A man cleans a window pane with a rag

Like new even after many years – caring for shelter canopies

Once a month through the car wash – unfortunately that doesn´t work for canopies, bus stops and smoker’s shelters. Nonetheless, regular care also contributes to good looks and maintaining value, and, just as for an automobile, attention must be paid to material sensitivities. Whoever does everything right and does not wait too long with maintenance intervals will enjoy his structure and its accessories for many years. Often, however, only replacement can help against wanton damage.

Durable from the factory

Canopies, waiting rooms and smoker shelters can be made extremely robust and durable. Hot-dip galvanised metal, perfect welds, industrial-quality paintwork and high-quality glass, wood and plastic elements guarantee a long service life. That can even be increased by regular care of the components.

At the time of the inspection, which is best done every spring and autumn, the drainage channels should first be inspected and cleared of moss and dirt. Clogged gutters may direct rainwater uncontrollably to walls or the common area, and this is easily avoided. The same applies to the accessible surfaces of the ceiling elements.

Glass surfaces and ceiling panels should also be cleaned inside and outside at this opportunity. Although the steel frame construction itself keeps out wind and rain permanently, cleaning the surfaces, especially of road salt or chemicals from agriculture, protects them from possible damage. Depending on use frequency, ashtrays should be emptied often and cleaned when necessary.

Easy does it

High-pressure cleaners are practical, but can lead to irreparable damage on paints, glass and wood parts. The same applies to cleaning agents or additives for cleaning. Pure water works, too. In the case of stubborn dirt, relatively neutral cleaning agents or commercially available glass cleaners can be used as support. Contaminations with grease or sealant residue may be removed with commercially available solvents such as methylated spirit or isopropanol.

As a rule, glass cleaning should always be done with plenty of clean water to avoid scrubbing effects caused by dirt particles. As tools of the trade, e.g. soft, clean sponges, leather, cloth rags or rubber scrapers are suitable. The use of sharp metallic objects can damage the surface.

In principle, any aggressive contamination (e.g. concrete and cement slurry, plaster, mortar) should be avoided. If this happens, the soiling must be washed off immediately after it occurs with non-aggressive agents and plenty of clean water without leaving residue.

Chemical cleaning agents such as alkalis, acids or fluoride-containing agents as well as cleaners with abrasive components are taboo. These can sustainably damage the surface of the glass (printed or unprinted). The same applies to many plastics.

If you want to protect wood from wood-destroying organisms and weathering, one cannot avoid regular maintenance coatings. It is best not to wait until the wood surface becomes exposed due to weathering. The suitable maintenance intervals depend on the weathering conditions, the external stress and, in the case of stains, the colour shade used. Bright shades shorten the maintenance interval. Inspections and, if necessary, overhaul coatings are recommended more frequently for stains than for opaque coating.

Possible damage is to be repaired as quickly as possible in order to avoid moisture infiltration and resulting spalling of the coating. Care lotion can be used for this purpose for an initial repair. Even slight surface damage such as cracks is thus protected. The care balsam penetrates the paint and seals it from further water absorption. Just two coats a year can significantly extend the renovation intervals. At the same time the colour effect and the gloss are refreshed again.

A care set of wood cleaner and care balsam performs well. The surfaces should be cleaned with warm, clean water and then with wood cleaner. Then the care balm is spread with a soft and non-fibrous cloth. Then wipe gently with a damp cloth; finished!

What can one do against graffiti?

If someone really wants to destroy something, they will succeed. However, far more common than such extreme damage are graffitos – creative processing of glass, wood and metal surfaces by carving or applying paint. If sharp-edged objects are used for scoring, the damage, depending on the depth, can no longer be compensated – for plastics and glass replacement of the affected parts remains the only alternative.

Under certain circumstances, metal surfaces can be treated with a special “killer gel”, which the German Railways have already successfully used on their trains. Whether the paintwork will withstand the treatment must be found out from the manufacturer.

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