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Technical and aesthetic maintenance offers the best protection for new façades finished with a powder coating, a paint (PVDF) coating or anodised finish, for example. UV, atmospheric pollutants, biological growth such as mosses and algae, and bird and insect droppings can quickly degrade the colour, shine, and dirt and damp-proofing protective properties of the carefully developed coating.
To prevent this, the manufacturers and VMRG sector organisation have formulated Quality Requirements and Advice, which are evaluated annually. A balanced cleaning and maintenance programme has been drawn up in these quality requirements and advice, including working methodologies, frequencies and recommendations. Cleaning the building shell at least twice a year (depending on such things as location, expected soiling and façade detail) is a vital maintenance activity and a condition of the warranty. For effective removal of contaminants and scratches from the façades resulting from sand and other sharp, loose dirt, it is important to first rinse the façade with clean running water, after which the façade must be cleaned with a pH-neutral and non-aggressive cleaning product using a microfibre sponge or pad, as rubbing with dry cloths damages more than it cleans (this is similar to scrubbing the paint on your car). Reverse osmosis or demineralised water from a building-related system or mobile unit can also be used for rinsing. During regular periodic maintenance, the process water from this method does not need to be collected (see infoMill); a report to the local authorities is often sufficient. In summary, this seems a simple and clear story, but the reality is often far from straightforward.
Following several recent examples from practice we would like to reflect on the selection of proper protection for new metal or plastic façade sections. Despite the quality requirements and advice formulated by the VMRG and the supplier warranty conditions, this discussion continues to re-emerge. Our vision in this is entirely clear. Even though we also have smart transparent or pigmented film-forming and pore-filling protective products in our range and are continuing to develop these, for us, new buildings require periodic cleaning and reversible protection. This is entirely in line with the CCPI Condition Score system that we developed.
Despite our extensive R&D department, practical knowledge and our continuous efforts to create a ‘perfect’ after-market surface protection, in this context a certain level of modesty is required. It is incredibly challenging using the technology available today to satisfy product specifications relating to maintenance and warranty requirements with regard to pH values and solvent levels in the after-market products. The quality of the current surface treatments including powder coating, paint (PVDF) coating systems or anodisation are of an extremely high quality and the correct application of these coatings is safeguarded via Qualicoat. The coating and protection systems of new aluminium, metal or plastic façade sections are guaranteed for shine, colour and durability by coating manufacturers such as AKZO and PPG for periods of up to 20 or 30 years, of course only if maintained in accordance with the applicable maintenance and warranty conditions.
We can conclude that periodic cleaning of these new surfaces and the wax-like reversible protection considerably extend a façade’s service life, technical condition and look, and comply fully with the maintenance regime as formulated by coating and façade manufacturers. Treating façades with a non-reversible film-forming coating, protection or pore filler is therefore an affront to coating and façade manufacturers that place a high priority on properties such as extremely high UV and corrosion resistance, shine, colour retention and a long service life during the production of their coatings and façades. Click here for more information. It is certainly an option to apply a new coating or surface protection when renovating older surface treatments, when revitalising façades, when maintenance is overdue or if there is surface damage, but then too, thorough research and preparation should be conducted in advance.
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