How to Remove Graffiti from Masonry

At Abstract Masonry, we work with a variety of stunning historical structures to preserve and restore their masonry. In many cases, these structures are in areas that are prone to vandalism from graffiti. If you have a masonry building in a city area, one day it is going to get graffitied. It’s just a fact of life. It’s a matter of when not if. However, that doesn’t mean that you should just accept unsightly graffiti. Graffiti removal is one of the many restoration services that can be performed on masonry. Here are some of the key methods that we use to remove graffiti from masonry…

Organic Solvent Methods

There are a variety of different organic solvents that can be used as a cleaning agent to get graffiti off of brick, stone, and other masonry materials. Some examples include the following:

  • Alcohol (and Methanol)
  • Ethers
  • Acetone
  • Halogenated Hydrocarbons
  • Benzene
  • Toluene
  • Etc.

Picking the right organic solvent is critical for graffiti removal because using the wrong agent could lead to discoloration of the masonry material, which would create a far more challenging problem than just removing the unwanted spraypaint. In addition to that, some organic solvents come with notable health risks and require special safety equipment to use and apply safely. Because of this, only a professional masonry restoration professional should use organic solvents as a method of graffiti removal.

A Liquid Poultice

An alternative to using organic solvents is to use a liquid poultice, which is a specialized cleaning agent that is designed to clean acid-sensitive surfaces. This makes it an ideal material to clean brick, stone, and stucco. It is particularly good at getting into the pores of masonry materials and clearing out unwanted paint particles. Still, using a liquid poultice incorrectly can still have negative side effects for the health and appearance of masonry, especially if too much is used or if it is applied too rigorously.

Preventative Coatings

While we stated above that you can’t really do much to prevent graffiti from happening, you can mitigate the effect that it has on your masonry by sealing the materials with protective coatings. These sealing make it harder for the spray paint to stick to the walls. It also makes it much easier to clean off graffiti in the future, to the point where you could train general cleaning staff to do so, rather than relying on a professional masonry restoration specialist.