How do you remove graffiti from metal and metal siding?

How do you remove graffiti from metal and metal siding?

When removing graffiti from metal the first thing you want to notice is whether it is coated or uncoated metal.

How do you remove graffiti from Coated Metal?

For powder-coated metal, and factory painted metal surfaces use Sensitive Surface Graffiti Remover or Safewipes as instructed.

If there are inks or dyes that have left a stain on the coating these can be removed with Feltpen Fadeout. This can be true for some spray paints including reds and any color with red in it. (For eg: browns, oranges, pinks, etc).

You can add a little more Sensitive Surface Graffiti Remover over the top and agitate to speed things up. This technique can be especially helpful on metals that have been coated with a “direct to metal” oil-based paint. Alternatively, leave the Feltpen Fadeout on longer  to do its job. Once you see the stain fade a little, you will fade the lot.

For larger graffiti on walls and factory finished coated surfaces such as security blinds and garage doors we normally start with Sensitive Surface Graffiti Remover, but if it’s proving to be slow going you can add some Heritage Graffiti Remover or Bare Brick Graffiti Remover to your Sensitive Surface Graffiti Remover to pep it up so it dissolves the graffiti faster.

This small business was tagged on overnight and looking back to new the next morning by using the World's Best Sensitive Surface Graffiti RemoverPro tip! The sooner you remove graffiti off of a tagged surface, the better. 

Another useful technique is to wet the surface down first and then brush on/broom on Heritage Graffiti Remover in sections. Agitate with the brush as you apply it and push it in a bit between coats with a soft green scourer. Then rinse away with cold water pressure is sections.

Some graffiti on painted metal siding may need to be color matched and painted over. A High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) spray gun is an ideal tool for this work because you can spray accurately, change colors and clean your tool quickly in the field.

How do you remove graffiti from Uncoated Metal?

When removing graffiti from uncoated metal surfaces there are a variety of techniques that can be helpful depending on the type of metal surface you care cleaning.

Chrome and Anodized metal surfaces are generally sensitive to PH and can darken or stain if you use any cleaner or remover that contains alkaline. For this reason, we normally use Sensitive Surface Graffiti Remover which is PH neutral. 

If you are removing thicker old paint that has been brushed or rolled on or hardened spray can paint you can use Transgel and leave it on to crinkle up the paint so you can pressure wash away.

Transgel left on for 30 min followed by hot water pressure wash removes old paint from aluminum flashing . Courtesy of Texas EnviroBlast.

How do you remove graffiti from Galvanized Steel?

When removing graffiti from galvanized steel surfaces such as light poles and other architectural pieces we use Sensitive Surface Graffiti Remover or Safewipes for smaller graffiti such as street poles etc. 

For larger jobs or baked-on spray cans we often see Bare Brick Stone & Masonry Graffiti Remover used. There is a possibility that some galvanized surfaces may darken slightly but this is not usually noticeable. Still, it is always worth removing a little before coating up larger areas.

How to remove graffiti from Stainless Steel

When removing graffiti from stainless steel use Bare Brick Stone and Masonry Graffiti Remover. This product is used daily on stainless steel commuter trains like the one below. Apply, agitate and rinse with a pressure washer.

For the removal of thicker paints or very hard sun-baked spray paints use Transgel Paint and Graffiti Remover.

How do you remove graffiti from Bronze, Brass or Copper?

If you are removing graffiti from bronze, brass, or copper we recommend using Bare Brick Stone & Masonry Graffiti Remover followed by a rinse with a pressure washer. These metals are typically not reactive to the remover.

Many historic bronze statues have been cleaned perfectly using this method. Sometimes removers such as Vanish or Transgel are used for thicker paint bombs or spills. 

Graffiti covers this Bronze Statue. Before and After, courtesy of Alerta Graffiti.

How to remove graffiti from Corten Steel?

Corten steel has become an increasingly popular material as an architectural feature and is recognized by an even bloom of rust on the surface. 

When removing graffiti from Corten steel try to fully dissolve the graffiti as much as possible using Bare Brick Stone & Masonry Graffiti Remover followed by a hot water pressure wash.

For larger or older graffiti on Corten steel, it is hard to remove it without affecting the patina or rust so make sure you remove it a little before coating up whole areas. If you end up leaving the rust off it will come back over time especially if it is frequently exposed to water or moisture from landscaping.

Graffiti covers Corten Steel

Once the rust finish is back to normal we recommend World’s Best Graffiti Coating to protect it from happening again. Worlds Best Graffiti Coating  has been specified on corten steel public sculptures placed in areas susceptible to graffiti.

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Products Mentioned

A water-soluble and cost-effective system to make its graffiti removal system easy-to-use - and highly effective. 

3 Golden Rules

1) If graffiti is not coming off easily, you're doing it wrong. You may require a change of tact or use of another product.

2) If you can't remove a little bit of graffiti, then you're not going to remove the lot. TEST FIRST before applying product to an entire job. This way you can determine if you’re on the right track before embarking on full scale removals.

3) If you're working hard, you're doing it wrong. Forget the scrubbing, blasting and any other abrasive measures. Put simply, either your products are working or they’re not. Any problems can be taken care of with the right technique.

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How to remove graffiti from metal