Read these 11 Graffiti Removal Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Pressure Washers tips and hundreds of other topics.
Are you new to graffiti removal? To get consistent results with your equipment, begin each job with a small test area to make sure the masonry can stand up to sandblasting before you start. Many modern buildings have dyes in their masonry; some are "integrally dyed", while others have only a surface coating which bleaches out easily. Because buildings are often built with a mixture of materials, streaking and discoloration during graffiti removal is always possible. Cleaning a small test area will help you determine what method of graffiti removal will give the best results.
Using water pressure alone instead of a graffiti removal chemical will reduce wear and tear on your building, and naturally cuts the cost of graffiti removal. Stubborn layers of paint require graffiti removal chemicals, but use those chemicals operate your equipment with approximately 80 PSI. The low PSI will deliver the graffiti removal product to the surface of the building where the graffiti removal is needed. Higher PSI drives the graffiti removal chemicals deep into the masonry and may cause staining.
If you are starting a graffiti removal business, the surface you are cleaning dictates how to proceed. Concrete brick and simulated stone often look like clay brick and natural stone, but will require different methods of graffiti removal. The key to successful sandblasting is using the portable sandblaster on surfaces durable enough to withstand the work. Concrete brick and simulated stone are simply not tough enough.When you do use the sandblaster, avoid the mortar joints to prevent damage to the structure.
Do not use undiluted acid followed by water blasting to remove graffiti . There was a time when raw acid, (usually muriatic acid), was the only thing available to clean masonry, but today, graffiti removal chemicals used with a chemical injector work much better when a sandblasting equipment is not advisable. Today's masonry is much different than the kind made in the 20th century, and pure, raw acid is no longer recommended for graffiti removal. In some cases you may need to resort to an acid solution for cleaning dark brick. One part acid to nine parts water is a good place to start if you must use an acid-based solution. When mixing, pour acid into the water rather than pouring water into acid. This reduces the potential of being splashed with the acid.
One great way to remove graffiti is to sandblast it with a pressure washer and baking soda. This technique can be very effective for graffiti removal if used with a hot water pressure, though cold water can be used as well. There's one word of caution, though. If you're using this technique around landscaping, be sure you have adequate drainage that allows you to avoid the grassy areas or any other plant life. Water runoff containing baking soda changes the pH balance in soil and this can ruin any vegetative growth on top of the soil. Also check your local laws regarding retaining pools to see that toxic materials like lead based paint don't get into storm drains or seep into the ground water.
You can find graffiti in virtually every major urban area. Graffiti removal can be an exhausting and time-consuming process. However, using a pressure washer can help clean up the city's walls and streets.
• For metal surfaces, if removal methods like paint thinner and sandpaper aren't effective, try using a pressure washer on low pressure.
• You can employ a pressure washer on low pressure on a wood surface, but you must be careful to test an area to make sure you're not damaging the surface or driving the paint into the wood.
• For a masonry surface, the best method of graffiti removal is employing a pressure washer on low pressure. Take care to make sure that your nozzle is not on a narrow spray as this may etch the graffiti into the surface.
If you've determined that pressure washing is the best way to remove the graffiti from the surface you are cleaning, it's smart to exercise some safety precautions. Check out this list to help ensure further damage to property or injury doesn't result:
• Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer's instructions before operating the pressure washer.
• Keep the water pressure less than 500 PSI for delicate masonry.
• Set your nozzle angle at 15-50 degrees for optimal graffiti removal. Do not set your nozzle to zero degrees as this can damage wood surfaces and masonry.
• Never use a pressure washer on glass as the force may break or damage the surface.
• Never aim a pressure washer at another person or animal.
When dealing with graffiti removal, it's best to direct the spray of your pressure washer at a steep angle towards the surface you are cleaning. In other words, you must have your spray wand up close to the wall. This helps chip away at the graffiti and remove it in a peeling action. Refrain from spraying the surface straight on, as this may simply imbed the graffiti into the surface.
Graffiti removal by traditional means like paint thinner is difficult enough. Using a pressure washer can speed up the process and make graffiti removal an efficient process. To move things along even faster, use a turbo attachment to cut away the paint more quickly. Make sure you use this attachment only on durable surfaces like concrete or solid masonry walls.
Graffiti removal is tough enough without having to go back to the same surface and remove a newly tagged area. You can help make repeated graffiti removal faster by using pressure washer chemicals on the market geared toward making cleanup much easier. Apply the chemical to a high graffiti area with a pressure washer and the cleaner will form a wax-like barrier to prevent the new graffiti from saturating the surface. The next time graffiti shows up, you can simply wash it off with soap and water.
If you're using a pressure washer for graffiti removal, it's a good idea to start off with a test area to make sure you're using the appropriate amount of pressure and prevent further damage to the marked surface. Use a wide spray pattern to avoid etching any paint into the wall or area you're cleaning. You have to be especially careful with older masonry surfaces that are prone to crumbling. Make adjustments as you go until you find the right pace and pressure setting to remove the paint.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|