The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Cladding Cleaning
- What is cladding
- Why use cladding
- Disadvantages of cladding
- What is commercial cladding cleaning
- What is commercial façade cleaning
- Why clean cladding
- How to clean cladding and façade
- What types of commercial buildings require cladding cleaning
- Important considerations when getting your cladding cleaned
- How to find a commercial cladding cleaning company
- Contact us for a FREE External Cladding Survey
The aim of this Ultimate Guide is to provide you with everything you need to know about commercial cladding cleaning. The guide covers all the questions we get asked here at Pristine Commercial Cleaning when it comes to commercial cladding cleaning. If for any reason your question or query is not covered in this guide, then please do get in touch with us so we can answer your question and include it in our guide too.
What is cladding
Before tackling the question of what commercial cladding cleaning is, it makes sense to define what we mean by cladding. Designing Buildings Ltd1 has an extensive wiki on ‘Cladding for buildings’ which we would like to refer you to for additional reading.
In essence, cladding is the applying of one material over another to provide a skin or extra layer. In construction, cladding is material attached to the main structure of a building to form an external surface or skin, this is sometimes referred to as siding as well.
There are a variety of types of cladding material including:
- Glazing – glass building cladding is often used for offices and residential buildings and looks impressive.
- Stone – this is most often a thin veneer of stone which can be applied with concrete. Veneer means ‘a thin decorative covering…’2 Of course many historic buildings are also made of stone of various kinds and these types of buildings require specialist cleaning from companies that understand the importance of preserving our heritage and working in a considered and careful manner.
- uPVC or plastic cladding – this cladding offers an attractive as well as low maintenance solution.
- Timber – the range of timber, or wood, options for cladding a building is extensive. However popular options that are great for exterior cladding include European Oak, Siberian Larch, British Sweet Chestnut and Western Red Cedar. Reclaimed timber is also an option. Timber cladding appears to have grown in popularity due to its beauty, sustainability with 100% renewable and harvested sustainable options.
- Metal – with metal cladding, often steel or aluminium is used, although zinc and copper can be used too. Metal cladding can look impressive enhancing the façade of the building.
- Concrete – concrete buildings are made with metal forms and steel rods are inside the concrete to reinforce it. Concrete is used for buildings as well as bridges and roads for example. As a building material it does offer durability.
- Curtain walling – usually comprises of aluminium frames in-filled with glass, metal panels or thin stone, often called stone veneers.
- Sandwich panels – sometimes sandwich panels are referred to as composite panels as they are comprised of three layers, effectively a sandwich. The two outer layers are rigid whilst the inner layer is a low density / lightweight core. There are various types available and help with thermal insulation, weather proofing, and help with the appearance of the building.
- Brick slips – often referred to as brick veneers or brick tiles, they are thin ‘cuts’ of the real brick and are designed to look like ‘real’ bricks. They are used both internally and externally for commercial and residential buildings.
The NBS3 Building Library provides a definitive list of the types of cladding as shown below.
- H10 – Patent glazing
- H11 – Curtain walling
- H13 – Structural glass assemblies
- H14 – Precast concrete and glass lens / paver rooflights / floor lights / pavement lights / security panels
- H20 – Rigid sheet cladding
- H21 – Timber weatherboarding
- H22 – Plastics weatherboarding
- H30 – Fibre cement profiled sheet cladding / covering
- H31 – Metal profiled / flat sheet cladding / covering
- H32 – Plastics profiled sheet cladding / covering
- H40 – Glass fibre reinforced concrete panel cladding / components
- H41 – Glass fibre reinforced plastics cladding / features
- H42 – Precast concrete panel cladding / features
- H43 – Metal composite panel cladding / features
- H51 – Natural stone slab cladding / lining / features
- H60 – Plain roof tiling
- H61 – Fibre cement slating
- H62 – Natural slating
- H64 – Wood shingle and shake roofing
- H65 – Single lap roof tiling
- H67 – Metal single lap roof tiling
- H71 – Lead sheet coverings / flashings
- H72 – Aluminium strip / sheet coverings / flashings
- H73 – Copper strip / sheet coverings / flashings
- H74 – Zinc strip / sheet coverings / flashings
- H75 – Stainless steel strip / sheet coverings / flashings
- H90 – Tensile fabric coverings
- H91 – Thatch roofing
- H92 – Rainscreen cladding
Why use cladding on the exterior of your building
There are significant benefits to using cladding on the exterior of buildings. Depending on the type of material chosen for the cladding the benefits can include:
- Protection from the elements – Cladding helps to protect the building by adding an additional layer of protection from the wind, rain, sun, pollution and other environmental conditions. Certainly, with the unpredictable weather in the UK, this is an important benefit.
