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Saving the environment is one of the critical issues facing humankind at the moment. Collectively, we are producing inordinate amounts of toxic air pollutants like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide—and it has begun manifesting in very real ways in the world around us. Pollution is affecting our health, our oceans and even our weather. One such manifestation, which will cause dismay to some property owners, is found on the render of buildings in urban areas. Namely, it’s making them look dull, discoloured and old.
Given our specialisation in property maintenance and restoration, it’s this impact of pollution that we witness and deal with most often. For this reason, we feel it is necessary to explain how pollution affects building exteriors and, most importantly, what you can do about it.
To use its most stripped back definition, air pollution is anything present in the air that is harmful to either humans, animals or the environment. Some forms of air pollution, for instance sulfur dioxide, can be released naturally. Volcanoes are known to release around 30% to 50% of the world’s supply of that particular gas. However, the most troubling and concerning forms of air pollution are, sadly, man-made. The burning of fossil fuels, used to generate energy, contributes to an overwhelming amount of the air pollution facing the planet today; up to 89% of all carbon emissions come from fossil fuels like coal, oil and petroleum.
In densely packed urban environments, air pollution often causes smog, a haze which causes irritation, health complications and—in effect—can choke the environment. In the modern world, smog is formed when volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (all released through human activity like driving and factory production) react with the sunlight, forming the unmistakable fog that characterises cities like Beijing, New Delhi and Los Angeles.
Air pollution, in its many forms, can affect the render of buildings in a handful of unwanted ways. Over time, the presence of pollutants can begin to discolour render façades and create stains on its surface. While this won’t pose a serious structural threat to a building, it can severely impact its aesthetic appeal. If you’re looking to attract customers, clients, residents or even guests, the dull, weathered look of pollution staining is something you’ll definitely want to avoid.
Another, less common, effect of air pollution is acid rain, formed when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide rise into the atmosphere, mixing with oxygen and water to create a harmful form of precipitation. Unlike pollution staining, acid rain can cause render to deteriorate; it has even ruined treasured statues and monuments. Thankfully, it is a lot less common now than in years past.
If your property is currently facing grimy, stained render from exposure to pollution, you’ll be relieved to know that there are quick, effective solutions out there. Contrary to what some people may tell you, pressure washing render stains is not the way to go: it can damage the render and force water deep inside, leading to further erosion further down the line. Instead, we recommend render stain remover, which, alongside the gentle application of water, will gently lift the stains without reducing the lifespan of your render.
What’s more, render stain remover is also incredibly cost-effective, in many cases cheaper than repainting!
At Spectrum, we always look to go above and beyond for our clients with innovative equipment, solutions and a customer-first approach to service. As part of that, we’ve developed the P.A.S.T process, a four-step render cleaning method that achieves top results every time. It has seen us through hundreds of render cleaning projects, from algae removal to pollution stains and beyond.
P - Preparation of the render, including full risk assessment.
A - Application of the relevant cleaning solution. In the case of pollution stains, the solution in question would be our render stain remover.
S - Steam-based washing at 150 degree temperatures. This will gently lift the stains without the use of high-pressure jet washers.
T - Targeted treatment of any remaining stains.
With this process, we are able to maximise the effectiveness of our render stain remover, ensuring that we leave our client’s property in pristine condition.
Sadly, air pollution is present everywhere, but we don’t want that to affect you, your clients or your tenants. Fortunately, Spectrum's equipment is available nationwide: we offer innovations in render cleaning Swindon, London, Bristol, Birmingham and a whole lot more cities can make use of. So get in touch with Spectrum today and make your pollution stains a thing of the past!
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