How Spring Cleaning Builds Resilience for Commercial Properties

Leap year provided us an early spring this year, while the “prognosticator of prognosticators,” Punxatawney Phil, all but guaranteed it. With spring comes the welcoming, warm weather, losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings time, and possibly even more when we realize it’s also time for spring cleaning.

For commercial property owners, spring brings about the opportunity to get your buildings in tip-top shape in preparation for all that Mother Nature brings in beauty and beast. This article covers how a robust spring cleaning regiment fortifies your building against the upcoming seasonal challenges.

The Power of Spring Cleaning

The concept of spring cleaning dates back hundreds of years, if not more, and is steeped in cultural tradition. As a long-standing tradition, spring cleaning presents the perfect opportunity as the temperatures get warmer, the days get longer, and nature awakens from its slumber to restore your building’s shine.

The building’s exterior is the first thing people notice, and a well-maintained facade can significantly enhance the building’s curb appeal. Spring cleaning improves the overall appearance and hygiene of your building by removing accumulated dust, dirt, and other debris. While the act of cleaning itself positively impacts health and well-being, it also affects the health and morale of occupants. As a building owner, checking off your spring cleaning list provides a sense of accomplishment and instills confidence that your tenants are taken care of.

If you don’t have a spring cleaning checklist, start with an assessment of your property to uncover what areas most need attention. Sidewalks, parking garages, windows, and parking decks are a few of the most common areas to review during your assessment. This is also an excellent time to work with your building services provider to check sealants for signs of wear and the facade for damage. Spring cleaning and proactive maintenance are your best line of defense and offense for upcoming seasonal challenges.

Pollen Impact and Preparation

Itchy eyes, runny noses, and sluggish feelings are just a few symptoms people struggle with as spring flowers bloom. Pollen doesn’t just wreak havoc on those with allergies. If left unabated, pollen can affect indoor air quality. Pollen can pile up on parking decks, walkways, and other exterior surfaces, making your building look dingy and neglected. Pressure washing and window cleaning, can rid your building of its coat of pollen.

Bracing for the Buzz: Pre-Spring Pest Prep

Pollen isn’t the only thing that emerges around springtime. This year experts predict what they call a double brood event of cicada emergence, producing billions of noisy creatures. While cicadas aren’t quite the nuisance to building owners that, rodents, roaches, and bedbugs are, their emergence will leave behind carcasses and attract predators sure to leave their mark. Birdproofing and a proactive approach to spring cleaning and maintenance is your first line of defense in ensuring your building is well-protected from pests.

Spring Into Action With Proactive Maintenance

Both spring and fall present opportune moments to spruce up your building and remove the remnants of the previous season. Just past the winter thaw and before the full brunt of the summer heat is perfect for comprehensive window cleaning. Professional window cleaning services don’t just remove superficial dirt, they take care of pollen, bird droppings, and smudges and streaks. This is essential in preventing build-up on your windows that can deteriorate their quality over time. When that happens, returning your windows to the ideal condition requires more extensive efforts including deep cleaning, restoration, or even full replacement.

Other common areas, like parking decks and walkways, are equally important in spring cleaning. These high-traffic areas bear the brunt of daily traffic and the harsh summer and winter environments. Using a scrubber or pressure washing these surfaces removes residue from ice-melt treatments and other contaminants. Pressure washing can remove mold growth from walkways common during the rainy season and a potential risk for slips and falls. This paves the way for a safer and aesthetically pleasing building and campus.

Make Spring Cleaning a Breeze with Valcourt Services

Through spring cleaning and preventative maintenance, you can avoid costly repairs and replacements, significantly boost tenant satisfaction, and, ultimately, enhance your property’s value. Valcourt Building Services stands at the forefront of preserving and elevating commercial properties with an unwavering focus on safety and customer satisfaction.

By entrusting your property to Valcourt Building Services, you choose a partner dedicated to maintaining its aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. Contact Valcourt today to see how our range of services, from cleaning facades to large-scale restoration projects, ensures that your building not only withstands the tests of time and nature but also thrives.


Deep Clean or Glass Restoration, Part 2: Comprehensive Guide to Professional Glass Restoration

Despite your best efforts in regular upkeep, natural wear and tear sometimes take its toll on your windows. When you notice that even the most meticulous cleaning doesn’t restore former glory, it’s time for a strategic pivot. This article will help you recognize the signs of window deterioration and introduce window restoration as a cost-effective and budget-friendly alternative to complete replacement.

Glass Restoration: Reviving Your Windows

Addressing common issues like stubborn stains and fading clarity shouldn’t cost you an entire window installation. When regular window cleaning isn’t returning your windows to pristine condition or staining, clouding, and etching won’t go away, restoration may be in order.

