The whys and hows of expert façade restoration

What exactly goes into a successful façade restoration project? Façades need cleaning, but how do projects take shape and just how important is this type of work as part of a building’s maintenance plan?

In the many years we’ve been around as a company, we’ve answered these questions and more many times over. It’s fair to ask; from the outside, the work, equipment and machinery involved appear complex. Today we’re explaining why sooner beats later, what factors affect cost and how a request for our help is scoped and answered. Let’s take a look.

The importance of façade cleaning and restoration

Put simply, façade contaminants build up over time – and that means potential damage to the surface. The sooner a property owner has the work done, the less damage is done. For many, it’s a low priority concern at first. It’s just a little deterioration, after all; what’s the rush?

As the months tick by, that small matter grows and worsens. This is a particularly dangerous subject to delay also due to the fact that the UK is home to buildings of highly varying age and construction, with many properties being comprised of materials that are more prone to rapid deterioration of their façades.

Worse still, that famed British weather plays a pivotal role in how quickly your façade will need a little TLC. Extreme winds, frequent weather and fluctuation of temperature are all things that will accelerate the rate at which pollutants and deposits accumulate on surfaces, causing issues. And those are all things our country is famous for experiencing month by month.

Is there a standard cost for façade restoration?

Not quite. In truth, there’s no simple answer to this question. If a property owner identifies a problem quickly, it can be as simple as a visit from a single team to perform work over the course of a day. Left longer, appropriately thorough façade restoration can take days, weeks or more.

Accessibility also plays a major role in the shape of a restoration project. Many buildings, such as the famed Shard in London which we spoke about not too long ago, need the use of powered machinery to raise teams into position so they can do their work.

The surface and construction of a building matter, too. Certain types of damage are prone to specific construction materials, such as concrete debris and the salts common in rainwater and atmospheric gases which can rapidly decay masonry.

Lastly, the use of a building and the pollutants around it will determine the extent of façade deterioration and damage. Many industrial buildings are prone to contamination on their exterior surfaces from things like sulphur, nitrogen oxide and acids.

How we scope a restorative cleaning project

As you’d expect, the See Brilliance team are quite familiar with appraising buildings! We’ve seen a lot over the years and that experience has helped us to create a reliable, rapid and accurate process for estimating projects.

When we’re called in to appraise a site, we’re always looking closely for specific indicators that will determine areas of surface damage and the kind of work we’ll need to put in to get the job done. We’ll assess the age of the surface and any previous restoration or maintenance work.

We’ll also assess the microclimate of the building, the local environment – including any possible challenges such as train lines, steel works or water – and the most appropriate access methods: MEWPs, scaffolding or abseil for example.

As part of our assessment, we’ll be looking for more specific kinds of damage or deterioration which may require specific products and processes to treat, such as etching on glass, oxidisation or façade damage due to natural elements such as creeping vines.

As we’ve mentioned previously, we’re also careful to consult with our clients regarding access to the building. Are we able to enter and move around the interior of the structure so that we can reach specific areas? Is there a timetable where the building is empty or minimally staffed, helping us to minimise disruption? Are we up to date on the relevant Local Authority’s rulings on machinery and equipment we might need to place around the exterior? All important questions that can save our clients money, hassle and time!

That’s all, folks!

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

See Brilliance has over 30 years 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.

Download the See Brilliance 2020 brochure