Fighting the Graffiti War

July 11, 2013

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Graffiti remains a problem for commercial buildings, government facilities, manufacturing plants – any structure that graffiti vandals deem suitable for their “art” or for gang tagging. The expense of graffiti removal and deterrence can significantly impact the bottom line of your company. Fortunately new coatings are being developed which provide improved resistance to graffiti and allow for easy and less costly graffiti removal.

These products fall into three basic categories: Permanent, semi-permanent and sacrificial systems. Permanent coatings are essentially impervious and resist graffiti application initially. Semi-permanent are not quite as resistant, but they can be rigorously cleaned when necessary with minimum damage to the coating. Sacrificial “shed” the coating when cleaned, thus eliminating the graffiti.

Permanent systems are those which are extremely resistant to paints or other defacing mediums. They give long service life, but are expensive to apply and very expensive to renew (although their service life can be as lengthy as 20 years, they are not actually permanent). They are often based on “non-stick” technologies or upon newer fluoropolymer technologies which are based on the chemical fluorine.

Semi-permanent coatings differ from permanent coatings because they can be renewed or re-coated if necessary without extraordinary expense. They are generally based on acrylic coatings, epoxies or urethanes. They are not as resistant as a permanent coating, but they allow for graffiti removal with chemicals and cleaners.

Sacrificial coatings are removable coatings such as wax based technologies. When defaced, the coating and the graffiti are removed at the same time; when needed, the surface is easily recoated. Some systems use special cleaning chemicals for removal while others use readily available products.

Which system is best? That depends on the individual needs of the facility. Permanent systems are initially expensive but in the case of high value facilities or difficult to reach areas they might be best. Semi-permanent coatings are not as expensive initially but will require ongoing maintenance and renewal. Sacrificial coatings are the least expensive but do incur more ongoing maintenance costs. Your industrial painting company can help you evaluate the various options.

One key, regardless of the system utilized, is a regular inspection and maintenance program designed to discover and remove graffiti as quickly as possible. The longer it remains on the surface, the more difficult it will be to remove.

Does your facility have a graffiti problem? What steps do you need to take to manage it? Would hiring an industrial painting contractor help resolve this issue for you?

Questions or comments?

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