All too often we focus our attention on our immediate environment, rather than the bigger picture. This is also true of commercial cleaning. The majority of businesses and organisations will employ a contract cleaning company to ensure the area around them is sufficiently clean and tidy, but are there many businesses that employ someone to regularly lean the exterior of their building?

Building façades are the very first thing clients, and staff alike, view as they approach your premises, yet not many business devote as much energy to ensure this is as clean and tidy as their building interior. Any dirt, dust, or grime that occurs in the offices or working space of a building will always be immediately noticed and dealt with, however, the dirt and grime that can build up on a building façade often takes a lot longer to build up, and therefore it might not be noticeable by anyone who works in the building and sees the exterior every day.

What can cause problems with your building facade?

A number of environmental aspects, circumstances, and actions can lead to different issues having an adverse effect on the cleanliness and pleasing appearance of your building façade, and if not regularly cleaned and maintained, these issues can lead to permanent stains or damage.

For example, we are exposed to fair amount of damp and wet weather in the UK, and this constant presence of water can encourage the growth of algae. Algae is a plant form that is a derivative of seaweed that thrives in damp areas, and as it has no roots and or leaves, it can grow on almost any surface. The dampness, combined with the amount light that the flat surface of a building façade is exposed to, provides the perfect breeding ground, and algae will often appear in large green patches on the exterior of a building. If not treated, these patches can leave unsightly green stains as a permanent mark on the building, and in cold weather, the regular freezing and thawing of the algae can even cause superficial damage. To remove algae, pressure washing is an effective method, provided the building and stone work is not weak or of historical importance, but you should also use a specific algae removal product to kill the spores. This will ensure eradication of the algae, as well as the prevention of any regrowth.

Similarly to cleaning contracts, the majority of businesses in large premises will also employ a window cleaner. This is a helpful to maintain cleanliness, but did you know that it could also be damaging your building façade? Any commercial premises, but particularly those in dense urban areas, or those in the industrial or manufacturing areas, will find that the windows will become covered in a layer of dirt and dust in no time, therefore a window cleaner is mandatory. However, in the process of cleaning the windows, where does the dirt and dust go? It is dragged underneath the window with the flow of water and down the surface of the building façade, creating a dull colour and ugly stains. If left untreated, this can become extremely difficult to remove and can even cause the façade coating under the dirt to fail and become chalky. Pressure washing can be used to eliminate the dirt, however, specialist techniques and restoring creams are needed to remove the oxidation, neutralise the surface, and restore the façade back to its original colour.

Have you thought of every potential risk to your facade?

Another risk to urban, or industrialised, premises building façades is vehicle pollution. Inevitably, this is considerably denser than in rural or thinly populated areas, though it is not necessarily visible to the human eye. A high concentration of exhaust and vehicle fumes can sometimes cause dark staining on building façades in the same way the excess water from window washing can. The stains can also be removed in a similar way; pressure washing, or soda blasting, is an effective method, but is not always necessary for surface dirt.

There are a number of environmental risks and factors that could damage or stain your building façade, and regular maintenance and upkeep will ensure that you do not have to pay out extra expenses for more extensive repairs or cleaning in the future. However, when cleaning your building façade, you must ensure that you seek the services of a professional business that possesses all the skills and knowledge to deal with specific tasks, as well as the industry qualifications required for high-level cleaning, such as IPAF, IRATA, and CSCS, in order to comply with legal safety requirements.

For further guidance on facade cleaning, and more information about APT’s specialist services, please call us on 01495 308048, 0800 0723 773 or visit our website at www.apt-icc.co.uk/services

Call APT ICC today for free consultancy advice for any new or existing project. Power Max 20 safe concentrated industrial cleaner and degreaser (see our products website www.aptcommercialchemicals.co.uk).