Graffiti Removal FAQs

Graffiti Removal Frequently Asked Questions

At Scorpion Surface, we pride ourselves in making the community a better place through graffiti removal. Some of our customers have asked – what’s the difference between “art” and “graffiti”?

Street art tends to be image-based, whereas graffiti is most often word-based. “Tagging”is the most basic form of graffiti and the most prevalent. With tagging, graffiti artists use a symbol, word, or series of letters as their signature or “tag” to identify themselves and mark territory.  Graffiti artists are generally not concerned with the public’s reaction to their work. Graffiti isn’t about pleasing or connecting with the masses. In contrast, street art is usually created with a specific and public audience in mind, especially when it’s been commissioned by businesses, local organizations, or city officials. Street artists and muralists often aim to provoke audience interest and interaction through their work.

Graffiti artists are usually amateurs, while street art is generally created by professional artists. In the eyes of Portland businesses and community organizations, street art, like murals, is more easy to appreciate. Sometimes the graffiti artist Banksy is used as a reference as to how graffiti can serve a purpose. The “art” that Banksy puts on surfaces sometimes increases the value of the property. We must remember this is the exception not the rule. In the end and from a legal standpoint, graffiti is a type of felony property damage.

Without removal, graffiti gives the impression that the building, or even the neighborhood, has been abandoned. At Scorpion we’re passionate about removing tags like this. We work hard to ensure graffiti is removed quickly. The longer graffiti stays up on the wall or surface, the more likely it will happen again and again. A swift response is the best response.

While walking out on the street, have you ever added your wrapper or empty to-go cup to an already existing pile of garbage when no trash cans were present? It would seem like a reasonable act, since there’s already garbage there anyway… Right?

This line of thought is known as “The Broken Window Theory”. According to the theory, a house with a broken window has a higher chance of getting more windows broken than a house without any broken windows. The underlying concept is that when something is already tainted by an unresolved impurity, more of the same impurities are likely to occur.

Just like broken windows, vandalized walls tend to be targets for even more vandalism. If an area is perceived as neglected, some people will also imply that they have permission to vandalize the area. Once graffiti has been painted on a wall and is allowed to remain, other vandals will think it’s a place for their tagging too. Once more graffiti is added, a quick paint job on the surface may not be enough. Vandals have tagged it – now it’s considered theirs to keep tagging.

Understandably, home or building owners may be reluctant to paint over graffiti immediately because of the expense. You might think that an immediate paint job will cost you more in the long run because the vandals will only come back. In actuality, removing the evidence of vandalism dramatically helps with graffiti prevention. By immediately painting over graffiti, vandals will be prevented from developing a perception of abandonment and the permission implied with it. They will also recognize that their efforts for expression will not last long if placed on your walls and keep walking.

Calling the police and installing security cameras is only part of the solution to your graffiti problem. The key to graffiti abatement is to fix the signs of it early on. Let Scorpion help you regain control of your surfaces.

Graffiti is a big problem for many businesses. Graffiti removal is not always easy – it costs time and money to remove graffiti from your exteriors.
We at Scorpion offer three proven tactics to keep graffiti off your property: paint over the graffiti, remove graffiti from unpaintable surfaces, and apply graffiti shield coating systems making future graffiti easier to remove. In certain situations, we may advise installing a mural on the surface. Even so, we would recommend using graffiti shield coatings on murals as well.

Graffiti shield coating systems make future graffiti easier to remove through the application of an anti-graffiti coating to the surface – usually in layers. The coating helps owners remove graffiti more quickly and easily. Once applied, owner’s will need to stop using cleaning agents or power washers that contain acids because they can strip the coating. There are good, long-lasting coatings available but most require water pressure washing equipment to apply. As a result, we recommend consulting a professional in order to ensure proper application. Scorpion can help you with that! The coating will hold up under adverse conditions, including sunlight, humidity, chemicals, and abrasion. And because it’s available in clear gloss and matte versions, it will protect the underlying surface aesthetics… or even enhance them.

Removing graffiti is one of the toughest building maintenance chores to deal with. Graffiti that’s been there for weeks, months or longer, and has baked in the sun or been coated over again by another vandal, is some of the toughest to remove. Soap and water usually won’t do it. But a lot of harsh chemicals and sharp scrapers might and these can be difficult to work with. You’ll need to wear protection, have the proper equipment, and check for wind conditions. However you choose to deal with graffiti, the cleaning-off process is a long, messy one if you choose to do it yourself. And your results are not guaranteed. To save time, money and the agony of defeat, a professional cleaning firm like Scorpion Surface, which has successfully dealt with over a thousand incidents of graffiti, could save you the headache.

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