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"Removing graffiti scratches from stainless steel and other metals"

Current question:

September 13, 2021

Q. CAD designer for rolling stock.
Any recommendations for finishing (coating) on either mild steel, stainless steel or aluminium material that is EN 45545-2 (fire) compliant as well as vandal resistant?

Thank you.

Emmanuel Vega
- Brisbane Queensland

September 2021

A. Hi Emmanuel. I don't know anything regarding types and suppliers of vandal-resistant paints that Google doesn't tell me; apparently EN-45545-2 is a tough and detailed fire-resistance standard. But as for the substrates, aluminum would be a poor one unless it is anodized or hard anodized because it is so soft that it is easily scratched. Hard-anodized aluminum, if practical for the given component, is really hard and virtually scratch-proof.

There is a comment on this page that machine-turned (jeweled/dowel finish) stainless does a good job of hiding graffiti; I can't vouch for it or contradict it, but it sounds believable.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:


I run a graffiti removal company in Sydney, Australia and am constantly getting asked by my clients about a method to restore stainless steel (as part of shopfronts or in elevators) that has been scored and scratched by vandals. In addition to this I would like to protect the metal from further attack by applying some form of scratch resistant coating or treatment to the repaired surface.

I understand that there is a process called "Linishing" which is effective but have little idea what this involves or what is required to perform a high-quality repair.

Hope someone can help,

Kind regards,

Tim Ritchie
graffiti cleaning service - Sydney, NSW, Australia


Linishing basically means sanding the metal. With a linished finish it is normally a satin finish around the 120 grit to 180 grit finish.For good advice get in touch with an abrasive supplier in your area, they should be able to give you a list of competent people.

Dave Coleman
metal polisher - FNQ, Australia


We apply both satin finish and bright buffed finishes to stainless steel clad truck bumpers every day. We typically will use a dual action orbital sanding disc with a 180,220 and 320 grit A/O finish. We will then buff to a mirror finish. You could do the same thing on an upright piece of stainless using the orbital sander and then using a straight line hand held grinder with a buffing wheel on the end.

The satin finish that has been previously discussed is going to be more difficult because you will have trouble maintaining a uniform finish. I'd just polish out the stainless and buff it bright. You'll have less trouble that way.

As far as applying a scratch or mar resistant coating, it is probably too late for that. You would have had to apply a very hard coating prior to the stainless being installed. It is very impractical to attempt this after installation. In my opinion, about all you can do is repair it after the fact.

Daryl Spindler
Daryl Spindler, CEF
decorative nickel-chrome plating - Greenbrier, Tennessee

May 27, 2011

Around the San Diego area, what they do on elevator doors and similar surfaces is to put an "engine turned" or other decorative finish on the metal through careful use of abrasive equipment. Needless to say, this requires a professional. But it seems to work well: scratched-in graffiti doesn't show up like it does on a smooth surface, and, for whatever reasons, graffiti vandals are hesitant to mess up somebody else's artwork.

Carl Metzler
- La Mesa California, USA

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