Time for a Spring Clean?
How to keep your fabric structure in tip top condition…
Spring is traditionally the time to give your house a good old clean and get everything sparkling and in order.
The same principal should really apply to your fabric structure. Installing a fabric structure is not a cheap option and once you have made that investment, you should ensure that the structure is maintained to ensure it remains as good as it did when it was installed.
Tensile fabric structures are all about the looks. Why go to the effort of installing a structure but then let it fall into disrepair – when cleaning is so easy to do!
Appearances matter and so do your buildings!
By including regular cleaning and maintenance in your annual calendar, a tensile fabric canopy will not only stay looking in tip top condition, but it will also extend its lifespan considerably.
Cleaning the canopy also offers the perfect chance to examine the canopy for damage, blocked water routing or perhaps evidence of vandalism. The frequency of this will really depend on a number of factors including the shape of the canopy, the type of fabric used, its position in relation to tree and traffic and any other airborne dirt.
As a general guideline we recommend that a canopy should be cleaned and have a maintenance check annually. Our maintenance department cleans a number of canopies every year – but as you can see from the photos, clients often leave long periods between cleans, allowing dirt to build up, that can be tough to remove, potentially threatening the lacquer layers on the fabric.
Exterior canopies are best cleaned in-situ* to avoid damaging the canopies while taking them down and re-erecting them. The topside of external horizontal surfaces collect the most dirt and in our experience the underside of canopies only need a light clean.
We always recommend that canopies are cleaned on colder, cloudier days when the fabric is cool – as a warm day will mean warm fabric that dries too quickly and there is a higher risk of streaking.
In normal circumstances the following method is effective:
Remove loose surface dirt and leaves etc by spraying with water.
Apply cleaning solution diluted to its specification – a non-solvent washing up liquid is great . This can be done with low pressure spraying equipment, sponges or soft brushes. The solution should then be left for several minutes to allow time for it to act on the dirt. During this time the use of soft brushes or sponges may be found to be beneficial to loosen heavy deposits.
Rinse off the mixture of dirt and cleaning agent with large quantities of water or high-pressure hoses. The latter should be used with caution as the extremely high nozzle pressures developed by some of these devices could puncture the fabric or damage seam areas. A cleaning rate of 1 - 3 minutes per square metre of fabric should normally be adequate providing access is readily available.
Tensile Fabric will always be happy to provide a quotation for a full maintenance and repair programme. Contact us for more information.
* It should be noted that the fabric is extremely slippery when wet and personnel operating at high level on the fabric canopies should wear a harness connected to the head rings at all times. Allowances have been made for this by design in accordance with CDM regulations.
By Abi Smith, 12/03/2020
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