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Restoring Wooden Cladding with High-Temperature Steam


Cladding Cleaning

Cladding cleaning without scaffolding by combining high temperature steam and our specially designed tools! 

Spectrum was approached by a Reading-based housing association and asked to clean the wooden cladding on one of their properties. We had worked on previous jobs for the client and so the housing association was aware for our high standards and our expertise in exterior renovations.

The Project

The aim of the project was to clean and restore the wooden cladding to the point that it would not require repainting. Cleaning is faster and more affordable than repainting, so the longer cladding can be left between decorating cycles, the lower the overall cost to the client.

When cleaning the wooden cladding, our teams had to ensure that no damage was done to the wood or to the properties within the block. We planned to use a number of specialist cleaning techniques in order to ensure the job was completed to the highest possible standard.

The Site

The site was made up of a number of individual properties. Many of these properties had plants in pots and there was also a beautifully kept garden on the site. Our teams were required to work around this greenery and protect the plants on site during the wooden cladding cleaning process.

The Logistics

The main logistical issue our teams faced when working on this cladding cleaning project was the greenery on site. We planned to use steam cleaning to remove dirt and grime from the wooden cladding. This superheated water could easily have damaged the plants in the property so our teams had to exercise great care and caution at all times when working on the façade.

Cladding Steam Cleaning 

The first step our team took when preparing the Reading site for cleaning was protecting the surrounding area. They carefully assessed the property, its gardens and its façade to decide which areas were most suitable to work from and which areas required particular care and attention.

Our teams then assessed the wood used in the cladding of the property to decide which cleaning solutions were most appropriate for the project. Using the wrong chemicals to clean cladding can result in damage to the wood and a poor aesthetic result. Thanks to their extensive experience cleaning all types of wood and render clad buildings, our teams were able to select the right products and processes for the job.

Our expertise in cleaning was also invaluable when it came to selecting the correct cleaning system for the project. Inexperienced cleaners are often tempted to use high pressure jets when removing dirt and grime from wooden cladding. Many believe that high pressure water is more effective at cleaning cladding. However, our teams know that increasing the pressure of the water can cause wooden cladding to split. This can result in permanent damage to the wood and a poor aesthetic finish for the cleaning.

Instead of using high pressure to remove the dirt and grime from the wooden cladding, our teams opted to use a combination of specialist wood cladding cleaning solutions and steam cleaning. Steam cleaning processes, like Doff cleaning, are incredibly effective at removing dirt and grime from wooden cladding. The superheated steam lifts staining and discolouration from the surface of the wood, revealing the underlying timber and producing an excellent finish. 

Doff cleaning machines are easily portable so our teams were able to set up at all points where cleaning was required. This flexibility made it easier for us to work around the plants and gardens at the property and ensure that no greenery was damaged while we were on site.

Unlike other forms of steam cleaning, Doff machines heat water to an incredible 150 degrees C. This superheated steam can be used to gently clean a wide variety of surfaces including brick, stone, render and wooden cladding. Our teams regularly use Doff cleaning when working on property facades and so are able to get great results from the process. Doff cleaning can be used when working from the ground, from cherry pickers and via rope access. This allows the process to be used wherever it is needed.

Softwashing wooden cladding is much less likely to result in damage to the surface compared to pressure washing. This makes it a much more effective process for these types of projects. In order to ensure that the softwashing process removed as much dirt as possible, we used a specialist wooden cladding cleaning solution to loosen dirt and grime and aid the cleaning process.

Delivering Incredible Results

During the project at the Reading site, our teams cleaned approximately 300 square meters of wooden cladding. During the work, we were able to protect all of the plants and greenery on site, something that the residents were very pleased about.

The results of the clean were very impressive. The wooden cladding was restored to its original aesthetic condition and looked so good that no re-staining or painting was required. This saved our client a lot of money on redecoration costs and minimised disruption to the tenants.

While working on the Reading site, we did not use scaffolding or other specialist access solutions. Our teams were able to work quickly and efficiently using specially selected cleaning solutions. Avoiding the use of scaffolding and heavy machinery saved our client a considerable amount in access costs and allowed the work to proceed without delay.

The result of the clean at the Reading site was so good many residents were shocked by the results. They had not expected the wooden cladding to be cleaned so quickly or so thoroughly and were especially pleased that their plants had been protected throughout.

Saving Our Clients Time and Money

Our specialist knowledge and expertise allowed us to select the right cleaning processes and products for the project and achieve outstanding results from the clean. Saving our client time and money, our work returned the building to its former aesthetic condition.

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