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Bringing a new lease of life to historic buildings

26 February 2016

Historic buildings and structures are often well known for their beautiful designs, intricate sculptures and delicate architecture. Unfortunately over time these can fade away from dust, dirt, debris and general staining. It is important that these properties are well kept so that we can continue to enjoy them for generations to come, but it can be difficult when figuring out how to properly clean a historic building.

Unlike many modern buildings, historic buildings were built using stone and other materials simply found or refined by hand at the time and in today’s day and age, they will not stand the test of time as well as some of our more versatile man-made materials. 

While we could easily re-create the masterpiece using modern technology, it is often the original history that most enthrals us, and without the original architecture there to show our children and grandchildren what has come and been, it can lose its original significance. 

Delicate architecture - chemical cleaners won’t work

Because historical buildings weren’t built using the hardy man made materials we have nowadays, they aren’t as resistant to heavy chemical cleaners. While chemical cleaners are still likely to do the job, they will also take a layer or two off the original artwork or even erode into the stone, sometimes doing more damage than the dirt did in the first place. Obviously this is not an ideal situation, which is why systems such as the DOFF system and the TORC system were created as a better alternative.

The different levels of cleaning

The DOFF system and its counterparts offer three base levels of cleaning, each one designed to tackle different stains and dirt build-up types. 

JOS – A low-pressure vortex process that uses a mixture of air, fine inert powder and small quantities of water. It is often used for the safe removal of carbon, dirt, scale and micro-organisms.

DOFF – The vortex process is combined with heat and pressure in order to cut through and remove unwanted matter without substantially damaging the material beneath. The DOFF system is ideal for removing oil, grease, biological matter, graffiti and vermin staining which can become bonded to the material over time. 

TORC – Aimed at removing the most difficult staining, the TORC system creates a swirling vortex using a combination of low air pressure, some small quantities of water and a safe inert fine granulate. It can be used to effectively remove cement based paints, bitumen and even limescale. 

What else DOFF can be used for?

DOFF, as well as its more aggressive and gentler counterparts, can also be used to remove paintwork off of old buildings, which is suitable for historical buildings that have undergone irresponsible renovation and should be restored properly. Whether you are looking into restoring a historical building to benefit the local community, as a private job or to renovate a run-down property while retaining some of the original architecture, the DOFF cleaning system can remove stains and dirt that otherwise mars the surface of the building.

Article provided by Mike James, on behalf of Sussex-based Cleaning Industrial Solutions