Wahlen Works Blog

milwaukee discovery center

The Medical College of Wisconsin was founded more than 125 years ago in 1893 as the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons and then, in 1913, the Marquette University School of Medicine. It officially became the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1970. One year later, in 1971, the Wahlen Corp was formed by Ted Wahlen. 

In the years since, we have become the caretakers of some of Milwaukee’s most historic and distinctive properties, earning the trust of facility managers, property managers, and general contractors throughout Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin.

In addition to MCW, here are some of the Milwaukee landmarks we are proud to service and maintain.

The Milwaukee Art Museum. Art got its start in Milwaukee in 1888 with Frederick Layton’s Cathedral Square art gallery. In that same year the Milwaukee Art Association was established. Milwaukee’s art collections and display facilities grew over the years and the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrated its centennial in 1988. 

In 2001, the Quadracci Pavilion opened, with its movable wing-like brise soleil becoming an instant Milwaukee icon. We are honored to be responsible for the care and maintenance of their stunning underground parking facility — one that has inspired a Porsche commercial, and is the first impression most visitors have of the museum.

Discovery World. Discovery World started out in a basement, moved to the Milwaukee Public Library, then shared space with the Milwaukee Public Museum before moving in 2006 to its permanent home on the shore of Lake Michigan near the location of the very first Milwaukee cargo pier. It’s our job to keep the decks and parking areas of this beautiful facility in pristine condition.

Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital. Wisconsin historical marker #186 is located on the grounds of historic Saint Mary’s Hospital and marks the location of the Saint Mary’s School of Nursing, founded in 1894. Saint Mary’s opened in 1848 at Jackson and Wells streets. It’s sister hospital, the non-sectarian Columbia Hospital, began operations in 1909, also in downtown. In 1995, the two hospitals merged and Columbia St. Mary’s was formed. Their new $417 million-dollar state-of-the-art facility opened in 2010. We ensure that it’s exterior and parking areas are clean and safe for patients and visitors.

The ASQ Building. You wouldn’t believe it to look at it now but the ASQ center was once a Gimbels department store, and later a Marshall Fields. Built in the 1880s, it was designed after the Selfridge Store in London, but had deteriorated significantly before its renovation in 2001. Today the beautiful structure is in the National Registry of Historic Buildings and stands proudly in the heart of downtown Milwaukee as a successful, 195,000 sq. ft. office building.

Northwestern Mutual. Northwestern Mutual has called Milwaukee home for 160 years. It was born on March 2, 1857 as the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin. By 1865 it had expanded into other parts of what is now the midwest and changed its name to the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. 

In 2019 it was ranked #111 in the Fortune 500 for revenue. The insurance behemoth now occupies the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons in Milwaukee and an 84-acre campus in Franklin; and owns the 7Seventy7 apartment tower on 777 North Van Buren Street. The Franklin location includes two parking ramps, one four-level and the second a six-level, 1,625-stall structure. We have been entrusted with the maintenance of both of those facilities and the external garage at 7Seventy7.

The Garages of The Third Ward. The Historic Third Ward District is called that because 70 buildings in its 10 square blocks are on the National Register of Historic Places. They were built in a 36-year span after a fire destroyed 440 buildings in 1892. Today the Third Ward is a must-see for visitors to Milwaukee. “Its district of well preserved, large historic buildings, festival grounds, art galleries, theatre groups, eating and drinking establishments, and special events make it a unique attraction in the Milwaukee metro area.” We are as proud of the Third Ward as we are to maintain the vast majority of the garages in the district.  

The work we do each day takes us to some of the most recognized and iconic locations in Milwaukee. We do our part to maintain Milwaukee’s historic properties and we feel privileged to do so. It’s what it means to be Milwaukee trusted.

concrete floor finish

When you think about your dream garage, what do you imagine? A high-top bar in front of a wide screen and next to a beer fridge? Your vintage red Porsche parked on a showroom quality surface? A pristine floor underneath the wheels of your immaculate Harley?

