As the years pass, the facade of your stone or brick building will weather and darken. The speed at which it does is almost imperceptible. On a year to year basis, it will not look much different but eventually it will start to look dirty and jaded. That’s the time to call in a facade cleaning company.
But why not just get your own staff or the local ‘man with a van and a ladder’ to do the job? The short answer is that they just don’t have the expertise or the equipment. Cleaning a facade is really a specialist job. You need experience of a variety of techniques and specialist equipment if you are to avoid damaging the building and creating yourself a potential bill of thousands of pounds in restoration fees.
Multiple methods for thorough cleaning.
Using a single method is never the best solution for facade cleaning. Here at APT, our facade cleaning experts will make a site visit and examine your facade in detail in order to decide on the appropriate methods for your situation. Differences in orientation, type of masonry, embellishment and even previous cleaning can all determine what method is needed and where.
Key techniques of facade cleaning.
But what are the key techniques that minimise the damage to your asset? Lets start with the JOS and TORC systems. These are low pressure cleaning methods comprising water and a gentle abrasive. They contain no chemicals that could dissolve and eat into the stonework, bricks or mortar and are safe for the operator and the environment. The abrasive is a microfine mineral such as glass, calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate and could even be ground up nutshells!
The nozzle and turbine of the machine are designed so as to create a gentle swirling motion where the mixture of air/water/abrasive meets the facade to be cleaned. The machine has a variety of interchangeable nozzles that can be used to regulate the facade cleaning process. It is also possible to regulate the abrasive, water and air flow rates. The major benefit of this is that an experienced operator can fine tune the JOS or TORC system to meet the unique demands of any cleaning project, whether that be cleaning fine and delicate architectural detail or an expanse of brickwork.
The TORC system uses less water and is more efficient because of that. It therefore consumes less of the abrasive and is particularly useful where you need to carry out a drier cleaning process.
Both methods can be used to clean facades incorporating:
– Terracotta or ceramic tiles & glass
For the removal of oil-based contamination, for example bitumen, a high temperature steam cleaning method known as the DOFF system is used. The pressure at the surface to be cleaned is low avoiding damage to the facade. Since the jet is steam, there is a low volume of water so it dries quickly. DOFF is excellent for moss and algae removal on facades where a chemical cleaner cannot be used as the high temperature kills any remaining spores.
A further very useful method of facade cleaning is based on the medical idea of a poultice. As the poultice material dries out, capillary action draws out the contamination from the substrate. This is particularly useful where salts have penetrated the material of delicate parts of a facade. A very common poultice medium is clay but there are plenty of alternatives – paper and cotton fibres, talc and chalk are also widely used. Where required, chemical agents are added to the medium, for example, to remove metallic stains EDTA, a chelating agent, is added.
So to avoid any facade cleaning disasters, call in the experts APT-ICC on 0800 0723 773 NOW!