paints etc. It’s going to take more than just a new paint job.
It will take at least two full coats of colour or stucco paint (depending on surface) to cover up the spray paint. Paint restoration by experts like Qpaint is recommended for heritage buildings, schools, council offices and businesses. Generally, the police and local council work together to prevent more vandalism. Recording the tags, reporting them and removing them.
Leaving the tagging up and not painting over the graffiti will often encourage other vandals to spray paint their tag on the same spot. Police keep a record of tags so when a person is identified to a tag they can be linked to all of the vandalism caused and costs of removal.
DIY Graffiti Removal
First check to see if the spray paint can be removed with some different methods like dishwashing liquid, paint thinner solvent, methylated spirits, oven cleaner or commercial graffiti cleaner. Follow the steps below for DIY graffiti removal. Our advice is to keep in mind the surface, a smooth wall can be cleaned much easier than porous walls like concrete. Professional painters are probably a better option for removal on surfaces like concrete and polished stone. As even following the best DIY graffiti removal steps may still leave visible signs of the spray paint.
1. Surface Prep
The removal process will not work if the surface is not prepped correctly. The surface needs to be clean and dry so the paint will adhere. You can use a pressure washer to remove any loose and failing material or if the surface is not suited to pressure washing try a stiff bristle brush. The paint store may recommend based on your description of the area cleaner and degreaser or a chemical removal product. Allow the wall to dry and touch up any cracks with a suitable filler then rub smooth with fine grade abrasive paper.
Remember if you use a chemical remover to wear protective clothing and a mask. Plus follow all the manufacturer’s safety procedures.
Use a primer-sealer designed for the surface – ask at your paint shop. And then make sure to follow the manufactures directions and allow it to dry completely. Usually, in normal drying conditions, two hours should be the minimum time for the walls.
Paint over the outdoor graffiti and cover it with the right paint. It will need one full coat to dry before applying the next coat. Speak to your local paint expert for advice to make sure you are future-proofing the building with the right paint. You will probably need to paint the whole wall especially if you have picked a new colour to the existing walls colour. And remember to leave to at least the minimum drying time before the next coat is painted.
Painting with a dark colour will help cover the spray paint with fewer coats than light paint.
Stopping More Graffiti
Future proof your property or business to prevent new vandalism or stop repeating tagging attacks by following these tips.
- Planting small areas like a front fence or small building area surfaces with trees and shrubs. Look for an attractive plant that also has prickles to give you additional protection.
- Anti-graffiti systems to clean the repeated graffiti and prevent paint damage.
- Install security lighting.
- Install video surveillance and make sure it’s visible.
- Do not leave objects like bins in an area vandals can use to climb the building.
- Hire a graffiti artist to paint a mural.
Removing Graffiti Longterm
The last point of hiring a graffiti artist to paint a mural may be a surprising one. But this is often done by local councils as a good graffiti prevention method. This needs to be done properly though, not just a handshake and a small painting. There are companies that specialise in graffiti murals and can give advice on how they go about the entire process. Street artist work is respected in the street art culture and graffiti vandals will not want to vandalise it. So hiring a graffiti artist to paint the walls is a great deterrent.
You will still need a clean surface and new coat paint ready for the artwork. So hire professional painters.