While graffiti may be a legitimate art form for many, most business owners aren't too keen on seeing their concrete store front defaced. And sadly, many provincial graffiti bylaws state that cleaning graffiti falls on the shoulders of the owner of the building. Removing graffiti from your storefront requires a little elbow grease, some determination, and the right equipment.
Before cleaning, take a moment to inspect the graffiti on your wall. Dab it with a slightly damp paper towel. Did any of the graffiti come off on the rag? If so, you're in luck, as the clever artist who decorated your store used chalk instead of paint.
Cleaning chalk off concrete or brick surfaces is an easy process that requires:
- Spraying the graffiti with a hose from the top to the bottom.
- Filling a gallon bucket with warm water.
- Adding a few drops of mild soap or detergent.
- Scrubbing the chalk with a soapy scrubbing brush.
- Rinsing the soap off the surface of your wall.
- Repeating as necessary.
If no graffiti comes off when you scrub it with a damp rag, you're dealing with paint. And while cleaning paint graffiti is definitely trickier than chalk, it's not impossible. Clean paint off your concrete store front by following these steps:
- Sweep the wall with a broom to eliminate dirt and dust particles.
- Clean the wall with soap and water, rinse with a hose, and air dry for at least 2-3 hours.
- Scrape paint with a putty knife to remove it from hard-to-reach areas, such as around corners or under your window sills.
- Apply a chemical paint stripper using a long-handled brush. Make sure to wear a respirator, rubber gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt during this process. Use a paint stripper designed for oil-based paints.
- Leave the surface to air dry for six to eight hours.
- Wash away the paint with a brush or a hose.
More Extreme Methods
Washing graffiti by hand will save you money on investing in heavy dusty industrial cleaning tools. However, when graffiti resists your hand-cleaning methods, it's time to break out the big guns: pressure washers and sandblasters. These tools will quickly eliminate graffiti and get your wall clean again.
When using a pressure washer, make sure to purchase or rent one with a range between 1,300 and 2,500 psi. Anything lower won't have enough power, while anything higher will damage your walls.
Clean graffiti off your walls with a power washer by:
- Putting on rain gear to avoid getting soaked.
- Setting power washer to about 2,000 psi.
- Attaching a 30-45 degree spray tip.
- Holding the tip of the washer several inches away from the surface of the concrete.
- Moving it quickly across the surface to avoid surface wear.
Using a sandblaster to clean paint is a more involved process that requires:
- Selecting the right cleaning materials. For concrete, sand, corncob, and walnut shells should be appropriate.
- Putting on protective gear, such as gloves, a welding apron, a respirator, a helmet, and safety goggles.
- Laying plastic on the ground around the wall to collect your cleaning material bounce-back.
- Moving the tip of the sandblaster quickly across the surface of the concrete to remove the paint and avoid causing damage.
Following these steps should be all you need to do to get the graffiti off your walls. However, if you don't know how to use mechanical washing tools or don't have the time to learn, call a cleaning professional from a company like BlastAll Power Washing Janitorial Services to do it for you.