UK Specialists in Tensioned Fabric Structures and Pods Since 2000

Keeping Your Fabric Structure in Good Condition

To keep your TensileFabric canopy in tip top shape, cleaning and maintenance is vital. Therefore, if you would like your tensile structure to remain in the same quality as at installation (thereby extending its lifetime) TensileFabric recommends regular checks of your structure, Cleaning a Fabric Structure examining for any cleaning or maintenance issues in accordance with the operations and maintenance manual that we will issue you with at installation completion.

Maintenance and cleaning frequency depends on a number of different factors, such as the canopy form, its location relative to dirt/debris sources (like trees for exterior canopies and air conditioning ducts for interior canopies) and the amount of other airborne dirt. As a general guideline we recommend that the canopy should be cleaned and maintenance checks conducted annually. Again, this frequency will be suggested in the Operations and Maintenance manual (O & M manual). This manual includes an outline of general and specific maintenance checks and fabric cleaning directions. Once a maintenance check has been completed and it is established that cleaning of a canopy is required the following are general rules of thumb:

Exterior Fabric Structures

Dirt on an Exterior Fabric StructureFor exterior canopies, the general build up of dirt is from dust and airborne pollutants from traffic and building works, as well as falling leaves from trees and shrubs. Dirt on horizontal or flat canopies can be particularly bad where slow water drainage only moves dirt very slowly. On more extreme forms you many find that dirt build up is minimal.

As a general rule, exterior canopies are best cleaned in-situ to reduce wear on tensioning elements and other mechanical fixings. This may mean suitable equipment is required to gain access to the topside of the structure, but on many occasions the fabric itself can be walked upon to allow cleaning. On the occasions where the canopy must be taken down and cleaned away from site, we always recommend you consult with us before removal to make sure any specific sequence of removal is followed.

At the same time as inspecting the fabric, the frame and fixings should also be looked at, checking for any vandalism, excessive fatigue and other exterior damage. Photographing at this stage is always ideal, so that a record is kept of any issues or concerns.

TensileFabric can of course provide you with a cleaning service for either of the options, taking on the whole process as required.

Interior Fabric Structures

For interior canopies the general build up of dirt varies massively depending on its use. Canopies under stairs may be exposed to food and drink spillages, whereas a fabric canopy in a roof space may see a build up of dust on the topside surface along with dead flies and insects. Mechanical equipment such as air con. and air handling units can also move a lot of often dirty air that may find its way onto the fabric. So ultimately the required frequency of cleaning varies.

For interior structures a wide range of fabrics are used depending on the design required. Therefore cleaning procedures vary widely. For example, sunscreen fabrics are generally PVC coated mesh and therefore often require being removed/lowered to be vacuumed, whereas acoustic fabrics may require washing. Therefore the appropriate job-specific method should be discussed with your project manager so that this information is included in the O & M manual issued at the end of the job.

For the frame or fixings, the lack of exterior exposure will mean that all steel and support rigging should be in excellent condition, but a wipe down and inspection of any areas that appear to be at risk of vandalism would be recommended, along with photographing of issues.

Whatever the technique required for the interior or exterior product, we will always provide you with easy instructions to follow in order to keep your tensile structure in tip top condition. However, we are always available for any maintenance advice or assistance, and can of course can carry this work out for you, providing you year-on-year reassurance that your canopy will remain in great condition for the long term. Contact us for more information.