First impressions count and the exterior of your building influences a visitor’s opinion, even before they set foot inside. During the Covid period some specialist external cleaning and maintenance tasks have been missed but it is important to clean, restore, and protect the elements of your building to ensure that it remains in good condition. The type of cleaning process that is required will depend on the substrate to be cleaned, the nature of the material to be removed and the type of structure.
Renders are commonly used on building exteriors and are subject to a range of weather conditions which, over time, can cause them to discolour and appear scruffy. Organic growth can also cause large areas of green growth, containing algae and moss, which can make the building appear dirty and even cause damage. Specialist equipment and environmentally friendly chemicals are combined with cleaning methods including cold pressure washing, hot pressure washing and steam cleaning, to remove all traces of discolouration and organic growth. Graffiti is a common problem in towns and cities and specialist techniques will ensure that all traces are removed, whilst causing minimal disruption to the operation of your building.
Different types of stone will weather and degrade in different ways and require specialist types of cleaning to remove dirt and avoid damage to the surface. A detailed initial survey is important to determine the type of stone, the most appropriate cleaning technique and the best access equipment, ranging from scaffolding, access platforms and cradles to abseiling ropes. Specialist steam cleaning systems are able to deliver high temperature steam when required for the toughest jobs, but low pressure systems and gentle chemical removers can often be utilised.
At Walkers, we regularly utilise the DOFF system, which uses steam and superheated water to 150°C with variable pressures, tailored to the type of material that needs to be removed. It can be used to remove paint coatings, lift chewing gum, remove algae, remove bird droppings and kill off spores, removing the need for chemical biocides. Used appropriately, DOFF should not over-saturate surfaces, so that they dry out quickly.
As with stone buildings, all brick structures are different and have varied cleaning needs. Bricks vary in strength and durability, as does the cement binding them, so structures can be surprisingly fragile, requiring the cleaning methods to be tailored to each specific project. General dirt, paint and organic growth are removed using techniques including DOFF, soft abrasive cleaning, chemical cleaning and media blasting.
Listed buildings and buildings of historical interest require a specialist approach to cleaning. Over many years, the exteriors can become marred by build-up of dirt from the surrounding environment and careful measures must be taken to reduce the risk of damage to the building’s exterior, as normal cleaning methods can be too harsh or ineffective. All external cleaning of listed buildings requires Listed Building Consent or, in the case of unlisted buildings within a conservation area, planning permission.
High level cleaning and maintenance of very tall buildings also presents specific challenges, whether building walls, roofs or gutters need to be cleaned, or window cleaning carried out. Specialist expertise and training is required, together with access equipment and techniques that ensure that all processes are carried out with safety at the forefront. Maintenance and repair are often carried out at the same time, together with installation of netting to exclude pest birds and prevent damage.
Whatever your external building cleaning and maintenance requirements, Walkers can provide expert advice and have highly skilled and experienced technicians able to carry out the work efficiently, with minimal disruption to you or your business.
To find out more, please call us today on 0330 380 4433.