or plastic cladding - making it ideal for refurbishment projects. It is available in a huge range of colours which give architects free reign to explore their design ideas, but more importantly, it creates the sort of building façade finish that will significantly reduce maintenance and cleaning requirements in the future.

Turning over a new leaf Using techniques found in the natural world for influencing the advances in exterior finishes is not unusual, and another natural effect has been replicated to create an advanced and highly effective water and dirt- repellent render paint. This has a special formulation that recreates the surface found on the leaf of the Lotus plant, which is designed to prevent particles of dirt and debris clinging to it.

By creating a similar surface texture on the exterior of the building, the paint encourages any rain which falls on it to run off in large droplets. As it does so, it takes the loose dirt particles with it, meaning that the surface is effectively washed clean every time it rains. The advantages from a maintenance perspective are obvious, with the self-cleaning action making the surface far less susceptible to marking and staining over time, and the building itself will remain clean and attractive far longer than a conventional finish would have allowed. Ideal for use with newly-applied render, this paint is also equally well suited to existing renders, so it should be given serious consideration the next time a building façade is being refurbished.

A dark solution Building façades are naturally designed by architects and building designers, who are understandably keen to achieve a particular visual impact. This can often lead to insulated façade designs, with an external render, which is then covered with a dramatic, dark coloured paint. Although the result might look impressive, paints with dark, intense colours can cause significant problems from a maintenance perspective.

“Although the result might look impressive, paints with dark, intense

colours can cause significant problems from a maintenance perspective.”

A dark colour render will absorb solar heat, with the darkest of them sometimes reaching temperatures of up to 80°C. This causes the building façade to overheat, resulting in expansion and dimensional instability in the render. The cracking which then occurs in the render becomes a problem which the maintenance team often need to deal with immediately, if they are to prevent water ingress or even damage to some forms of insulation. Fortunately, there is a modern façade paint which can help the maintenance team by eliminating this problem.

This type of matt-finish façade paint uses special NIR (Near Infra-Red) pigments that are highly efficient in reflecting the solar energy which they are subjected to. The outer surface of the render remains cool, with the paint keeping temperature peaks caused by solar radiation below 70°C, thus protecting both the render itself and the insulation material which is underneath. This effectively removes all the thermal limits which have previously inhibited the use of dark coloured renders for buildings. Even black finishes are possible with this type of paint, all of which not only keeps the architect happy but also makes life far easier for the building maintenance manager. The freedom to apply this type of paint by roller, brush or an airless spray device means that it can be used on any façade design, no matter how complex the surfaces may be.

Packaged protection Render and paint manufacturers have also responded to a growing demand from FMs for a proven, comprehensive and cost-effective way to restore their buildings. They do this by providing a package of product solutions that can cover many different aspects of the maintenance and refurbishment process, ranging from the repair of surface cracks, through to restoring the appearance and protecting the façade against the effects of heat, cold, wind and wet weather. A nationwide network of authorised applicators, who are experienced in delivering outstanding results for all types of façade refurbishment projects, are also available to support the restoration of building facades with existing external wall insulation or render.

So next time a building façade is due for a refurbishment, it’s well worth paying extremely close attention to the available façade finish options. Making the correct decisions at this stage can have a major impact and help extend future maintenance intervals significantly. TOMORROW’S FM | 63

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