You spend a lot of time ensuring your outdoor graphics are just right. So, when graffiti artists decide to instead make your sign their own personal canvas, it’s frustrating to say the least.
Graffiti and tagging on banners, billboards and other signs has become the norm. It’s the most common type of property vandalism. These visual vandals leave their mark whenever they want, wherever they want. Even if your store or signage is placed in a respectable area where you don’t see a lot of graffiti, that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen to you.
Graffiti artists use a variety marking tools, most notably spray paint and markers, to leave their signature on your graphics. But just because they’ve chosen your sign to show off their artistic abilities, doesn’t mean it permanently has to be there or that you have to buy a new sign.
The cost of replacing your graphics or removing graffiti off them can quickly skyrocket, but when you use the right protective material, you don’t have to worry about your graphics getting unapproved artistic additions.
How to Protect Your Graphics
Adding a laminate coating directly to your vinyl graphics is your solution, and there are three common coatings used to protect vinyl surfaces from this type of vandalism:
- Sacrificial coatings: A protective clear coat that forms a barrier over the sign’s surface it’s protecting. If the surface is vandalized, the coating along with the graffiti is removed using a high-pressure washer, but this also means the coating will need to be reapplied. This is the most inexpensive coating, but since it does need to be reapplied when washed off, it’s best to only use on short-term graphics.
- Semi-sacrificial coatings: This coating type is a safety shield that also acts as a penetrating sealer on the surface it’s applied to, protecting the surface’s pores. When the surface is vandalized by a graffiti artist, the graffiti and coating are removed using a graffiti removal solvent and a high-pressure washer. Like sacrificial coatings, this coating needs to be reapplied after a vandalism attack, so use with short-term graphics.
- Permanent coatings: This option is the most expensive of the three, but when done right, it only needs to be applied once. Permanent coatings create a protective coating over a sign that spray paint won’t bond to. If a surface with this coating is tagged, all you need is a simple graffiti solvent (toluene is a good option), a rag and a little scrubbing. This removal method doesn’t affect the sign’s underlying surface or the protective permanent coating. This is a good option for more permanent, long-term signs.
Benefits of Graffiti Proof Coatings
These durable UV protected laminate finishes not only protect your signs against graffiti, they also help protect them against common weather elements—sun, rain, etc.—as well as mildew, mold, scuff marks and stains.
Graffiti proof coatings are applied after your vinyl signage is printed. They protect your graphics and make cleaning unwanted graffiti off easier, but also create a nice finish that makes your sign’s design really stand out.
To find out more about protecting your vinyl signs, ask one of our signage experts.