What Is Façade Cleaning?

Thursday 12th November 2020

Sophie Rioch

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Facade cleaning using cherry picker

What Is Façade Cleaning?

The façade of a building refers to the entrance of the property. It is crucial that this part of the building appears clean and presentable at all times in order to create a positive first impression for customers. Though the primary function of a façade is to provide an insulated, waterproof structure which lets natural light in, it must also be designed in such a way as to be aesthetically pleasing. The façade may only be a front entrance, but it still represents the company and its values.

Façade cleaning is the art of ensuring the exterior of the building is clean from:

  • Dirt and grime
  • Stains
  • Algae
  • Moss
  • Graffiti
  • Chewing gum
  • Pollutants
Dilapidated building

The façade is the face of your property. Built for visual attraction over functionality, it is used to attract potential customers, employees, business partners and homeowners. However, if neglected, the façade’s appearance can rapidly deteriorate, leaving it looking rather unsightly. 

Why Is Façade Cleaning Vital?

When it comes to façade cleaning, the exterior of your premise is the first thing your clients will see, so appearances matter. You must create an long-lasting impact from the get-go! 

A small issue can quickly evolve into a complex problem if not dealt with promptly. It should be in your best interest not to ignore issues when they first occur, particularly if  you see any forms of:

  • Leaks
  • Stains
  • Darkened patches
  • Streaks
  • Biological forms growing

Be proactive and deal with the problem by contacting a professional brick and stone cleaning service, such as ICE. Ignoring issues can lead to detrimental damage, which may end up costing a significant amount to repair.

Like all building elements, the façade can fall subject to structural deterioration and ever-changing weather conditions, which will take a toll on the overall look of the building. Rather than allowing a problem (such as a small patch of algae) to turn in to a disastrous task, call the professionals straight away to complete a brick and stone cleaning service. 

Why You Should Never Attempt Façade Cleaning Yourself

You may be tempted to try to clean the façade of the building yourself, however, we strongly advise against this. While it may appear the cheapest option, it may end up costing you more in the long run. 

There are certain materials associated with the façade section of the building are often delicate materials, such as:

  • Concrete
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Stone 
  • Masonry

These materials require high maintenance and depending on their age can be delicate to handle. Use of the wrong cleaning products or equipment can cause irreparable damage to the structure and material. 

As well as needing the right equipment and cleaning solutions, it’s possible that you’ll be required to work at exceptional heights. You must take health and safety seriously at all times during this type of cleaning work, else you will be putting you and your co-workers’ lives on the line. 

Professional Façade Cleaning… Is It Always The Best Option?

Getting your building professionally cleaned means you won’t have to worry about conquering such heights or complying with strict health and safety regulations. Professional brick and stone cleaning technicians will have extensive knowledge of the techniques required to clean the façade and will have been trained to know how to behave when working at heights. They’d also have been taught how to effectively clean the front of the building with a specific range of cleaning solutions and products.

It is essential that you inform the professional service of your desired outcome before any form of cleaning has taken place. The results produced by the professionals will be more thorough than if you were to attempt it yourself. 

Facade comparison

When a professional cleaning company takes on a façade cleaning job, they follow a strict process to ensure the safety of both their team and any members of the public. The building material itself will be assessed to ensure no further damage can occur during the service.

Assessing Requirements

When a brick and stone cleaning company (such as ICE) is on the job to clean the façade of the building, there are several factors to be considered to determine which process should be carried out.

A survey will be used to assess and identify the:

  • Age
  • Materials
  • Type of construction
  • Location
  • Functionality of the build
  • History and any repairs 
  • Health and safety issues that may arise
  • Amount of soiling that takes place
  • Parts of the building that require delicacy

Risk assessments must be carried out to ensure no-one’s health is compromised by the work taking place. All technicians on the job should fully understand the type of building they are dealing with so that they are able to adapt their methods if needed. 

Regimes and Risk Assessment

Risk assessments must take place during a brick and stone clean, especially when technicians are working at extreme heights. When it comes to the actual cleaning of a façade, all technicians must  be dressed appropriately in the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure they do not inhale any dust particles. On occasions, toxic chemicals need to be used to eradicate certain forms of graffiti, biological matter and general dirt and grime, some of which may lead to further health complications if they come into contact with the skin or are inhaled. 

There may be occasions whereby the technicians are required to work on buildings over 10 floors high. When it comes to these types of buildings, in-depth risk assessments are carried out to protect the safety of the technicians. The Health and Safety Executive states that there are several organisations involved in these tasks. Every individual in the risk management chain must ensure their activities are coordinated and controlled, minimising risks for their employees and others who may be affected. 

The major hazards of facade cleaning is falling. Employers have duties under the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended) to avoid work at height if possible and to take measures to prevent and minimise risk of falling

Whilst working at heights, the technicians are not the only people in danger. The public below are also at risk of falling objects. 

What Type Of Equipment Is Used During A Façade Cleaning Service?

One of the most significant advantages of using a professional brick and stone cleaning service when it comes to façade cleaning is that the team will have access to all of the leading industry technologies and non-abrasive cleaning solutions. Physical methods include the removal any form of harmful acidic grime and dirt to prevent an adverse reaction with carbonated particles within stone materials.

Methods may include:

  • Steaming
  • Dry brushing
  • Surface redressing
  • Rubbing

Only fully-trained technicians with prior knowledge of the art of brick and stone cleaning should attempt these types of façade cleaning methods. If precautions are not taken, further damage could affect the primary façade material.

Alternatively, there is a method which relies solely on chemicals. This process involves a mixture of chemicals being applied to the façade surface either through poultices or in liquid form. The type of stone being cleaned will determine whether the involvement of acidic, alkaline or organic solvents will be used. 

There are various other methods to be considered, depending on the primary material of the façade. This includes professional techniques such as:

  • Gypsum inversion
  • Impregnated sponges
  • Heat lances
  • Gels and/or poultices
  • Ultrasonic 

These techniques can only be performed under certain circumstances.

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Zoe Dunning

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