- Improved appearance – There is no doubting the effectiveness of cladding in improving the appearance of a building. Some of the most beautiful buildings use glass and wood, or metal to provide simply stunning facades. For businesses that are able to have purpose build premises, the added benefits to the brand cannot be dismissed. Stunning buildings provide a clear statement to visitors, employees and competitors.
- Appearance options – As there are so many choices available, architects are able to use their imagination and deliver truly beautiful and amazing buildings that don’t just look great, but also perform well too.
- Improved mechanical strength – The mechanical sturdiness of a building is improved as all elements work together.
- Easy installation – Cladding systems have been developed to be easily installed and as a result tend to offer a quick and cost effective to implement.
- Low maintenance – Depending on the material chosen the cladding may offer a relatively low maintenance solution particularly if the material is resistant to mildew and mould.
- Improved insulation – The cladding can improve the insulation of the building; not just the heat insulation but also noise too. The level of insulation does of course depend on the material chosen for the cladding as well as the thickness of that material.
- Increased property value – The initial costs generally outweigh the benefits in terms of potential lower energy bills, lower maintenance costs as well as offering a good resale opportunity if appropriate.
- Durable – Depending on the cladding material chosen and the maintenance regime undertaken, most cladding will last for a significant number of years.
Disadvantages of cladding
Of course, there are some disadvantages to cladding and these include:
- Cost – Depending on the material chosen for the cladding the cost may be high. Concrete cladding can be expensive compared to metal or wood for example. It pays to look at the comparative costs and weigh up the installation time as well as the likely reduction in heating bills the various cladding options provide.
- Time – Again some cladding is easier to install than others, so it makes sense to consider this as part of the design development.
- Repair and maintenance – Cladding materials are generally low maintenance. However, as you might expect, it does require some maintenance. This will vary depending on the cladding chosen. As a minimum it is expected that cladding will require a straightforward wash on a regular basis. The regularity of the washing will be dependent on the cladding used as well as the location of the property.
There will be additional benefits and disadvantages related to each type of cladding material, so it pays to get expert advice before choosing your cladding.
The regular maintenance is where commercial cladding cleaning comes to the fore. So let’s jump into it.
What is commercial cladding cleaning
Commercial cladding cleaning is the cleaning of commercial buildings and specifically the external cladding of those buildings. The actual cladding to be cleaned will affect the type of cleaning to be implemented and the equipment and chemicals that will be needed to complete the cleaning process. However, commercial cleaning companies who offer cladding cleaning services will know what system to use based on the material to be cleaned.
What is commercial façade cleaning
The façade of a building is generally considered to be the front of the building and would therefore include any cladding on the front of the building.
The Collins Dictionary4 defines the façade as:
“The facade of a building, especially a large one, is its front wall or the wall that faces the street.”2
Of course, when it comes to cleaning the façade, the whole building cladding would be cleaned and not just the front of the building.
Why clean cladding on commercial buildings
There are plenty of reasons why it is worth implementing a regular cladding cleaning schedule. These include:
1. Protects and enhances your brand – There is nothing worse than arriving at offices, retail sites or manufacturing facilities to find the building and the surroundings are unkept and grimy. This tends to leave a bad first impression and suggests that you do not care. On the other hand, a spotless, well kept, dare we say pristine property does really enhance how visitors see you and your company. Dress to impress is just as important for the building you do business in as the clothes you wear.
2. Preventative maintenance – Professional cleaning of your cladding on a regular basis will ensure that any dirt, grime, and stains are removed sooner rather than later ensuring the cladding looks as good as new.
3. Increases the longevity of the cladding – Without preventative maintenance and a regular cleaning regime, corrosion, mildew or mould will not be removed and if it takes hold could actually damage the integrity of the cladding material. If damage happens, the cost of repairs and the potential disruption this may cause will almost certainly outweigh the cost of a simple, yet regular, cleaning schedule.
4. Warranty requirements – Most cladding suppliers offer a guarantee in terms of how long their cladding should last. However, any guarantee may be voided if regular cladding cleaning is not implemented. It is certainly worth checking your guarantees. If you are leasing a building and have signed a full repair lease, you will also be liable for any damage to the cladding of the building so again a regular façade and cladding cleaning service is recommended.
