Any owner or prospective buyer of a metal building wants to know about steel building maintenance. When they do, the manufacturer or builder needs to have an answer that puts them at ease. This shouldn’t be a problem since the maintenance is so simple. Metal building maintenance basically comes down to three easy-to-explain steps:
Inspect Your Building Twice a Year
We recommend thoroughly inspecting your building at least twice a year. For example, conduct an inspection in April or May to make sure the building has withstood the test of winter. And then, conduct the next inspection sometime in September or October to observe the building’s condition prior to the next round of winter weather.
It goes without saying that record keeping is critical. Mark the inspection date and its results. Make note of any visible problems and the nature of repairs needed. Be sure to take plenty of photos for “before” and “after” documentation.
Once repairs have been completed, file or digitally scan all receipts, warranties, and documentation. Keep the contact information of any contractor used in case questions arise later about the work they did. It’s good to maintain all of this information in one organized records system (hardcopy or electronic) in the event it’s ever needed for an insurance claim or safety inspection.
Promptly Address Necessary Repairs
Repair even the smallest identified issues in a timely manner before they become bigger problems.
Prime and paint scratched steel panels to prevent corrosion. And then be sure to remove tree branches or anything adjacent to the building potentially causing the scratching.
Seal any envelope hole regardless of whether the building is clad in steel panels, an exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), wood, brick, or any other material. Even the smallest penetration can compromise the building’s water tightness and thermal performance. Immediate repairs are critical.
Water – regardless of whether it’s in the form of rain, snow, ice, or even condensation – is an ominous threat to any building type – not just metal buildings. It’s important to keep moisture from the walls and ceiling. Long term unaddressed moisture can cause bigger problems like mold and bacteria growth, foundation deterioration, weakened/warped building materials, and corrosion.
Protect Your Steel Building Against Rain, Snow & Ice Damage
The best way to protect against rain penetration is to get into the habit of inspecting for interior leaks after heavy rains. If any leaks are found, track them down and do what you can to seal the exterior source. Be sure to also push out any moisture that has already gotten into walls or ceilings.
To help prevent leaks and foundation damage, be sure to eliminate any spot around the building where water can potentially pool. This may involve installing a drainage system, enhancing a gutter system to safeguard the walls from roof runoff, and other methods or redirecting precipitation away from the building. In situations where groundwater is permeating into the building’s foundation, permeable paving can be used to eliminate puddles adjacent to the building.
In winter months, it’s important to prevent any excessive rooftop snow accumulation since the snow’s weight can cause metal panels to bend.
Clean/Wash The Building
Once you’re successfully keeping moisture out of the building envelope, a yearly cleaning is recommended. The removal of any built-up dirt, soot, or organic matter will preserve the building’s appearance, prevent blemishes or stains on the cladding, and stop the growth of any fungus or undesirable microbes.
The best way to go about washing the building is to use mild laundry detergent diluted with warm water that’s applied with a low-pressure power wash or by hand with a soft-bristled brush. The use of diluted bleach is also acceptable to stop fungal growth.
Just be sure the cleansing solution is first tested on a hidden or inconspicuous section of the building to confirm compatibility with surface materials.
These three easy metal building maintenance steps will keep your building durable and looking attractive for years to come.