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Rapid Response to graffiti at Iveagh House

By Published On: March 23rd, 2021

Our Graffiti Team were heading back to the depot on Friday afternoon.  They had started at 4 am removing graffiti from various locations in the City and looking forward to finishing up for the weekend.

That was until we received an urgent call from the OPW. Iveagh House, home to The Department of Foreign Affairs had just been vandalised. The beautiful 18th Century Portland Stone Façade had been defaced with graffiti.

Iveagh House covered in graffiti:

Pink gloss paint had been thrown at the building splattering the stone façade at street and basement level. The beautiful Portland stone façade pediment was spray painted with red paint.  Adhesive had been sprayed onto the stone pillars and posters attached.

Iveagh House dates back to 1736. It was donated to the Irish State in 1862 by the Guinness family and is now in the hands of the OPW.  It was very shocking to see this beautiful heritage building on St. Stephen’s Green covered in red paint.

Rapid Response Team:

Our team was on site within 20 mins. We sent out a team of 4 men with 3 vans all fitted with custom built conservation stone cleaning equipment. The faster you remove graffiti or any contamination the less chance it has of seeping into the stone making it more difficult to remove.  Our team have extensive knowledge and experience cleaning various types of substrates from heritage buildings to modern renders. There was no fear we would ruin the façade which is precisely why the OPW called PMAC.

Key to heritage cleaning is minimal intervention:

When cleaning heritage buildings the key is to practice minimum intervention. This means minimum water and minimum pressure. Heritage stone is particularly delicate and friable and can be destroyed by incorrect cleaning methods. We cleaned the façade using the TORC system. The TORC system is a specialist stone conservation cleaning system that combines compressed air, very fine abrasives and a small amount of water. Contamination such as paint is removed using a gentle swirling vortex system using the combination of low air pressure, little water and a safe inert fine granulate.

Paint from Aerosol Cans penetrate deep into porous stone:

The red spray paint had penetrated deep into the pores because of the pressure at which it was applied from the aerosol can. A bit trickier to remove so we had to apply a poultice to draw the paint out of the pores.

Adhesive on stone causes challenges but because it was relatively fresh it didn’t have time to penetrate too deep so no irreversible damage was caused.

18 hours to remove all traces of vandalism:

The team battled on until 8 pm removing all evidence of the attack. They returned the following morning to continue the clean up and remove any traces of paint from the basement. A third visit was made Monday morning just to ensure there was no ghosting or shadows. The OPW considered cleaning the whole building as it was thought the cleaning would show up dirt on the rest of the building. This wasn’t the case, our gentle and experienced approach ensured there was no major brightening of the stone and after a few weeks there will be no visible evidence of the attack whatsoever.

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