The cure for garage envy starts with the floor. While your dream garage may eventually need insulation, climate control, and the best in high tech; without stunning, showroom-quality flooring nothing else matters.

But it’s not just about looks. Garage floors take a pounding and have to hold up under the heavy demands of everyday use. You want a floor that is impervious to stains and spills from oil, gas, and other car fluids. With the Wahlen Works PolyCoat system, you can have both function and form; rugged durability and limitless chip, color, and top coat options. 

Concrete Floor Finish Process

The most important contributing factor to the success of a concrete floor finishing project is the preparation work. Our meticulous process ensures that you will enjoy your dream garage for years to come and we offer a lifetime warranty to back that up. Our 5-step process includes:

  • The initial inspection and project site assessment
  • Determining the products to be used and the color choices
  • Preparing the surface so that it is clean, sound, and dry
  • Patching and priming
  • Product and system installation

Assess

Most of the garage surfaces we see are deteriorating and have spalling and chipping.

Our process starts with the initial site visit where we assess the condition of the concrete and work with our customer to determine the desired end result. We check to see if the concrete is coated or uncoated and if the substrate is degraded. We measure contamination levels of grease, oil, and chemicals and we document all cracks and defects. Then we test the concrete to determine the moisture level because that determines which materials we will use. If the concrete has excess moisture we use a base coat that has a vapor barrier built into it. 

Color Options

From there we present an almost limitless number of color options, and we bring samples of the most popular ones so that the homeowner can get a first-hand idea of how the finished floor will look. Designer colors offer the ultimate “wow” and can achieve the look of granite, marble, or terrazzo if that’s what is desired. When we come back to do the installation, we are ready to go and can complete the project in one day. 

Installation

On installation day, we start by grinding off the top layer of the concrete. We have a walk-behind planetary concrete grinder which is ideal for smoothing a garage floor and opening up the concrete at the beginning of the installation. In order to prepare the surface properly we generally remove 150-200 lbs of concrete from a standard 2-car garage. 

Next, we use a repairing compound to fill in areas that have chipped or spalled and make the entire surface smooth and even. Then we put the base coat down, followed by the vinyl flake color which the homeowner has previously selected. After it cures for a few hours, we put the top coat down. 

The differentiator in our service is thorough preparation. Every step in our process is important and we don’t skip any or cut corners. There are several reasons that concrete coating systems fail: poor preparation of the surface, the amount of moisture not accounted for, and low quality coating products. Our process ensures that none of this will happen to you. 

Polyurea vs. Epoxy

Not all products for upgrading your garage floor are created equal. Our PolyCoat concrete coating system uses polyurea rather than epoxy. It is the best choice for your garage floor — hands down. Frankly, the two products are not even close in terms of quality, appearance and longevity. 

Polyurea is a two-compound, 98% solids basecoat. It is 20x stronger than epoxy and has 98% percent flexibility compared to 2% for epoxy. The higher solid content increases the long-term durability of the floor coating. The flexibility allows it to expand and contract where epoxy will crack and chip. Polyurea is UV stable so won’t discolor with sun. It can be used outdoors and epoxy can’t. 

The main advantage, and the thing that sets the polyurea concrete finish system apart from all others, is that it’s a one-day install. You leave for work and when you get home, we’re done. Epoxy garage flooring requires four to seven days to complete, during which time your garage is unusable.

The cost of using epoxy is less upfront, but when your epoxy floor starts to look worn again in a few years, the disappointment will set in. You want your stunning new floor look to last for years. Isn’t it better to spend a little more and know that you’re getting the best product and expert installation? 

Benefits of a Premium Garage Floor Finish

In addition to the superiority of the product, there are a number of additional benefits of our PolyCoat system.

