Tips for cleaning paint, old sealant, and more off your building exterior

Over time, any commercial building exterior can end up with any number of substances on it. Maybe someone painted another surface nearby and was careless with their application, so flecks of paint have spotted the outside of your building. Or perhaps an incorrect application of sealant on the concrete sidewalk also coated the bottom inch of the exterior wall.

Regardless of how it happened, you probably want to remove it so that your building exterior looks its best. Here are the steps to take when removing something from your building exterior.

Identify the substance

Is it paint? Sealant? Staining? The first step to proper removal is to know what you’re dealing with, since different products will work on different substances. In some cases, it will be obvious, such as paint that matches the color of a nearby surface. In other cases, you may have maintenance records that indicate when other work was done that may have impacted the exterior surface. Still other times, it’s best to consult a professional to help identify the substance before you begin.

Consider the surface

The surface of your exterior matters as well when cleaning paint, sealant, or other substances. How you approach cleaning a brick masonry building will differ from a limestone or stucco exterior. Using an incorrect product or application for cleaning could cause even more harm to your exterior.

Check for other concerns

If you have crumbling masonry, poorly sealed windows, or removable features on the exterior, it’s important to consider those factors before beginning your cleaning project. The incorrect cleaning method could further damage a deteriorating exterior or cause leaks around poorly sealed windows.

Choose a method and test a small area

When it comes to exterior cleaning, you want to choose the mildest product or method possible to begin with. If the milder product doesn’t completely take care of it, you can move on to something more aggressive, but it’s best to ease into it to protect your exterior. The same advice given on many household cleaning products applies to commercial products as well. It’s always best to test a small, inconspicuous spot and let it fully dry before you proceed with cleaning the entire area.

Think about prevention

Depending on the substance removed, there may be preventative sealants or other products that could make future cleanup easier if the issue occurs again. Of course, if the issue is related to poor application of a product on or near the exterior, that can be prevented in the future through better training of maintenance staff or consulting a professional for such jobs.

If you need help identifying a removing something from your building exterior, give us a call.

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