Walking out your door and seeing that your home or garage was a target for vandalism can make your heart sink. Not only is it no fun to feel like a victim, chances are you know that you have a some hard work ahead of you to get the paint off of the vinyl siding. The following guide can help you remove it and save your siding.
Let it dry
Graffiti is usually done with spray paint, which is tacky when wet. This can cause it to smear if you try to clean it off right away, leading to an even bigger mess. If the paint seems fresh, touch it in several places to make sure it is dry before attempting any clean-up.
Use the right cleaner
Most graffiti removers are made for wood or masonry. These won't work on vinyl siding, since they can actually melt or weaken the siding. When looking at graffiti removers or paint strippers, read the label carefully and make sure they are listed as safe for vinyl. Goof-off is one brand that sells a vinyl-safe paint remover, but there are other brands available.
Test in a small area
Even removers listed as vinyl-safe can strip off the top layer of the vinyl. This may not be a concern if your vinyl has a matte finish. Test the remover on a small hidden area first. Lightly dampen a white cloth and dab it onto the vinyl. Dry it with a second cloth. If you don't notice damage, proceed with the cleanup.
Remove the paint
Application methods can vary depending on the brand. In most cases, you will apply the paint remover to a small area to loosen the paint. Then, scrub lightly with a teflon pad or medium-bristle brush. Repeat as needed until the paint is removed, and then rinse the area with water. Keep in mind that the paint remover may harm nearby plants, so cover them with a tarp or trash bags to protect them from run-off.
Prevent it from happening again
Cleaning up the graffiti quickly discourages further tagging, since one instance of visible graffiti may invite others to also leave their mark. Use good lighting around your home, especially if the graffiti happened in an area hidden from the street, such as a back garage. Motion lights can work well because they startle and scare off would-be vandals. Finally, consider making inviting surfaces hard to access. Planting a thorny rose bush against a back wall can do wonders when it comes to discouraging vandals.
For more help on repairing your vinyl, contact a siding contractor in your area.