Steel Building Tips for Safe Cleaning

When our family quickly began outgrowing our home, my husband and I couldn't decide whether to add onto our current home or move into a larger one. One day, when we were checking the local area looking for "home for sale" signs, we saw a sign we couldn't take our eyes off -- there was a large plot of land for sale for a great price in a great location. We had never thought of building our own home before, but after a little research, we realized that it wasn't as costly as we thought, especially considering the great deal we got on the land. The entire process was a learning experience, but thankfully, the building team was very pleasant and helpful. We now love our new home, and I am excited to share our experience on our new blog. I also plan to post many planning and construction tips!

Steel Building Tips for Safe Cleaning

7 March 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


A pre-engineered steel building placed on your commercial property is a good choice if you need to store merchandise, vehicles, or construction equipment. These buildings have a wide variety of benefits. They can be erected in days if the building is small enough, and the construction costs an average of $12 to $18 per square foot. This cost is compared to $20 to $40 per square foot if a stud or post framed building is constructed. Steel is an environmentally responsible material as well, and steel buildings often come with a 25 year warranty. While these benefits are likely to convince you that steel is a good choice, you should understand that your building will need to be maintained properly to ensure longevity. Keep reading to learn about a few tips that will help you with cleaning

Pressure Wash

Steel is often considered one of the strongest and most durable building materials, especially when galvanized metal is utilized. The base steel is covered with molten zinc and then a primer and paint is added over this coating. In many cases, these coverings are constructed out of materials like silicon, aluminum, and zinc. The thick and strong coatings are meant to keep the steel from becoming exposed. However, the paint can deteriorate eventually if debris are left on the surface of your building for an extended period of time. Once the paint deteriorates, the zinc becomes exposed and it can deteriorate as well. This can leave the steel open to oxidation and corrosion from water, salt, and chemical substances that come into contact with it.

To reduce deterioration concerns, make sure to wash your steel building whenever it becomes noticeably dirty. If you are unsure if a good cleaning is needed, then rub your fingers down the edge of the steel. If you see finger marks on the metal or a buildup of dust on your hand, then it is time to pressure wash the building. Purchase or rent a pressure washer that releases low pressure between about 1300 and 1900 PSI. This is best for cleaning purposes. While steel is strong enough to retain pressure that is much higher than this, you may actually strip the coating off your building if you go for a heavy duty or commercial washer.

Place a wide 40 degree nozzle on the sprayer to limit the forcefulness of the water and keep the wand moving when you turn the washer on. This will help to release dirt and also minimize damage issues. 

Use the Right Detergent

It is wise to use a gentle detergent like dishwashing liquid or car wash cleaner to clean the surface of your steel building when you utilize your pressure washer. While the detergent will remove most dirt and debris, you may notice some stains appearing on the paint of the building. You can and should remove stains to retain the appearance of the building and to also stop deterioration issues. However, you will need to choose strong cleaning agents carefully so they are safe for the coating on the surface of the building. Moderately strong solvents can be used to clear away grease, salt, and sealant stains. These types of solvents include mineral spirits and Stoddard solvent. If you decide to use one of these, then place a small amount of the solvent on a clean cotton rag and wipe the stained area of the steel. Afterwards, use soap and water to clean away leftover solvent.

Grease and other stains can be removed with trisodium phosphate, as well. To make sure this alkaline material is not too strong for the coating of your steel building, read the directions on the packaging and use twice as much water than is called for. This will help to reduce the strength of the cleaning agent. Rinse the building well after using the material.

If you're interested in a pre-engineerd metal building, contact a representative from a company like Commercial Industries Company Inc. and then follow these tips to keep the building clean.