After installation, you can begin enjoying your new garage immediately.  By the end of the day, you can walk on it and, after 24 hours, it’s ready for vehicles. After-care instructions for some floor coating installations read like a complicated user manual — do this for 12-24 hours, then do this for 1-2 days, and finally do this for 3-7 days. With our floor system, you won’t need to download a pages-long care guide to avoid damaging your new floor. 

Furthermore, maintenance is a breeze. The product is resistant to oil, gas, coolant, salt, abrasion, and impact. It maintains its high glossy finish and can be easily cleaned with water and a sponge. The finish also protects your floor from Wisconsin’s freeze-thaw cycle and winter deicing chemicals. 

Most importantly however, a PolyCoat concrete floor finish adds to the value of your home at the same time it adds to the beauty of your garage. The modern look of a high-quality floor coating is certainly a nicer look than damaged concrete and it will make your garage and entire home stand out to prospective buyers. 

Why Wahlen Works?

We know concrete.

Our track record as a company testifies to the truth of that statement. Other companies can offer lifetime warranties but they may not be in business long enough to make good on their promise. We have been a trusted service provider in Milwaukee since 1971 — almost 50 years.  We are going to be here from the moment you make your first call until the moment you sell your house. 

Additionally, you can count on your new PolyCoat garage floor to last at least 25 years. We offer a lifetime warranty and if you sell your house within the first year after coating, we will transfer the warranty to the new owners. 

Let luxury be the first experience you have when you come home at the end of the day. A high performance PolyCoat concrete floor finish gives you the dream garage you’ve always wanted. Our product and process give you beautiful finishes and durable, long-lasting performance. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

parking lot striping

You know your parking lot striping needs to be repainted when drivers aren’t able to see the stripes, lettering, and pavement symbols clearly enough to maneuver safely. 

A good rule of thumb is that a parking lot needs to be re-striped every one to two years. If your pavement marking is just starting to fade, you might be tempted to wait another year to re-stripe, but there are good reasons not to put it off. In fact, the two most important reasons for freshly painted parking lot striping are accident prevention and ADA compliance.

“On average, more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages annually, resulting in 500 or more deaths and more than 60,000 injuries.” In addition to distractions and lack of attention, “inadequate pavement striping, potholes or cracks, lack of signage, debris, poor lighting, puddles, and snow and ice also can lead to pedestrian injuries.”

In addition to the importance of providing safe parking areas, it’s a requirement that they be accessible by persons with disabilities. In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed and additional requirements for parking areas were added in 2010. They regulate features such as minimum number of accessible parking spaces, their location, and required signage and pavement markings.

Parking Lot Striping Q & A

Why would I need to re-stripe as often as every year? How often you need to re-stripe depends on the volume and type of traffic you get. If your parking facility is exposed to the elements and busy year-round, your parking lot striping will fade quickly. The markings on a less trafficked site, such as a school or community center, will stay bright and readable longer. The problem we often see is when facility managers decide to make their pavement markings wait another year. If a heavy rainfall prevents drivers from seeing your parking lines, you’ve waited too long to re-stripe.

How do I know if my parking facility complies with the ADA? The U.S. Department of Justice has an excellent ADA compliance brief on their website. We recommend reading it so that you’re familiar with the guidelines. Other than that you don’t need to be concerned when you hire Wahlen Works. We’re thoroughly conversant with the ADA requirements for striping, marking, and signage.

How do I maximize the safety of my parking lot? Road surface markings convey information to both pedestrians and motorists. They show pedestrians where they can walk safely and direct vehicles to where they may drive and park. Properly placed arrows, crosswalks, symbols, and signage clearly define who belongs where and who must yield to whom. It’s important to provide enough spatial margin so that 21st century distractions don’t turn into tragedy. If a driver is looking at his phone, misses a stop sign, and hits the brakes late, a little extra room can make all the difference.

What else do I need to know? It’s important to pay attention to raised embankments and changes in elevation. Painting them a contrasting color alerts pedestrians that they need to take a step up or a step down, reducing a common cause of falls. 

