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Graffiti Removal Program

Graffiti Removal Program

Commercial or rental property owners must remove graffiti within three days of noticing the graffiti or of receiving written notice from the city.

If the graffiti is not removed, the property owner will receive a warning notice that a summons will be issued for continued non-compliance.

If the graffiti remains after warning is given, the property owner will receive a summons. A first-time summons is $250, which can be mailed in. The violation maximum penalty is $1,000 and 90 days in jail.

For more information about the city's private property graffiti removal program, for a list of recommended graffiti removal materials and supplies, or for guidance from city staff on how best to remove graffiti, please call 303-441-3200. To report graffiti on public property, please call the city's Public Works Department or select the "Graffiti" link to report it online.

To report a graffiti crime on your property, call the Boulder Police at 303-441-3333. The city has successfully prosecuted graffiti cases and appreciates the efforts of residents who provide information that may help us apprehend graffiti taggers.

Graffiti Removal Tips

Below is a list of tips on how to remove graffiti on various surfaces. The city does not endorse specific brands of products, but rather uses brand names to help the consumer identify these graffiti removal materials and supplies.

Metal Surfaces

  • Try wiping graffiti with any common paint thinner (ex: mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, acetone), or try graffiti removal products such as "Goof Off." Sometimes wiping the graffiti with light penetrating oil such as "WD-40" or "Three-in-One" will remove it.
  • If graffiti remains, try to remove it by rubbing with steel or bronze wool, or light sandpaper.
  • If graffiti still remains, try power-washing it with a 3000 PSI pressure washer.
  • If none of these methods work, paint over the graffiti.

Wood Surfaces

  • If the wood is not weathered and is sealed with paint, stain or sealer, try to remove it by wiping it with mineral spirits. If the wood is weathered, do not use this technique, as the mineral spirits will be absorbed by the wood, driving the paint further down into the wood.
  • Power washing with a 3000 PSI pressure washer can be used, however, observe carefully to make sure the pressure is not driving the paint deeper into the wood grain.
  • If these methods do not work, sand the wood and re-paint or simply paint over the graffiti.

Plastic Surfaces

  • Try wiping graffiti with a light, penetrating oil such as "WD-40" or "Three-in-One." Do not use paint thinners as they can soften the plastic and can cause clouding (if clear plastic) or permanent tackiness of the surface.
  • Sometimes a light rubbing with ultra-fine steel or bronze wool will remove the paint.
  • If these methods don't remove the graffiti, paint over it.

Masonry Surfaces

  • The best option for this type of surface is to power-wash the graffiti with a 3000 PSI-pressure washer. Be careful in selecting the type of tip you use in the pressure wand. Too narrow of a tip (such as 0 degree) will etch the masonry surface leaving a perfect outline of the graffiti removed.
  • Sand-blasting is another removal option. As with pressure washing, be careful not to allow the sandblasting tip to remain in one spot too long as it can permanently etch the surface. Keep the tip moving over the painted area and the surrounding area so as to blend in the surface.
  • If power-washing or sand-blasting does not remove the graffiti, the next best option is to paint over the graffiti.

Glass Surfaces

  • The best method for removing painted graffiti from glass is to use a razor blade to carefully scrape it off. This method is 99 percent effective. Use the razor blade in a holder and scrape at a 30-degree angle to the glass.
  • If the paint does not come completely off after using the razor blade, use ultra-fine bronze wool with water to gently rub the remaining paint off.
  • You can use paint thinners on glass; however, the razor blade method is much quicker and more environment-friendly.
  • Always read product labels and follow all manufacturer instructions and recommendations. Most of the products identified above are flammable - use caution and follow safety directions when using these products. Always use proper safety clothing and equipment (including gloves, safety glasses, etc.). It is recommended that a small "test" area be done prior to a full application of any product.
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