Paint removal from stone or brick façades can be a difficult process. Cracked, fading, and damaged paintwork on the exterior of a building creates more than just a problem with its image. Layers of paint can prevent bricks from being able to ‘breathe’. This encourages the onset of damp, erosion, and cracks in the building fabric. Combining this problem with years of pollution, dust, dirt, and weathering it can cause serious problems for buildings, especially historic ones.

The task is made more difficult because many buildings will have changed in style or function over the years. Alternations may have involved different building materials and techniques.

Most historic buildings will have been constructed using materials such as brick, stone, or terracotta. Each building is unique and old paint removal from them requires skill and attention to detail – otherwise, it can result in additional damage and an increase in expense due to repairs. Seeking specialist help means that you can be sure that the ideal and most sensitive methods will be used for removing the paint.

What methods are available? 

Steam cleaning is by far the most popular method. It can make a dramatic impact quite quickly. At our project, The Great Central Station in Leicester, steam cleaning revealed wonderful terracotta and brickwork hidden under decades of dirt, grime, and paint. Sandblasting and aggregate cleaning can be used for more stubborn paint removal or staining but only on certain materials or else it could result in damage.

Person in high vis with a helmet on applying a thick white solution to an old brick facade

Specialist solvents may be needed on areas covered with thick layers of paint. Usually, these are manually agitated into the building fabric for the best results. These must be applied extremely carefully and match the type of paint. Any residue needs to be removed afterwards to ensure that no moisture or chemicals remain on the building fabric. We always recommend you test any chemical solutions beforehand on a smaller section of the wall to ensure the correct solution is applied.

Any paint removal that involves chemicals may cause health risks and create hazardous waste. So, it is always important to ensure that there is a plan in place to remove any hazardous waste material safely and efficiently.

Pre-project considerations

Pre-project testing is the ideal way of ensuring that the best method is chosen for a building. Undertaking such tests means that the effect of the chosen cleaning method can be immediately assessed. You can also begin see what the façade will look like when the work is complete. If your building is older too, there is a chance that the paint could contain lead, which would need to be tested to ensure the correct health and safety measures are applied to its removal.

Bear in mind that if a listed building is involved, you will need to seek advice from a conservation officer at your local council before any work can take place. Historic buildings are subject to Listed Building Consent regulations. All work undertaken to the building fabric – including façade cleaning – must meet those regulations. 

Old brick and stone facade with different looking patches across, some cleaner than others

Summary

While cleaning and removing damaged and unsightly paint is essential, the aim always must be achieving minimal damage. Taking a conservation driven approach to cleaning paint from exterior facades ensures that the building’s integrity is maintained for the future.  

At Building Transformation, we take a proactive approach to all our paint removal projects. We will undertake a visual inspection with you and carry out test trials to help you achieve your desired outcome.



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Testimonials

Building Transformation’s unquestionable honesty and enthusiasm for ensuring the client receives the correct whole-life solution (rather than a quick fix) resulted in us being able to ensure the building was not only returned to its former glory, but will stay that way for years to come. I would recommend them to anyone.

Kenny Gash - Carillion Amey

The work provided by Building Transformation was excellent. Their product and building exteriors knowledge is detailed, comprehensive and practically applied to the client’s needs. They offer a professional, detailed, high-quality and customer- focused service which meets the short, medium and long-term needs of the client, and provides practical, cost-realistic advice.

Kerry Quinn - Echo Arena

Customer service is paramount to Building Transformation and they invested vast amounts of time in providing me with a programme to facilitate what was a very complex and time-specific programme of work for the site. The quality and level of support provided by Building Transformation is priceless to any client/contractor.

Marc Blow MCIOB MBIFM - Carillion Amey

The approach and advice on setting up the works at the Wolverhampton Civic Centre were first-class. Building Transformation’s attention to detail was excellent and the RAMS were followed meticulously to every detail. We were delighted with the works and service, and would not hesitate to use them again, nor hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.

Kevin Egginton - Wolverhampton Council

A 200,000 sq. ft., four-storey leisure venue in the heart of Nottingham city centre surrounded by major traffic routes needed work to be done overnight to deal with the traffic issues, while the site remained open throughout. The project took around three weeks to complete and went exceptionally well; the Building Transformation staff were flexible and able to work round dynamic operational issues. The clean was of a high standard and has made a significant different to the image of the building. A very difficult job done well.

Suzanne Green - Land Securities

May & Co have worked with Building Transformation on a number of projects which have included external building cleaning and refurbishment. They provided a great service, supported by the high level of documentation from the initial quotation to books and industry-related guidance, all relevant to our project.

Anton Theobald - May & Co

I am very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. Also the level of cleaning provided and attention to detail is much appreciated.

Waqas Bin Tahir - Ibis Southampton

I am using Building Transformation’s work to help justify façade restoration works around our business.  They have produced excellent presentations on what can be achieved and is a brilliant piece of informed marketing that is helping slowly win people over in our business to take façade cleaning and restoration more seriously.

Needless to say Building Transformation is a name that is now becoming known and respected.

Simon Attwood - Broadgate Estates Ltd.

Building Transformation gave great communication throughout our projects.
It will be my pleasure to recommend Building Transformation.

Sarah Cameron - My Hotels Group

Just signed off the job with Richard. Myself, the bosses and the tenant all are very pleased with the work. It definitely looks rejuvenated just a case of painting the concrete window surrounds in the new year to finish it off. Have found your company and staff very professional and helpful which has facilitated a project with minimal inconvenience and disruption to our in situ tenants.

Mark Hollinshead - Headruddy Property Development

I had a walk around today with Dave and am impressed with the work so far.  Dave and the team have done a great job.

I’d certainly love to work with you in the future so perhaps before the job is completed we could look at what opportunities there are for the future.

Marie Green - Novotel Sheffield

At this stage, from my point of view your team has been extremely professional, informing us of what was happening at all times and most importantly no disruption whatsoever to our guests and business.

Ludovic Verzi - Novotel Leeds

We are very satisfied in the manner the job was conducted. The operatives on site were very professional and communicated to us at all times.

Maria Pinana Mateu - Science Museum

The team at Building Transformation understood our challenge of finding a facade cleaning solution that would initially restore the glazing to its original state, protecting our building for years to come. Through intelligent and thorough testing right through to the full restoration of Block D, we have been very satisfied with the project management and delivery of the cleaning programme.

Colin Pilkington - Renaker Build Limited

Thank you for all the work that you carried out in cleaning the outside of our school.  We are delighted with the results.  You have managed to completely remove heavy staining from many areas around the building.

We found you extremely easy to work with: your quote was reasonable, you carried out the work quickly and you were very flexible in terms of timings.

Tamsin Griffith - Courtney Road Primary School, Bristol

have worked with Building Transformation on several projects within the hospitality industry and have found
them to provide high levels of professionalism and workmanship.

Stephanie LE COUTEUR - ARTELIA UK

e will definitely be working with you again! Your engineers were very polite and accommodating every time they visited site and have done a first class job. I will be recommending Building Transformation to everyone!

Mark Healy - One Facility

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