Facility Dude

Tips for keeping your facility exterior looking new

By Kate Donnelly
Jul 03, 2015

Facilities Management

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Tips for keeping your facility exterior looking new Now that the weather has warmed up, more people will be spending time outside, taking walks through their respective cities' downtown districts. This means that for many facility managers, their building is going to be on display for countless passers-by, and it's important that the facility put on its best face.

Everyone knows what they say about first impressions, and that's true in the world of facility management as well. It doesn't matter if you're looking for new corporate tenants, trying to sell the building, or if you just want it to look nice so you can take pride in it - keeping your facade and landscape clean and neat is important.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Wood exteriors

It may be an uncommon sight in the concrete jungles of the nation's urban centers, but there are still many facilities throughout the country that, if not constructed from wood, contain many architectural and design elements that are wooden.

Wood can be tricky because unlike concrete or brick, it is in danger of rotting under the right conditions. Especially if the wooden fixtures in your building are old, or if you live in a particularly humid or wet environment, this can be a chief concern. Be sure to inspect these elements regularly, paying attention to early warning signs such as chipping, holes in the wood or that telltale earthy smell. Also, be on the lookout for termites, carpenter ants and other pests that can wreak havoc on wood.

FacilitiesNet noted that a good way to keep wood protected is to maintain a consistent paint job. More than just providing an aesthetic boost, a coat of paint can actually help protect wood from the elements, helping it last longer. The source noted that if you're using a non-lead-based product, you'll likely need to redo your paint job every five years or so.

Concrete exteriors

Concrete is much more common in modern building construction than wood is and is also typically more abundant. Unlike wooden architectural fixtures, it's likely your entire building's exterior, as well as additional elements like sidewalks, are constructed from the stuff.

Despite its rock-hard reputation, concrete actually requires regular maintenance if you want to preserve not just its clean look, but its structural integrity as well. One of the principal components of concrete care is keeping it clean. Snow and ice in the winter and debris and discarded foliage in the summer can damage the surface. Additionally, while you want to keep winter precipitation off of your concrete, avoid using chemical deicers, as these harsh agents can stain and damage the surface.

Power wash the concrete surfaces to remove any stains from salt or hard water. Starker Parson concrete company also recommended sealing the concrete once it's been cleaned as a way to keep new stains from forming. This also limits the amount of water that seeps below the surface, which can help preserve structural integrity and prevent cracks.

Brick exteriors

Brick can give a refined and stately look to your building, but it's another material that requires regular building maintenance to look its best. Bob Vila noted that cleaning is an essential part of brick maintenance. One key hazard to look out for is the development of moss, mildew and mold - these tend to pop up on sides of the building that receive little sunlight and can be removed with a bleach solution.

One maintenance concern specific to brick is the mortar. Over time, the mortar holding the blocks together can crack and crumble, which can compromise the structural integrity of the whole wall. This requires a process known as repointing to fix - if you notice mortar cracking, consider outsourcing the job to professionals.

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