The Commercial Inspector | How to Care for Your Building’s Facade

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The Commercial Inspector

CRE tips and news by National Property Inspections



How to Care for Your Building’s Facade

 March 30, 2022 |  Maintenance, Management |  safety, save money, exterior maintenance, building renovation

Over time, your building can start to show its age. The weather degrades the exterior material, and poor design and maintenance can make matters worse. You may not understand the extent of the damage until you spot leaks or even loose parts of the façade. To prevent major issues, make it a point to tend to your building’s exterior.

Causes of Degradation
There are a couple of reasons that your building starts to get that run-down appearance. The most obvious is the toll that the elements can take. Rain, ice, and heat from the sun all wear down your façade over the years. If you have an older building, the material it’s made out of could be approaching its useful life. Improper construction also compromises the integrity of the material and makes it more susceptible to early wear. In densely populated areas, it’s not uncommon for pollution like smoke and dust to visibly dirty a building’s façade.

Tall glass buildings certainly pop out from other buildings that may be mostly metal or concrete. Their sleek exterior immediately draws attention. However, buildings that use exclusively glass also require extensive upkeep. Glass collects dirt and grime and can quickly look dingy. Water from sprinkler systems and rain can leave behind deposits known as limescale, which causes streaks and spots. Because of how easy it is to get dirty, glass facades require regular cleaning. It’s also very easy for glass to be damaged, so you’ll have to be thorough when looking for small cracks that could become larger. Be sure to check any fittings as well.

Concrete is one of the most common materials used in commercial building construction. While it might not be as visually stunning, its durability makes it a popular choice for property managers. Yet it still needs routine maintenance. Concrete in colder areas is susceptible to the effects of freeze/thaw cycles. Small amounts of water get into hairline cracks and then freeze, “growing” the crack. Caulking in between sections of concrete can also start to wear away and create spaces for intrusion. Staying on top of any major splits is important in preventing the concrete from breaking away.

Along with concrete, brick is another very common exterior. Due to mortar, bricks can suffer the same issues as concrete. They’re also susceptible to plant growth. Mold and vines can easily attach themselves and spread along the siding. To prevent plants from overtaking, keeping your brick façade dry will help. There are a variety of sealers that make it more difficult for water to collect and sprout mold and vines.

It’s very obvious when your metal façade starts to wear down. Rust sticks out like a sore thumb against the rest of your building. Advanced rust can really become a hazard as parts loosen and fall away. Similar to brick, the best way to stay safe is using preventative measures. Certain coatings will add an extra layer of protection from the elements. Of course if there are any major defects, it’s best to have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Keeping your building up to date on its maintenance is important for your tenants’ safety, and a professional commercial inspection with NPI can help. Contact your local inspector and schedule an appointment today!

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National Property Inspections, Inc., founded in 1987, is one of the oldest companies in the inspection industry. Our reputation is built on honesty, integrity and professionalism. National Property Inspections operates as Global Property Inspections in Canada.