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Restorative Cleaning: A more affordable building restoration method

It’s one thing to clean, but to restore is a whole different process. In our years as providers of what we term ‘restorative cleaning’, See Brilliance has developed and refined a technique that goes a step beyond the clearing of dirt, graffiti and detritus on the surfaces of buildings – and we wanted to talk about just that today.

As the largest restorative cleaning contractor in the UK, our services, which include independently approved specialist products and techniques, enable us to restore a building’s exterior back to almost ‘as new’ visual condition without damaging or affecting the surface itself.

The products and techniques we use are specifically designed not to cause any damage to the substrates and silicon gaskets, unlike unregulated products which may not have been tested.

Often important for stone, brickwork and many types of building façade and cladding, our gentle restorative cleaning processes and products mean that a dirty or deteriorated building façade can be almost fully restored.

As is often the case, cost efficiency is a major benefit of this kind of approach to façade and cladding restoration. In our experience, our restorative cleaning methods provide an alternative to respraying and replacing that are a third the cost of the former and as little as five percent of the latter.

Restorative cleaning in action

One of the more unique buildings we’ve worked on in our time as specialist in restorative cleaning is the Old Vinyl Factory.

Built originally by renowned architecture firm Wallis, Gilbert & Partners, the iconic design in 1928 features a combination of factory production structures and more modern glass facades across several buildings within the complex.

Despite falling into disrepair for many years, the resurgence of vinyl music in the 2000s led to a full-scale refurbishment and redesign of the historic location.

Once again, our teams were privileged to work on and restore a piece of history. Our restorative cleaning here began with a focus on the metallic powder-coated frames and windows – a task which spanned several buildings and included the Link Bridge.

Following that, we used Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) to begin restorative cleaning and further cleaning of glazing. A big operation, to be sure; the correct access machinery and vehicles spanned the site as we helped to bring the shine back to a treasured part of the region’s history.

Surfaces and processes

Here’s a brief run-down of common surfaces and how we employ restorative cleaning techniques for them.

It’s important to keep in mind that, despite these three surfaces comprising most buildings in the UK, architecture plays an important role too in determining our approach.

Many buildings have unique and demanding shapes and forms, requiring us to use equipment such as MEWPs and abseiling techniques – all of which require certification and training for their safe use.

Whatever the surface, our process follows the same general principles: identify the type of contaminants, deposits or soiling on the specific surface and apply the correct restorative products and cleaning methods to remove them without causing damage.

  • Glass: Particularly popular in London, the UK is home to thousands of buildings with predominantly glass architecture and facades. A striking example of this is the Shard, a 310-meter-tall glass super structure which dominates the skyline. As is always the case with our restorative processes, glass cleaning is focused on the safe and odourless removal of etching, soiling, staining and concrete deposits from the glass without scratching the surface. For this, we use products such as specialist ground volcanic powder. We also provide scratch removal and resin repairs for all glass types.
  • Stone: There are thousands of stone buildings in the UK, with many of them with demanding and highly specific cleaning restrictions. We use non-obtrusive and gentle cleaning methods such as DOFF Steam Cleaning, a high-pressure washing method which ensures an almost-new result without risking damage to a stone building’s façade.
  • Other surfaces: Beyond glass and stone, metallic surfaces such as aluminium remain popular across the country. Our products are designed to gently and effectively clean surfaces such as powder coated and anodised aluminium, stainless steel and UPVC. Done correctly, we can provide a restored finish that can last as much as 60 months depending on the local microclimate.

Increasing the lifespan of surfaces and buildings

We’ve seen businesses save staggering amounts of money by investing in a sufficient restorative cleaning programme. We’ve also seen the opposite be true, with shoddy maintenance incurring significant maintenance costs or irreversible damage.

In addition to avoiding the damage caused by dirt and contaminants such as mould spores, a restorative cleaning programme will also extend the effective lifespan of a building’s façade by cleaning and protecting key elements of its construction.

An excellent example of this are the sealants and chalks that are used in the building of a façade; restorative cleaning enhances these materials by gently clearing away deposits, dirt and contaminants through specialist techniques such as high-temperature low-pressure washing.

Thanks for stopping by!

We hope this helps shed a little light on our restorative cleaning process and why this kind of work is so important. If you’d like a chat with the team directly, it’s easy: you can email us at [email protected] or call 01635 230888.

See Brilliance has over 30 years of experience in specialist restorative cleaning of metal, glass and stone. We provide façade and cladding restoration, restorative cleaning services, DOFF Steam Cleaning, graffiti removal, and much more, all across the UK.

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