How to Maintain Your Fabric Structure Part 1 - Cleaning

Sue Uhler on Aug 24, 2016 8:00:00 AM

A Shelter-Rite Architectural Fabrics Pre-Engineered Frame StructureMaintenance of your architectural fabric structure is a crucial aspect of maximizing its lifespan and performance. There is one important distinction between structure types and the required maintenance; frame, tension, and air supported structures generally have specific maintenance requirements set forth by the manufacturer.

Be sure to follow the maintenance requirements as outlined by the architectural structure supplier. Some of these requirements may include daily, monthly, or yearly inspections, cleaning frequency, repair, and what to do in case the structure is jeopardized. Below, we’ll take a deeper dive into how to go about cleaning your fabric structure.

Preparation

Cleaning your architectural fabric structure is more than just a simple power wash. The first thing you’ll need to do is gather the appropriate materials as specified by your fabric manufacturer. These may include:

  • Source of water
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Hose
  • Bleach, as needed
  • Commercial Cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Low pressure power sprayer, as needed
  • Soft, dry cloth

You do not want to use a high powered sprayer when cleaning your architectural fabric as it may peel the coating from the scrim, compromising the overall integrity of the material.

Test Site

Testing your materials on a small section of your architectural fabric is the last step of the preparation process. Find an unnoticeable area of your fabric to test and apply the cleaning solution with a sponge. The cleaner should be mixed per the manufacturer’s instructions. If there are signs of degradation as a result of the cleaner, stop immediately and seek an alternative. If there are no signs of degradation, you can move on to the full blown application process.

Application

Start at the bottom your fabric structure and then work your way up, adding ample pressure along the way and rinsing when necessary. The cleaner should never dry on the surface. Remember, use a low pressure sprayer or water hose. The nozzle should be 10 feet away from the surface at about a 45 degree angle. Abrasive materials and pads should be avoided as they may mark or scratch the surface,  negatively affecting the overall aesthetics of your fabric structure.

Warnings and Precautions

You should follow all precautions when using cleaning materials and avoid breathing harmful fumes. Don’t forget to obtain and read the proper MSDS prior to starting the cleaning process.

If the structure’s outer skin becomes jeopardized, you may want to consider evaluating the fabric to determine structural integrity. A trained professional may take a sample from the structure so that the area can be repaired immediately. Most architectural fabric structure companies can provide this service in addition to the analysis.

What other steps do you take in order to properly clean your fabric structure? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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