Why Exterior Cleaning of High-Rise Buildings Is Important

property investment

While cleaning the interior of buildings is usually on a management company’s maintenance programme, consideration isn’t always given to the façade of a high rise building. With the interior, it’s a no brainer. People that live or work in the building need it to be hygienic and comfortable. Those that visit also need to get a good impression. Here’s the point – surely, the building’s exterior is as important as the interior in terms of how clients or visitors perceive the building? 

A dirt-stained exterior is far from ideal. Then there are the neighbouring businesses to consider. You have a responsibility as a building owner or renter to contribute to the area’s overall cleanliness and perception. 

Why The Exterior of Buildings Need To Be Cleaned 

In urban areas, the most significant factor is pollution. As particles build up, they can cause the outside of the building to look dull and grey. Dirt and mud also build up – particularly when a building is located close to a highway. You’d think that rain would wash the debris away, but it actually exacerbates the problem, causing further dirt and dust to stick. 

Then there are the challenges posed by nature to contend with. Pollen build up can worsen the buildings overall look; and fallen leaves can become lodged in crevices or stuck to walls. This leads to a vicious cycle, as further dirt is attracted to the debris. The residue forms the perfect environment for bacteria and algae growth. 

Structures such as railings or balconies may rust over time, leaving unsightly rust stains streaking down the walls. Another common issue is caused when water penetrates the surface leading to efflorescence – a salt residue that is left on the surface of the wall. 

Increasingly a challenge for building owners is graffiti. ‘Taggers’ are becoming bolder and spraying high-rise buildings which they consider to be trophies. Once graffiti appears on a building, it attracts other vandals, so it’s important to remove graffiti as soon as it appears. 

So, what are the benefits of keeping the façade of a high-rise building clean? Firstly, more foot traffic. Businesses need people coming and going into a building to draw new customers. If a building is dirty, they are less likely to enter it or they will be left with a poor impression. A dirty exterior of premises can lead to unnecessary issues with other business owners, including those you want to collaborate with. Keeping your building beautifully clean and maintained both inside and outside can be a positive factor in building new partnerships. 

Keeping the exterior of the building clean will also save you money in the long run. By having a maintenance program in place, and the surface consistently cleaned, you will be able to pick up issues that need to be addressed before they become severe. New stains, for example, are easier (and therefore cheaper) to remove.  

Some of the common stains that building owners have to contend with include:

  • Carbonate stain – this is hard white or light grey surface crust. It’s usually found along a mortar joint/hole or crack between bricks or joints.
  • Black stains – they can be caused by hydrocarbons from cars and plane fuel or bacteria-based algae.
  • Acid burns – these are uneven yellow or gold stains found on the surfaces of bricks or in mortar joints. They are caused when surfaces are cleaned with muriatic acid but aren’t adequately rinsed.
  • Scumming – this occurs when the surface isn’t cleaned correctly when acidic solutions are used. It leads to uneven white or grey run marks.
  • Brown manganese stains – these appear along the mortar joints of bricks and are caused when manganese dioxide that is dissolved in water or muriatic acid runs over the surface.
  • Green vanadium stains – these are caused by vanadium salts that dissolve in rain, construction water, or muriatic acid, so they are usually found in new builds. 

How Can Building Owners Keep Exteriors Clean? 

For a high rise building or one with multiple floors, a professional washing service is essential. Specialist tools and techniques such as pressure washing and power washing are needed if you want to get the best results. A specialist company will also know how to protect your building during the cleaning process to prevent damage to signage, windows, and roofing, which require experienced crew to clean them. 

Buildings that are located close to busy roads will need cleaning more frequently, but it’s advisable to clean the exterior surfaces every 3-5 years to maintain them properly. This will keep the building looking clean, professional, and appealing, and will prevent biological growths such as certain types of algae that break down buildings’ structures. If the ‘curb appeal’ of your building doesn’t motivate you to regularly clean the exterior, then the risk of structural damage should.




Written by Julie Hanson

Julie is passionate about property – development, investment and portfolio planning. Along with husband Alec, Julie is actively building a property portfolio while helping others to do the same.


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