External cladding refers to the materials applied to the exterior of a building to protect it from the elements and improve its appearance. These materials include wood, brick, stone, metal, aluminium, vinyl, or PVC cladding.
Cladding also serves as an additional layer of thermal insulation for the building, which can help improve energy efficiency. Over time, external cladding can become dirty or stained from exposure to weather elements such as rain or wind-blown dirt and debris.
If left dirty, this build-up can lead to discolouration and damage that may require costly repairs or replacement. Removing surface dirt with a good wash system is essential for maintaining its appearance and extending its lifespan.
The Tripleclean Gang is here to help you understand the best way to get results when cladding cleaning, for domestic or commercial buildings, and you can enjoy a brilliant-looking building with minimal disruption.
Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining the appearance of external cladding. Stains and dirt festering on cladding can make buildings look neglected or uncared for.
This work is crucial for commercial buildings where the image is everything. Keeping commercial buildings clean and well-maintained can help attract customers or tenants.
In addition to aesthetics, regular cleaning helps maintain the structural integrity of external cladding by preventing damage from weather elements such as moisture build-up that can cause rotting in wood-based materials, corrosion in metal-based materials, or fading in vinyl siding.
Cladding cleaning also helps prevent mould growth which, if left unchecked, could cause health problems, particularly for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. For more information, you can check out our post "How To Clean White PVC Cladding".
Regular cleaning of external cladding is an essential part of maintaining both the appearance and structural integrity of a building while extending its lifespan. Neglecting this crucial maintenance task could result in costly repairs down the line, so creating a cleaning schedule that includes regular inspections and cleanings is essential.
If you are concerned about clean cladding, calling on a professional cleaning company to provide a regular cladding cleaning schedule makes sense.
Proper preparation makes the actual cleaning process quicker and more effective. The following steps help you maximise the outcome while minimising effort.
Before starting to clean external cladding, it is essential to gather all the necessary equipment. You'll need the following tools:
Pressure Washer: A pressure washer is the most critical tool for cleaning external cladding.
It will make the job easier and more effective. You can either rent or purchase one, depending on how often you need it.
Soft-bristled Brush: A soft-bristled brush will help remove stubborn dirt and grime from the surface of your cladding without damaging it. Using this brush in conjunction with a cleaning solution makes a big difference.
Cleaning Solution: You can use a general-purpose household cleaner to clean your cladding or purchase a specialised cleaner explicitly made for this purpose. Some cleaning products require dilution before use.
Safety Gear: Cleaning external cladding can be dangerous. Always wear safety gear such as gloves and goggles to protect yourself from any chemicals or debris that may come your way during the cleaning process.
Ladder: If you have high levels of external cladding, you may need a ladder to reach them safely. Make sure the equipment complies with health and safety guidelines.
In addition to cleaning products, a soft cloth, and soapy water is useful, and in some cases, this is the only solution you need to concern yourself with! These items are the most cost-effective ways to carry out cleaning work, but sometimes, you need more than warm water to clean your cladding, especially when dealing with matters like bird droppings.
Before cleaning your external cladding surface, identify areas requiring special attention or caution. For example, if you have delicate surfaces like glass panels or electrical outlets on the surface of your cladding that are susceptible to damage by water leaks while cleaning, take extra care in those areas when working.
You should also look for cracks on panels and ensure they are safe before proceeding with any cleaning method, as water leakage into such cracks can cause damage over time. In addition, consider features like flower beds around the cladding, as a pressure washer might damage them.
Before cleaning, ensure you have turned off the power supply to any electrical outlets or fixtures on your external cladding. This will protect both yourself and the electrical components from any water damage that may occur during cleaning.
Avoid these areas altogether when cleaning if possible. Preparing before washing your external cladding is essential for a successful outcome and for keeping yourself safe.
With the preparation work in place, the cleaning process becomes more straightforward, and the following steps apply to all forms of cladding cleaning.
The first step in cleaning external cladding is to rinse it from top to bottom using a pressure washer or hose with a spray nozzle attachment. This will remove any loose dirt or debris and prepare the surface for the cleaning solution. It's essential to start at the top and work your way down, as this will help prevent streaking and ensure that all areas are covered.
Once you've rinsed the cladding, it's time to apply the cleaning cladding solution. Use a soft-bristled brush or spray bottle to apply the solution, starting from the bottom and working your way up in small sections. This will help prevent streaking and ensure that all areas are covered evenly.
It's essential to follow manufacturer instructions when diluting and applying cleaning solutions, as using too much or too little can adversely affect both your cladding and the surrounding environment.
Once you've applied the solution, allow it to sit for several minutes before moving on to the next step.
After allowing the cleaning solution to work its magic, gently scrub each cladding section with circular motions using your soft-bristled brush. Be sure not to use too much pressure, as this can damage delicate surfaces or scratch paint finishes while removing dirt build-up.
Circular motions are recommended for scrubbing because they help loosen dirt particles without leaving unsightly streaks behind. For stubborn stains or filthy areas, repeat the last steps to ensure you receive the results you need when cleaning exterior cladding.
Once you've finished scrubbing all cladding sections thoroughly, rinse any remaining cleaning solution from top to bottom using a pressure washer or hose with a spray nozzle attachment. Pay special attention to hard-to-reach areas such as corners or crevices.
It's important to rinse thoroughly so that no residue is left behind, which can cause streaking or damage over time.
While cladding cleaning is similar for all cladding types, there are cleaning methods for each material or substance. Whatever types of cladding material you’re cleaning, there are things to look out for:
When cleaning wooden cladding, you should be careful not to use too much water, which can cause the wood to swell and become damaged. Using a cleaning solution specifically designed for wood is also important to avoid damaging the surface.
You can clean brick cladding with a pressure washer, but you should be careful not to use too much pressure, as this can cause the mortar to become damaged. It would help if you also were careful not to use any cleaning solutions that contain acid, as this can cause the bricks to become discoloured.
Stone cladding can be pretty delicate, so using a gentle cleaning solution and avoiding a pressure washer is vital. You should also be careful not to use any cleaning solutions that contain acid, as this can cause the stone to become discoloured.
Metal cladding is durable and cleanable with a pressure washer or a soft-bristled brush. However, be careful not to use any abrasive cleaning solutions or tools, as this can scratch the surface of metal cladding.
Aluminium cladding is easy to clean with a pressure washer or a soft-bristled brush. However, you should avoid using any cleaning solutions that contain ammonia, as this can cause the surface of the aluminium to become discoloured.
Vinyl cladding is quite durable, and you can use a pressure washer or a soft-bristled brush. Be mindful of bleach cleaning solutions, as this can cause the vinyl to become discoloured.
While it is possible to jet-wash wooden cladding, it is generally not recommended. The force of the water can be too strong for the wood, causing it to become damaged or even stripped away. In addition, jet washing can force water underneath the cladding, leading to rot and decay problems.
Composite cladding is cleanable with a mild detergent solution, soft-bristled brush, or a low-pressure power washer. However, it is essential to avoid using abrasive cleaning solutions or tools, as these can scratch the surface of the cladding.
Cladding cleaning may seem daunting initially, but you can do so effectively and efficiently with the right equipment, preparation, and technique. With the right process, cleaning cladding offers you great returns, and clean cladding is a sight to behold! If you're interested in learning more, feel free to check our article "Can You Pressure Wash Composite Decking".
Remember that cleaning is vital in preventing the build-up of dirt and debris that can lead to stains or other damage over time.
By taking care of your exterior cladding through proper cleaning techniques, by yourself or through a professional cleaning company, you'll enjoy its aesthetic benefits for years.