Removing ground-level staining, which is expected due to hard water from irrigation systems, can rejuvenate your windows and add to your building’s curb appeal. This budget-friendly project is smaller in scope than a full glass restoration and is a good addition to any preventative maintenance plan, especially for areas notorious for hard water.

Understanding the true potential of glass restoration is knowing when to intervene. This isn’t merely about reversing obvious damage; it’s about preventing the gradual, often unnoticed, deterioration that accumulates into major financial drains. The environmental onslaught of sun and storms, as well as the occasional misadventures of accidental damages, merits a comprehensive approach to window wellness.

Commercial Window Restoration Process

Revitalizing your commercial windows through restoration isn’t merely an aesthetic upgrade—it’s a strategic move that strengthens their endurance and function. Consider it a proactive measure to secure your property’s market worth and the satisfaction of its tenants. When carried out correctly, the process can return the glass very close to its original clarity, offering a far more cost-effective solution than a complete replacement.

A typical glass restoration project may consist of the following elements.

Pressure Washing & Seal Facade

This step removes dirt and grime from the building’s facade using high-pressure water jets. Depending on your building, you may want to consider sealing or re-sealing the facade to prevent future mineral leaching and staining. Sealing can also help improve energy efficiency and maintain aesthetic appeal.

Restore the Glass 

Similar to buffing a car, this method efficiently removes stains without harming the glass. The process involves applying a restorative cleaning product that is carefully buffed and polished across the window’s surface.

It’s a meticulous procedure that targets surface dirt and pollutants trapped within the glass’s microscopic imperfections, effectively eliminating deposits and staining that regular cleaning can’t address. To further lengthen the lifespan of the windows, a water repellant can be added, offering extra surface protection for the glass.

Deep Clean Window Frames 

Deep cleaning involves thoroughly removing dirt, debris, and any corrosive elements accumulated over time, ensuring the frames’ structural integrity and visual appeal are maintained. Specialized cleaning solutions and techniques address each frame’s unique material, whether metal, wood, or vinyl, effectively rejuvenating them to match the restored glass’s pristine condition.

While the deep cleaning process is optional, restoration is an opportune time to implement this proactive measure. This step not only improves the overall look but also contributes to the longevity of the window system.

Quality Check & Final Walkthrough

This ensures the restoration process meets quality standards. The quality check and final walkthrough verifies the restoration has successfully restored the window’s aesthetics, ensuring a seamless blend with the building’s overall appearance.

This comprehensive approach guarantees the longevity and effectiveness of the restoration work. With the windows restored to their optimal state, attention shifts to maintaining their condition and performance through post-restoration care and maintenance.

Post-Restoration Care and Maintenance

Post-restoration, the service provider should clean the windows one final time, making them appear new. A best practice is to provide the customer with an after-action report to ensure they understand the ongoing maintenance necessary for upkeep.

We recommend:

  • Regular Window Cleaning – Cleaning the exterior glass a minimum of 2-4 times a year removes dirt and pollutants while preserving visibility and glass quality. You can save in the long run and prolong the need for deep cleaning by staying on track with regular window cleaning, pressure washing, and sealing.
  • Facade Cleaning & Resealing – Pressure washing the building facade every 5-7 years and following resealing guidance will help protect against environmental damage and water intrusion.
  • Periodic Deep Cleaning – Deep clean exterior glass if it is affected by heavy build-up from deferred maintenance or construction debris. This more intensive cleaning addresses any buildup that regular cleanings cannot remove and checks the integrity of the frames.

While windows don’t last forever, a proactive approach to window and facade maintenance will extend their life and deliver a greater ROI on your investment.

Optimizing Your Building’s Window Longevity with Glass Restoration

Employing glass restoration and proactive care offers a strategic approach to revitalizing your commercial windows. Investing in restoration protects not just your windows but also your peace of mind, knowing that you’re preemptively mitigating risks and future expenses like window replacement.

Rest assured, with Valcourt’s expertise, you’ll be extending the life of your windows, enhancing the aesthetics of your building, and improving energy efficiency. If you suspect your windows need attention or professional cleaning, contact Valcourt today for a quote.


Strategic Sealant Replacement: Knowing the Right Time to Replace Building Sealants

What is the key to building longevity? For the Romans, with structures still standing 2,000 years later, it was self-healing concrete. In the U.S., where the average age of commercial buildings qualifies them for an AARP card, the key to longevity is preventative maintenance.

