Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Historic Preservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Frances Ford

Committee Member

Dr. Stephanie Crette

Committee Member

Kelly Ciociola


The growing movement of assigning cultural and heritage value to graffiti and street art is one without a preservation solution to ensure the longevity of these works in-situ in an outdoor environment. The goal of this thesis was to provide a comprehensive evaluation of six architectural topcoats’ performance when applied as a conservation treatment to outdoor aerosol graffiti and street art on concrete substrate. An artist’s quality, durable, color-fast spray-paint was applied to twenty-eight concrete test panels to mimic the application of graffiti or street art. Six topcoats, Prosoco SC-1, Prosoco Gloss n’ Guard WB, Keim Faceal Oleo HD®, Keim PSS-20®, Edison Aquathane UA-210, and Golden Paintworks MSA Varnish with UVLS were selected and brush applied to the painted substrate samples to create systems of topcoat, spray-paint, and substrate. The selected topcoats represent a range of formula types including acrylates, polyurethane, wax, and vegetable polysaccharide. Half of the systems were weathered for 875 hours in a QUV-SE Accelerated Aging Chamber to mimic the effects of outdoor degradation. Weathered and un-weathered systems were subjected to chemical resistance testing to determine vulnerability to chemicals mimicking atmospheric pollutants and cleaning agents. Systems were analyzed visually, using a colorimeter, glossmeter, and microscopy. Findings suggest that several formulas are successful for application to outdoor graffiti and street art, including MSA Varnish with UVLS, SC-1, and PSS-20®. Data generated in this thesis can be used to make informed conservation decision and in the development of proprietary topcoat to protect graffiti and street art.



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