Architects memo no.
56: February 1999
clones are people two!
From the original terse messages scratched on the walls of the
urinal in Taihape to the dynamic outpourings on the walls of the Wellington
bus terminal, the 'art' of graffiti grows more intrusive every day.
Whatever one's reaction to it is, and some of it can be very witty,
it cannot be denied that it defaces buildings and results in spiraling
The two major factors to be considered in graffiti damage are the
kind of vehicle used for the graffiti and the type of surface to which
it is applied. Modern technology has supplied the graffiti artist with
a formidable array of raw materials with which to pursue their craft,
in the vanguard of which is the versatile spray bomb. Based on high
polymer technology and durable pigments, these materials are not easily
It is stating the obvious when saying that the smoother the surface
the more easily cleaned it is, but it should always be borne in mind
in the war against graffiti. Unsealed porous surfaces such as brick,
concrete and concrete masonry, unpolished stone etc can accept the graffiti
medium within the pores of the surface and even complete removal of
the graffiti on the surface still leaves behind its indelible message.
Only removal of the surface layer by sandblasting or the like can completely
remove deeply penetrated graffiti.
Coatings have a role to play in combating graffiti by providing smooth
sealed surfaces, which prevent penetration.
As the coating then becomes the layer which receives the graffiti,
it in itself must be able to resist the cleaning agents and strong solvents
used to remove the offending messages. This necessitates the use of
very hard, densely cross-linked coatings such as specially formulated
two-pot epoxies or polyurethanes with solvent resistance as their chief
Solvents used to clean off graffiti need to be strong enough to remove
the graffiti without affecting the underlying coating. They also require
an evaporation rate that is not too fast otherwise the graffiti becomes
smeared over the surface and re-dries as the solvent evaporates. The
ideal cleaning solvent will remain wet long enough for the surface to
be wiped clean.
The Resene coatings most useful in this area are Resene Uracryl, which
combines superb exterior durability with graffiti resistance, and Resene
Aquapoxy, a completely odour-free coating suitable for areas not affected
by UV light. Although many existing coated surfaces can have their
graffiti resistance improved by overcoating with the above products,
best resistance is achieved when the system is designed for uncoated
Graffiti Cleaner is a low evaporating, low odour solvent system that will facilitate the removal of most graffiti.
Finally, for the most efficient obliteration of graffiti damage, which
cannot be removed, the super-hiding Resene
Contractor is unsurpassed.