How to clean cladding and façade
The method of cleaning deployed is of course dependant on the type of cladding on the building. At Pristine we often clean stone cladding, UPVC cladding, glazing, metal and cladding made from timber and concrete.
Looking specifically at these cladding types, we use a variety of cleaning methods:
- Stone Cladding Cleaning – generally we use the Doff System (recommended and preferred by The English Heritage) and the Soft Wash System to clean stone cladding, particularly if the building is old as we want to clean the building without damaging the façade.
- uPVC Cladding Cleaning – again we will generally use the Doff System as well as the Soft Wash System. Both systems use specialist equipment and our team at Pristine are trained in how to use these systems to clean surfaces effectively and efficiently.
- Glass Cleaning or Window Cleaning – using a mixture of traditional window cleaning techniques and the reach and wash system. The team at Pristine are also IPAF trained and adept at working safely at heights.
- Metal Cladding Cleaning – the Doff System and Soft Wash System are used for metal cladding cleaning.
- Timber Cladding Cleaning – we will use a mix of the Doff System and Soft Wash System for timber.
- Concrete Cladding Cleaning – again the Doff System and Soft Wash System work well for cleaning concrete cladding.
- New Brick Work Cleaning and the removal of mortar snots – we generally recommend jet washing and brick acid to remove stains and tough debris. Of course, we have all the appropriate equipment and the team are trained in the use of the equipment and the chemicals.
If we are contracted to, when cleaning the exterior of your premises we will also carry out gutter cleaning and cleaning of car park areas. In car parks specifically, we would use the Doff System to remove oil stains.
You can find out more about the Doff steam cleaning system by visiting our Doff Steam Clean web page.
Of course, when cleaning buildings at height there are health and safety issues to consider. At Pristine Commercial Cleaning, all our staff are, PASMA, IPAF, CSCS and NVQ trained, as our priority is the safety of our team, your team as well as members of the general public. We work with you to ensure the safety of all those likely to be affected by our commercial cladding and façade cleaning operations.
Our team are also provided with the right equipment for each situation. We have specialist equipment for high rise buildings which is always used as needed. Our team are IPAF trained and work as a team in these situations, following all appropriate health and safety guidelines.
What types of commercial buildings require cladding cleaning
Commercial properties of all shapes and sizes will have cladding that needs cleaning. These include:
- Office blocks
- Car dealerships
- Distribution centres
- Service stations
- Factories and manufacturing facilities
- Football stadiums and other stadiums
- Shops and other retail premises
- Apartment blocks
- Hire rise buildings
- Historic buildings
- Schools, Libraries, etc.
In fact, most commercial properties will require exterior cleaning, with some requiring specialist cleaning techniques to preserve the fabric of the building. This is particularly the case for historic buildings.
Important considerations when getting your cladding cleaned
When to clean cladding
We could simply say, when it looks like it needs a clean. However, at that point it may require a thorough clean as dirty and pollution takes hold. It is important to note that how often you need your cladding cleaning will depend on where your premises are situated. We can provide guidance with regard to this and would recommend an appropriate schedule for your cladding cleaning.
11 considerations when hiring a commercial cladding cleaning company
Whenever you hire a company to complete work for you as a one-off project or on a regular basis, it’s worth doing some due diligence. In other words, find out about the company you are going to use for the service to make sure you’re happy with their credentials, especially if it’s going to be a regular, long term contract. Here’s a list of the top 11 items we suggest you check out.
- Website – Check their website and make sure they offer, and are proficient in, the service you want, in this case commercial cladding cleaning.
- Case studies and Testimonials – Check their case studies and testimonials page.
- Reviews – Check their reviews. Go to Google and search for the company name plus reviews, and check out their Google My Business, Yell.com, Facebook and anywhere else they have been receiving reviews. Are customers generally happy with the service provided?
- Accreditations – Commercial cleaning companies generally have some accreditations including SafeContractor, British Institute of Cleaning Science, CHAS, Achilles, The British Window Cleaning Academy, Constructionline and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) to name but a few. Check out what they have compared to their competitors and consider if they have the one that most relates to the service you would be appointing them to undertake.
- Insurance – Check they have the necessary insurance to undertake commercial cleaning work. They will need public liability insurance, employers’ liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance and you can ask to see their certificates. You can check out our blog on ‘What is Commercial Cleaning?’ to find out more about Commercial Cleaning Company Insurance.
- Working hours – Will they be able to complete the cladding cleaning, and any other cleaning, that is at a time which is convenient to you and your employees. You need to make sure there is no, or very minimal disruption, to your employees.
