How we cleaned over 100 rendered elevations in just two months

Project Info

  • Category

    Recent Projects

The project

This project involved cleaning wooden cladding and render on a large development on the Isle of Wight. The site was made up of over 25 blocks and was managed by a housing association. Spectrum was recommended to the housing association by one of our previous clients.

As well as cleaning the render and wooden cladding on the blocks, we were asked to clean the gutters and check the buildings for damage and potential maintenance issues. We would then provide a photographic report illustrating any damage we found to allow the housing association to take appropriate action.

The site

The blocks we were asked to clean were part of a large residential development on the Isle of Wight. Made up of over 25 buildings, the site was very spread out and had a number of access issues.

One of the main challenges we faced on the Isle of Wight project was a limited water supply. As we rely on access to large quantities of water for our patented cleaning process, this was something we had to overcome before starting work on the site. Another issue was the pitch of the roofs. Many of the blocks had render set far back, beyond the pitched roofs, making access difficult. 

The logistics

As the project was located on the Isle of Wight, the Spectrum team had to load all of the required equipment into vans and take a ferry to the island. The project lasted for 2 months and we travelled to the site at the beginning of each week.

In order to properly clean the wood cladding and render on these blocks, it was important our team properly understood the fabric of the building. Different types of modern render and cladding require different cleaning methods. Using incorrect methods can result in damage to the building or to the surrounding areas.

In order to ensure our team knew exactly what they were dealing with, they carried out a thorough building survey before starting work on the site. This allowed them to identify the exact type of modern render used on the blocks and to create a comprehensive plan for the clean.

Due the location of some of the render on the blocks, and to the awkward roof levels we were dealing with, the only way to properly clean all areas of the site was with our patented equipment. This equipment is specially 3D printed for each job and saves our clients an average of 70% on access costs alone. However, even with our system in place, many parts of the site were still difficult to reach. Our patented process allowed us to overcome this issue without using a cherry picker or scaffolding.

In order to safely clean the wooden cladding and render on the Isle of Wight site, we needed to up our game when it came to health and safety. While we always work to ensure our operatives are as safe as possible when carrying out their work, the exposed nature of this site meant health and safety was even more of a consideration.

As the Isle of Wight site was exposed to high levels of wind, we expanded our cordoned-off area to protect residents and members of the public walking below. We also used full-sized road barriers instead of barrier tape to improve visibility and prevent barriers from being blown away.

This issue was actually highlighted when we were already on site working on the job. To ensure the space was as safe as possible, we brought 100 road barriers of our own and ordered 40 more halfway through the job . This helped to make our cordon even more robust. We also used special bespoke signs to make communication clear and easy.

The clean

In order to make access as safe and easy as possible, we used our patented 3D printed equipment throughout the clean. Our specially designed and printed arm mechanism allowed our team to get to the very top part of the render on the pitched roof from the safety of the ground. Designing this equipment just for this particular job shows that we are dedicated to delivering the best possible solutions for our clients.

In total, it took 83 hours to print all of the parts required for the special arm mechanism used on the clean. This was 3D printed in ABS plastic and had to be designed and made before the project could begin.

During the clean, our team also cleaned the gutters on the blocks and checked the buildings for any possible maintenance issues. Any issues that were found were photographed and an illustrated report was created for the client.

During the clean, we restored the wooden cladding and modern render on the blocks using our patented P.A.S.T. technique. This process has 4 stages:

P – preparing the render and the area

A – applying the biocide to the render

S – Steam cleaning the render at 150 degrees

T – targeted treatment to any stains remaining on the surface.

When all these 4 stages are used together, they are incredibly effective at removing stains and cleaning modern render.

Before starting the clean, we thoroughly surveyed the building to assess the type of render used on the blocks. This allowed us to select the correct processes and biocide treatment for the clean, something that is crucial in order to properly restore the render. Using the incorrect treatment or cleaning process can reduce the effectiveness of the clean and even result in damage to the render and wood cladding.

This site really stood out as the wooden cladding covered such a large part of the blocks. In order to clean the cladding, and restore the natural colour of the wood, we carefully selected the appropriate biocide treatment and gently washed the surface using pressurised steam. This made a significant difference to the appearance of the wooden cladding and, when combined with the restored silicon-based modern render, gave the blocks a completely fresh look.

The result

The project on the Isle of Wight took 2 months to complete.  We travelled to the site every week, packing our equipment onto vans and travelling to the island by ferry.

We were especially pleased with the transformation of the wooden cladding on the blocks. The cladding covered large parts of the properties and had been stained by weathering and algae. Cleaning the cladding using steam and biocide treatment allowed us to restore the blocks to their original aesthetic condition.

The modern silicon render that had been used on the buildings had also become stained and weathered. Our patented P.A.S.T. process allowed us to remove dirt and stains and protect the building from future algae growth. By the end of the clean, the silicon-based modern render had been restored to its original appearance.

MD Lucian said of the job, “We loved this project because it was a great opportunity to test our systems and design new equipment that got around some of the high-level access issues. We now have a new system that we can use on sites with similar access requirements. The equipment was 3D printed — you cannot buy it off the shelf — that’s what makes us especially proud of this job. We designed the equipment, 3D printed it and used it within 2 months to complete the job.”