Vandalism and Graffiti

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Graffiti is art that is written, painted, or drawn on a wall or other surface, usually without permission and within public view. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings.

Graffiti is a controversial subject. In most countries, marking or painting property without permission is considered by property owners and civic authorities as defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime, citing the use of graffiti by street gangs to mark territory or to serve as an indicator of gang-related activities. Graffiti has become visualized as a growing urban "problem" for many cities in industrialized nations, spreading from the New York subway system and Philadelphia in the early 1970s to the rest of the United States and Europe and other world regions.

Graffiti is more popular now than it's ever been. But, to business owners, it's nothing but vandalism. When it comes to graffiti, the faster you remove it, the easier it is to take off and the less likely vandals are to retarget that area. Warning signs and cameras can also help prevent it from recurring, but what do you do when you need to remove graffiti from brick, concrete, or another material ASAP?

There are many companies online offering products and procedures for removing graffiti.  However, these companies do not consider the different surfaces and type of graffiti that you might have. A thorough inspection must be done to determine the procedure and type of product to use on the surface the graffiti is on without damaging the surface.

There are Four Essential Elements of Graffiti Removal

1. Chemical Strength - It's important to match chemical strength to the surface you are attempting to clean. Heavy duty graffiti removers are designed for non-sensitive surfaces such as brick, concrete, and stone. Medium duty graffiti removers are designed for surfaces such as plastics and painted surfaces. Light duty graffiti removers are designed for delicate surfaces such as murals and white boards.

2. Dwell Time- The longer the dwell time, the more effectively the graffiti removal solvent can soften and dissolve the graffiti tag paint. Tagging refers to the artist signature A graffiti removal gel is designed to cling to a vertical surface, reduce dripping, and provide a longer dwell time. In some cases, graffiti tags break quickly, within 30 seconds or a minute or two. In other cases, the tags can take 15 or 20 minutes -or even longer. Warmer ambient temperatures, some abrasion during the dwell time, an application of additional graffiti remover during the dwell time can increase effectiveness and decrease the length of the dwell time

3. Abrasion- A scrub with a stiff brush during dwell time can increase effectiveness as it can help to move lose graffiti paint pigment aside to allow graffiti removal solvent to come into contact with the graffiti paint pigment underneath and soften its bond.
A pressure washer is an ideal tool as it provides both micro-abrasion and rinsing in one step. If a fan tip nozzle is used, damage to the substrate can be avoided. In some cases, graffiti removal techniques rely heavily on abrasion or scrubbing, such as sand blasting or soda blasting, essentially a gritty medium grind away at the surface to remove the graffiti tag. In other cases, abrasion is not used at all preferring a chemical solvent and a long, typically overnight dwell time.

4. Temperature - The warmer it is, the faster the graffiti removal can happen. Molecules move quickly when it's warm and slowly when it's cold. In summer months, dwell times are noticeably faster than dwell times in winter months. In colder temperatures, the sunlight on surface can help. Also, in winter months, hot water in the pressure washer can make a significant improvement to effectiveness.