Nationwide, graffiti is a multi-billion dollar problem. And there are hidden costs as well. Graffiti signals a decline in neighborhoods, lowers property values and discourages businesses. Relief is available, however. Coatings can be applied to concrete to prevent graffiti from penetrating the surface. The coatings aren't difficult to clean and the surface isn't marred. While these coatings aren't the answer to the graffiti problem, they do help combat it.

TYPES AND PROPERTIES OF COATING MATERIALS

Most graffiti-resistant coatings fall into one of the following three classes: solvent acrylics, epoxies, and polyurethanes. Solvent acrylics are clear or colored with decorative pigment to stain the concrete. Easily applied to a dry concrete substrate, they form a film to seal the surface. The film has a fair degree of chemical resistance but many solvents that remove graffiti will remove the coating as well. Epoxies form tough, hard films that clean easily and have excellent solvent resistance and abrasion resistance. Polyurethanes also form tough, hard films that clean easily and have excellent solvent resistance and abrasion resistance.

WHICH COATING TO CHOOSE

No coating is impervious to all types of graffiti. Epoxies and urethanes have the best stain resistance but a few materials will attack even these coatings. That's why some users choose acrylic coatings. They reason that if the coating comes off with a solvent, this guarantees removal of the graffiti as well. They have to pay for the labor to put on a new acrylic coat, but material costs are relatively low. If a high-performance coating is stained, it may have to be removed or sandblasted and recoated. The costs of labor and material are high. Acrylics are a poor choice, however, if you want to minimize maintenance costs.