Case Studies

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Removing Graffiti from Stone and Brick

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TORC Cleaning Graffiti

Spectrum assessed the property to formulate a bespoke plan for the client

As a stain on a building’s fabric, graffiti can be deceptively difficult to remove and often proves to be too much for inexperienced cleaners to handle. When a regular client approached Spectrum with an apartment building blighted by hard-to-remove graffiti, our team was able to demonstrate their aptitude as stain removal brick and stone specialists. In addition to showcasing the TORC cleaning system, this case study serves as a superb example of, firstly, how paint removal from brick requires a dynamic approach and, secondly, how Spectrum are uniquely equipped and prepared to achieve outstanding results when removing graffiti from stone.

The Project

Essentially the project consisted of paint removal from brick and stone, but as we have come to expect, there was an array of complications. Firstly, this graffiti paint proved to be especially stubborn. Both traditional inert cleaning products and even basic steam cleaning methods proved to be ineffective. Additionally, the client had waited sometime before seeking a cleaning specialist. Therefore, the paint had ample time to seep into the stone and brickwork itself. These two factors together meant that the project would require a more drastic approach.
Over the course of 2 days, Spectrum executed the job successfully. Starting with a full assessment of the property, the team formulated a custom TORC cleaning based plan. The process removed any trace of graffiti without damaging the potentially fragile stonework. It would not have been possible without the extensive training our operatives receive, their experience in graffiti removal and their preparation for all eventualities. 
When discovering graffiti on your property, we always recommend that you seek professional assistance as soon as possible. If the paint has enough time to soak into your brick or stonework, the restoration process could be significantly more challenging. Not to mention also being time-consuming and costly. 

If the client had chosen a different cleaning specialist, the cost of these complications would have undoubtedly exceeded any initial quote. Luckily, they chose Spectrum! As such, any additional work or equipment needed to get the job done right came at no extra charge.

The Site

The apartment building’s fabric was composed of brick and stone. Whilst these are quite common materials for residential properties, they did present a unique challenge for our team. Removing graffiti from stone is infamously challenging. This is due to the potential for permanent damage created by the use of chemical cleaning solutions and solvents. Whilst such products may well remove the graffiti, they can eat away at both stone and brickwork, ultimately leaving the building in a worse state.
Much to our surprise, scaffolding had been erected around the building, presumably due to other ongoing building work. We were able to utilise this to make access easier. Scaffolding would have not usually been necessary for graffiti removal and yet did not impact the success of this job.

The Logistics

As mentioned earlier, scaffolding was already present around the building by the time we arrived on site. Despite not being strictly necessary, this helped us considerably in terms of access. Normally, we would not erect scaffolding for the removal of graffiti from stone. Instead, we would utilise our IRATA rope access training to abseil down from the roof or use cherry pickers—depending on what would be most suitable for the location. Cherry pickers, for instance, can cause major disruption on busy metropolitan pavements and so would not be suitable for projects in city centres.

When it comes to cleaning and restoration, the Spectrum team prides itself on adaptability in the face of the unexpected. So, when the typical techniques used for stain removal on brick and stone had little impact, it was only natural that they would devise an appropriate secondary solution. In this case, it involved the TORC cleaning system. It worked exceptionally well! It is not most professionals’ go-to solution for paint removal from brick or stone, but given the particularly stubborn nature of this graffiti—and the risk of damage from harsh chemicals—it was a wise choice.

 

TORC Cleaning

The TORC cleaning system is an advanced piece of cleaning equipment designed specifically for restoring brick and stone. When used by a trained operative, it lifts stains, restores colour, and lifts ground-in grit without harming the building material. For this reason, it is especially useful in restoring or maintaining heritage buildings.

Like its predecessor, the JOS system, TORC cleaning works by producing a low-pressure swirling vortex formed of air, water and a fine, inert granulate. These three elements work to sympathetically lift stains, remove dirt, and polish masonry without excessive heat or pressure. For this project, the fine granulate was able to work with the non-corrosive chemicals introduced in our first cleaning attempt to penetrate the stubborn graffiti, lifting it once and for all.

Stone and Brick Restoration Specialists

The extensive training given to our operatives in preserving the health of stonework and restoring vulnerable properties safely was pivotal in transforming this job from a failure into a success. Without a thorough understanding of the risks involved in removing graffiti from stone, and the potential applications of the TORC cleaning system, the client and their property's residents would still be plagued by graffiti.

For removing graffiti, dirt, organic build-up, chemical stains and more, contact Spectrum. We will not stop until we achieve the results you are dreaming of.

Stone and Brick

"The team did a great job using their initiative and working together to come up with a process for graffiti removal from stone and brick."

- Lucian Ivan, Managing Director

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