- Employees – What is the commercial cleaning company’s ethos regarding employee training. Do they train their cleaners properly? How do you keep employees motivated and what’s your employee turnover rate like?
- Sector experience – Have they worked in your type of business before? Do they have an understanding of your business and how you need their cleaning to fit into your business schedules?
- Quality control checks – Do you have any checks in place to monitor the quality of cleaning work completed?
- Companies House – Check out their accounts.
- Price – Of course the price a company charges is important. You may not want to go with the cheapest though and you’ll certainly want to consider more than price when making your decision on who to hire.
Top 5 benefits of hiring a commercial cladding cleaning company
Of course, there are numerous benefits to hiring a commercial cladding cleaning company. Many of the benefits relate to the hiring of a professional cleaning company but when looking at cladding cleaning in particular, our top 5 benefits are:
- Professional appearances – there is no doubt that keeping your premises clean and tidy on the inside and outside is important for all visitors to your premises as well as for your employees. With the current situation, having a clean environment is even more important. By keeping your cladding clean with a regular cleaning plan, you ensure the first impression from all visitors is positive.
- Specialist tools and equipment – of course if the cladding cleaning includes needing to go to heights, then it pays to use a specialist commercial cleaning company that has the equipment to, following health and safety guidelines, safely reach those heights. At Pristine we can clean windows up to 80 foot from floor level with our pole system and use hoists, booms and platforms (also known as cherry pickers) as needed. Depending on the cladding material, there may be specialist equipment and chemicals needed to safely clean the cladding. At Pristine, we have for example soft wash systems including DOFF steam cleaners as well as Power Washers which we use as appropriate.
- Trained and skilled staff – cleaning staff will be trained by the cleaning company and will be provided with the appropriate equipment and cleaning chemicals to complete a first-class job. At Pristine, we train all our staff in-house, and with over three decades experience, we know what we are doing.
- No business disruption – As professional cleaners, with the right training and right tools, you can expect a thorough clean that is completed effectively and efficiently, and as a result you will have minimal disruption to your business. Certainly, with the cleaning of cladding and façade, which is external cleaning, there should be no disruption to your business so you can do business as usual.
- Protects your investment – Whether you own your premises or lease your building, and especially if the lease is a full repairing one, it makes sense to look after your investment, your building. Façade and cladding needs to be cleaned on a regular basis for a longer life and in some instances to maintain guarantees so having an agreed schedule of cleaning is worth the investment. It also reduces the likelihood of real issues that could mean repairs and business disruption which could in fact cost more than the regular cleaning expense.
How to find a commercial cladding cleaning company
As with most things these days, the first thing we do is Google it. However, this is what we would recommend:
- Google it – When we say Google it, we would recommend that you Google ‘Commercial Cladding Cleaning Company Town’, as in your nearest large town, so for example ‘Commercial Cladding Company Doncaster’. You’ll then get a list of potential cleaning companies that you can review using our 11 considerations when hiring a commercial cladding cleaning company.
- Ask for referrals – There’s no doubt that asking for referrals from other businesses, and especially your neighbouring businesses can work too. People love to give referrals so why not ask other businesses who they use, and of course make sure you complete your due diligence by popping the referrals through the 11 considerations for hiring a cladding cleaning company too.
- Get a quote – Ask for recommendations on a cleaning schedule as well as a quote and compare the information you receive. Perhaps go to your top three companies based on your work in points 1 and 2.
- Make a decision and hire – Once you have the information back from all the companies, it is time to make a decision. Consider all the factors, not just price, and hire your cleaning company.
Commercial Cladding Cleaning is important for all business that want to maintain a clean, successful image. How the exterior of your business premises looks does reflect on you and your brand, so it makes sense to keep your façade and cladding clean and tidy.
The aim of this Guide is to help you gain understanding of what commercial cladding cleaning is and to highlight some of the questions that you need answering before you appoint a company to regularly clean your cladding.
Contact us for a FREE External Cladding Survey and Quote
We hoped you’ve found the information in ‘The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Cladding Cleaning’ useful and informative. Your feedback would be appreciated and to do this simply leave a comment below. Thank you.
1 Designing Buildings Ltd – Cladding for buildings https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Cladding_for_buildings
2 Lexico – Powered by Oxford Languages – Veneer defined https://www.lexico.com/definition/veneer
3 NBS Enterprises Ltd https://www.thenbs.com/
4 Collins Dictionary – Façade defined https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/facade