The Evolution of Building Façades in Britain: Materials, Technology, and Sustainability

British houses a huge variety of different buildings, dating from hundreds of years ago, right up to modern day. This means there is a vast range of different building exteriors and building façades that can be viewed, and assessed on their appearance, function, protection and longevity.  There are a huge number of different façades, and façade treatments, to choose from, and advancements in technology in recent years has meant that more and more options are becoming available and are doing even greater things.

Building façades are one of the largest elements involved in the overall technical, and aesthetic, performance of the building, and it must involve compromising and resolving a number of aesthetic, technical, environmental, and structural issues for a particular building all at once. Each façade has its own unique properties and can be equally beneficial and debilitating depending on the required use.

Masonry Building Facades

This is brick work or stone work that surrounds the entire property, much like the majority of modern houses, and is one of the oldest and widely used building methods on the world. Using these materials lends strength and durability, as well as great resistance to fire and weather. Masonry products play a large in environmentally friendly building, however, stone and brick can be very impractical to use on large multi-storey buildings. It is recommended to use specialist algae remover to keep stone work clean, or soda blasting methods to help restoration.

Aluminium Cladding

This is a type of cladding made from two faces of aluminium bonded to a central dark neoprene core. This type of cladding is extremely light weight and easily fabricated, as well as being highly durable and resistant to rust. It is an excellent material for use on modern buildings, as it can be manufactured in many colours, and can also be powder coated, and is entirely recyclable; making it aesthetically and environmentally pleasing. However, environmental exposure and surface contaminants can lead to discolouration of the aluminium. Again, soda blasting can be used as regular maintenance to keep the surface clean.

Insulated Render

This is also known as External Wall Insulation. It is more often used in high rise residential buildings, rather than commercial properties, and has been in use in Britain for over 30 years, though more frequently in the last 10 – 15 years. Insulated render is made up of layers of the supporting steel frame, with mineral wool insulation, sheathing board, breather membrane, rigid insulation board, and the external polymer modified render. This type of façade has been more in demand for recent years as construction calls for light weight, energy-efficient materials. To prevent damage from moisture, such as algae stains, it is recommended to use a specialist algae remover.

Stainless Steel

This material is used for a huge variety of different applications, in addition to building façades. It was used frequently in the early 90s as a new aesthetically pleasing material, so it is still heavily present on a number of buildings in Britain. Stainless steel is a strong and fairly durable material to use for building façades; however, as it ages the surface can begin to look very dull, with patches of light rust appearing. Some high grade stainless steel will have lacquered coating to help avoid this, but most cladding doesn’t. It is reccommended to use a specialist Metal Cleaner and Polish that will help to remove any blemishes or oxidation.

APT is a specialist organisation with a proven track record in delivering a range of facade cleaning services.  For more information, contact us on 01495 308048, 0800 0723 773.

There are a great number of building façades cleaning options available for building construction, and each one must be properly evaluated for the buildings specific use. Different materials have different properties and varying degrees of susceptibility to weather, water, pollution, and staining, but it is essential for all materials to undergo regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure they remain at their best, and do not fall in to disrepair, which will create even more expense in the long run.

APT have been providing building facades cleaning services for over 30 years, working with some of the UK’s most well known conservation architects and organisations.