If you’re looking for Clyde, NC power washing services, you likely have personal or commercial property you’d like to deep clean. Power washing can be a powerful tool for removing unwanted plant life, algae, or mildew as well as grime, dirt, and pollen—but did you know power washing may sometimes be used to remove graffiti as well?
Unwanted graffiti can be quite an eyesore. It can be found on buildings, bridges, sidewalks, and even public transportation like buses or train cars. While graffiti can add some character to a city, it’s usually considered vandalism and is punishable by law. If you’re a business or property owner who has been unfortunate enough to experience graffiti on your property, you may be wondering what the best way to remove it is. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about graffiti removal.
What Is Power Washing?
Power washing is a means of cleaning a surface (such as the siding to a house, a concrete patio, driveway, or wooden deck) by using pressurized, heated water jets to blast away moss, dirt, mold, and more—and it can even be used in the process of graffiti removal. Power washers can heat water to as much as 300°F, which means it sterilizes as it removes surface material. This also allows detergents and surfactants to better penetrate the surface of what the power washer is cleaning, making for a deeper, more thoroughly cleaned result.
What Is Graffiti Removal?
Graffiti removal is the process of removing marks, paint, etching, or some other form of vandalism from public or personal property and attempting to restore said property to its former state. Typically, graffiti removal will require the use of chemicals like lacquer thinner, acetone, methylene chloride, or mineral spirits, though there are many different approaches to removing graffiti. As such, graffiti removal efforts are largely based upon the vandal’s medium (spray paint or permanent marker, for example) and the material upon which the vandalism has occurred, whether this is wood, brick, concrete, or something else.
Common Targets for Graffiti
If you’ve ever been to a large city, chances are you’ve seen some form of graffiti at play—but you don’t have to go to The Big Apple to witness vandalism. Generally speaking, graffiti is most common in communal spaces like a bus stop, commercial buildings, or private property located next to a public area like a park. While some vandals create graffiti opportunistically, others will be a little more discerning about where they place their “tags,” looking for something a little more eye-catching, like a pre-existing monument, statue, or bridge.
Commonly though, graffiti can be found on billboards, exteriors of buildings facing the street, schools, sidewalks, parking garages, vehicles, park benches, and more.
Can Power Washing Remove Graffiti?
Restoring a piece of property back to its original state after a vandal has defaced it is no small task—in fact, sometimes the simplest solution is simply to slap another coat of paint over the top of the graffiti. However, don’t give up on your vandalized property just yet! Power washing your property may just save you the trouble of repainting, refinishing, or replacing what’s been damaged.
For example, if you are dealing with spray paint graffiti, you will want to apply a chemical to loosen the bond of the spray paint with your defaced property; this is usually methylene chloride, or some other paint-removing solvent. The amount of time you leave the chemical in contact with the graffiti is known as the “chemical dwell time”—sometimes taking upwards of 20 minutes for best results.
After you’ve soaked the graffiti with some kind of paint removing solution, you may choose to agitate the surface of the vandalism with a stiff-bristled brush. Finally, take a step back and power wash the paint away. Repeat the process if necessary.
How To Remove Most Graffiti
In many cases, the process of removing graffiti will be similar to the steps noted above—depending, of course, on the type of material that’s been vandalized and the medium of the vandalism. (Alternatively, vandals might choose to etch a message into a softer surface, like wood or even concrete. For this form of vandalism, you might be better off sanding or sandblasting the surface until it is smooth again and refinishing it as appropriate.)
Of course, you wouldn’t want to damage your property in your efforts to remove graffiti—and power washing is such a powerful form of pressure washing, that it can sometimes take cleaning a touch too far. In fact, irresponsible power washing can end up in pockmarked concrete, marred wood surfaces, and even cracked plastic or vinyl, if the pressure is set too high for the job at hand. This is why it is generally better to call in professional power washers to remove your graffiti, as they will not only have the expertise to tackle the job, but will likely also have power washer insurance as well. This insurance protects the business you hire of course, but it also protects the customer—and their property—too.
Who Pays for Graffiti Removal?
No matter which way you cut it, graffiti is illegal. It can feel like you should not have to pay for graffiti removal if your property has been defaced; however, if your personal property or business has been vandalized, it is generally your responsibility to clean it up. If the graffiti has occurred in a more communal or publicly-owned space, then it is up to the committee or council responsible for managing that space to remove the graffiti. While it might seem unfair that a vandal could get away with damaging your property, just remember that if they’re caught in the act, they can face up to 10 years in jail…so maybe invest in some security cameras while you’re at it!
Will Graffiti Removal Damage Paint?
It can be a lateral move to go to great lengths to remove vandalism from your property only to end up causing lasting damage in the process. Professional power washers will be able to harness the eco-friendly power of steam and hot water where abrasives like sand would be too rough. Also, if you’re worried about removing paint under the graffiti, try using a lacquer thinner before you rinse!
Clyde, NC Power Washing
It can be frustrating to experience vandalism in shared spaces, let alone on private property or the premises of your business. However, if a vandal defaces your property, you do have options for how to best restore it to how it was, before the graffiti. By using a combination of special chemical solvents, manual scrubbing or Peel Away, and power washing, professional pressure washers can help you remove unwanted graffiti and restore order to your domain.
Are you looking for Clyde, NC power washing services to remove graffiti from your home or business? Contact WNC Wash Pro’s today for a consultation, or click here to browse our portfolio of previous work!