Case Study: Steam cleaning render, wood and metal cladding

Project Info

  • Category

    Recent Projects

The project

Spectrum was approached by an existing client to restore the exterior of this block. The work was to include cleaning the external render of the building as well as some woodwork and metal cladding. 

One of the main issues was that the building’s York/cream render was heavily contaminated by algae growth. It was also discoloured by rust stains from the steel beams of the building’s balconies. In fact, the discolouration and staining was so bad the client didn’t think the building could be cleaned at all, and certainly not restored to its former glory. 

The timescale for the project was four to six weeks. During this period, the render was to be cleaned using our patented four-stage process. This would remove the algae and rust stains from the exterior, leaving it looking rejuvenated and refreshed. 

During the project, some works had to be scheduled for weekends in order to minimise disruption to the onsite commercial units. Working out of hours also allowed us easier access to all areas of the building. 

The site

This Block sits on a steep slope. This makes it difficult to reach some parts of the building and limits access for cherry pickers. The site is also located on a busy high street, full of pedestrians and commercial units. When accessing the site and planning the schedule of works on the building, we also had to take this heavy footfall into account. 

As well as a steep slope and a busy high street to consider, we had to work around the requirements of the taxi office attached. This meant planning some works for weekends and after hours and using canopies to protect commercial access.

The exterior had been pigeon and bird proofed. During the project, Spectrum had to cut this back to access all areas of the building. At the end of the project, this bird proofing was reinstalled. We also replaced missing bird spikes and broken pigeon netting to further improve the long term look of the property. 

The logistics

As the steep slope, this block sits on made it difficult for cherry pickers to access the site, it required rope operatives to clean the render, cladding and wooden elements of the building. Using operatives on ropes, rather than heavy machinery, also helped to minimise disruption to the high street and taxi office.

Our cleaning plan included using IPAF certified operatives for some small sections that were completed via MEWP. Where some balcony and ledge work was carried out, we used IRATA trained operatives to ensure the most robust and safest access strategy was in place.

As well as a prohibitively steep slope, access to the site was complicated by the narrow pathways surrounding the building. This meant it was almost impossible to erect scaffolding and, if it weren’t’ for our patented render cleaning system, the project would not have been possible.

While we were cleaning the outside of this site, we used building canopies to protect the entrances of commercial units located in the building. This allowed them to continue to operate throughout the cleaning process.

Patented steam cleaning

Throughout the project, we used our patented render cleaning system. This uses a biocide treatment, together with a superheated steam delivery, to kill algae, remove stains and leave render looking like new.

This unique system allows us to clean and rejuvenate render quickly and effectively, without the need for scaffolding and heavy machinery. Once the staining and algae have been removed, we cover the surface in a thin layer of biocide to prevent the algae from growing back straight away.

Before the project began, we carried out a full site survey on the property. By thoroughly surveying Radford House, we were able to completely assess the site and come up with a plan that was both affordable and cost effective. Surveying the site also gave us the opportunity to take a closer look at the render of the building and decide which cleaning processes would produce the best results.

The result

The results of the project were incredibly positive. For the client, one of the main benefits of using our service was cost. Our patented cleaning technique allowed us to rejuvenate the property at a fraction of the price of conventional cleaning. 

For example, if the client had paid for scaffolding to be erected and the building to be painted, the project would have cost an extra 30%! 

Another great result of the project was the complete transformation of the building. Removing algae and rust stains, and cleaning external wood and cladding, has helped to restore this facade to its former glory. 

The additional work we carried out on the property has further enhanced its aesthetic. Our bird proofing measures will help to prevent staining and mess, while cleaning the building’s gutters and drains will help to ensure this block stays in good condition inside and out.

While working on this project, we also cleaned the windows and window frames of the building. This was included in the cost of the project, as was the jet paving work that was carried out at the end of the clean. 

Throughout the project, disruption to those using Radford House, and nearby businesses were kept to a minimum. Neighbouring commercial properties were also happy with the work carried out as we cleaned some of their areas as a gesture of goodwill and a thank you for their co-operation on the project.

A Senior Property Manager said, “We are very impressed with Spectrum’s method of cleaning render.” While Julian (lead operative) said “It feels great to make such a big difference, to a building that needed a complete transformation as much as this one, we’ve never seen so many residents give so much positive feedback.”