Sealants protect buildings and prevent water, air, and other environmental elements from seeping in and wreaking havoc. When left unchecked, external elements can significantly damage your building’s structural integrity and shorten its lifespan. This article will guide you through the optimal timing to replace building sealant, signs of sealant failure, and actionable advice to ensure your building’s longevity and aesthetic appeal.

Building Sealant Application and Lifespan

Most commercial buildings in the U.S. are in the “old-age” phase of the building life cycle, with an average age of over 53. A condo in Honolulu shows that buildings have the potential to last hundreds of years through a proactive approach and by addressing warning signs before they lead to significant problems.

Sealants aim to keep unwanted water, pests, and potentially hazardous pathogens at bay. These applications are an industry staple, but they don’t last forever. They require inspection, reapplication, and replacement to ensure effective weatherproofing and waterproofing. There are two main types of sealants to consider, each offering distinct advantages.

Silicone sealants are known for their durability, flexibility, and resistance to temperature variations and UV light, making them ideal for use on glass, metal, or tile surfaces. More of a joint compound than a sealant, silicone dries fast and can last up to 20 years or more, depending on the environmental conditions.

Polyurethane sealants, on the other hand, are better suited for natural surfaces like wood or stone due to their strength and adhesion. While polyurethane sealants are true sealants, they typically have a shorter lifespan than silicone, ranging from 5 to 10 years, and take longer to cure and dry.

Your building service provider can help you choose the proper sealant based on environmental exposure, scope of work, desired longevity, and upkeep.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Building Sealant

Building inspections are an ideal time to look for indicators that the sealant is failing. At the minimum, these inspections should occur annually. Factors such as building age, environmental exposure, and problematic areas require more frequent inspections.

Here’s what to look for when inspecting your building sealants:

1. Is the surface of the sealant cracked or alligatored?

2. Are there cracks, punctures, discoloration, or missing sealants on the building exterior and/or window perimeters?

3. Has the existing sealant become hardened?

4. Are any sealants separated from the substrate/wall or window/door perimeters?

5. Is the sealant reverting to a soft/tacky state?

6. Is there any evidence the joints have been skimmed over?

Catching a problem early makes all the difference in remedying it. Leveraging technology like drones to record video allows you to capture photos to document how well your building is aging, plan for capital improvement projects, and give you an idea of how long an issue has persisted.

ROI and Value of Proactive Sealant Replacement

Regular inspections and proactive sealant replacement deliver ROI savings on energy costs, prevent extensive damages, and avoid tenant disruptions. The Onslow Memorial Hospital, located in Hurricane Alley, relies on waterproofing in the face of relentless weather to ensure services aren’t interrupted for the patients they care for.

In Valcourt’s webinar “Unlocking Hidden Value: How to Optimize Your Facilities Budget,” Adam Hibshmam of ProXpress shares a real-world example of how passing on a minor painting and sealant can balloon repair costs. In two short years, minor repairs became extensive as the damage permeated the interior, adding another $105,000 to repair costs and nearly doubling the original quote.

The ROI in this case is clear – taking preventative measures such as sealant replacement can save thousands of dollars in potential damages. But it’s not just about the cost savings; it’s also about maintaining a safe and functional space for tenants and employees.

Implementing a Proactive Sealant Replacement Program

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technology Office is trying to match the Romans by developing a self-healing sealant of their own. This innovation has great potential in minimizing costs and extending the life of buildings. However, until this miracle product becomes a reality, implementing a proactive sealant replacement program is your best bet for preserving building integrity.

  1. Routine Inspection Schedule: Establish a regular schedule for sealant inspections, focusing on areas known for water infiltration and environmental wear.
  2. Documentation and Tracking: Record inspection dates, document findings with photos, and actions taken. Thorough documentation ensures consistency, aids in planning future maintenance, and provides a historical record of sealant performance.
  3. Professional Consultation: Engage with building service providers to assess your building’s specific needs, recommend the best sealant options, and ensure proper application for long-lasting protection.

Implementing this program involves periodic maintenance and responding proactively to the earliest signs of wear or damage, such as cracking, discoloration, or detachment from the substrate. By partnering with specialists, you can tailor effective strategies for sealant maintenance, ensuring your building remains secure, functional, and visually appealing.

A Proactive Sealant Strategy for Building Longevity

The longevity and resilience of your building rest significantly on the strategic replacement of sealants. Proactive maintenance curbs potential damage and delivers considerable return on investment, safeguarding your property’s aesthetic and structural integrity.

Enhance your building’s integrity with our Building Facade Assessment Tool, featuring a comprehensive section on joint sealants. This resource allows you to visually identify maintenance needs and provides a detailed report.

Don’t wait for minor concerns to escalate into costly repairs; explore our tool now to prioritize your building’s longevity.