Re-striping is a necessary part of parking lot maintenance. Vivid color contrasts and uninterrupted traffic flows direct visitor movement correctly and safely. Wahlen Works offers professional parking lot striping, pavement marking, and signage services for newly paved lots and lots that need to be re-striped. Call us today for a quote.

concrete penetrating sealer

To describe something as “weathered” is to say that it has been worn by time and exposure to the elements. A weathered house. A weathered face. Weathered concrete. Over time, everything deteriorates. You can’t completely prevent the “weathering” of your concrete, but you can slow it down significantly with a penetrating sealer.

Our 100%-solids silane sealer is a premium grade, clear, penetrating, waterproofing treatment. Silane is a combination of hydrogen and silicon and it doesn’t form a coating on the surface of the concrete like acrylics and epoxies do. 

Silanes have a very small molecular structure. The small molecular size of the product enables it to penetrate deeply into the pores of the concrete but does not change the appearance or vapor permeable (breathable) nature of treated surfaces. The higher solids (100%) of our sealer compensate for its small molecular structure and low viscosity.

Silane sealer forms membranes within the surface and penetrates deeply into the concrete. This is why it does such a good job protecting the reinforcing steel. Silanes are also water-repellent and hydrophobic (having little or no affinity for water). They protect against freeze thaw damage and efflorescence. Efflorescence is the crystalline deposit of salts that form from water consisting of salt deposits left behind when the water evaporates.

The primary deteriorating agents for concrete are weather, traffic, and chemicals. A penetrating sealer is the best choice to protect concrete from chemical corrosion and freeze-thaw damage in parking garages, bridge decks, and other surfaces which are subject to extreme exposure. Our silane sealer causes concrete to become permanently repellent to water, salt, and waterborne chemicals without losing its breathability.

“Corrosion-related damage to reinforced concrete is the result of rust, a product of the corrosion process of steel, which expands and thus requires more space in the concrete than the steel did at the time of installation. This change in volume of the steel results in expansive forces, which cause cracking and spalling of the adjacent concrete. Other signs of corrosion of embedded steel include delamination of the concrete (planar separations parallel to the surface) and rust staining (often a precursor to spalling) on the concrete near the steel.”

A penetrating sealer prevents spalling, cracking, and staining longer than other concrete sealing treatments. By sealing your concrete, you’ll be spending a little now to save a lot later. It is one of the most cost-effective forms of preventative maintenance you can undertake. We have more than 40 years of experience maintaining parking facilities in Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin We offer a 5-year warranty on our concrete sealing services so you can have confidence that your property will be protected.

properly sealed concrete

In an obscure court case over an alleged breach of lease in St. Louis, the judge ruled, “to the extent defendants based their breach of lease claim on central parking’s alleged obligation to repair deterioration…to the garage’s concrete surface before the end of the lease term, the court finds in favor of defendants”. 

Further down the page, discussing a different example of deterioration, one engineer said, “It’s a classic case of garage neglect, where the operator has failed to protect the decks with a sealer or coating and has allowed water to infiltrate the deck, rusting the rebar mats and (probably) the post-tensioned cables. The rust on the bottom mat steel has resulted in spalling concrete and general degradation, resulting in loss of deck strength and homogeneity.”

If you own a parking garage, preventative maintenance can save a small fortune. 

One form of preventative maintenance is concrete sealing and it’s one of the best returns on investment you’ll find. Last month on this blog we wrote about chloride contamination in concrete and this month we’ll address preventing that contamination and deterioration with concrete sealing.

To prevent degradation in your concrete, you need to prevent water, salt, and waterborne chemicals from penetrating its surface. A high-quality, professional sealant blocks the pores of the concrete, preventing these damage-causing elements from working their way under the surface and attacking the rebar. 

Our silane sealer is 100% solids, compared to the sealers you can buy in most home improvement stores which are about 40% solids. It’s been tested by time, having been in use now for 40 years. The small molecular size of the product enables silane to penetrate deeply into the pores of substrates but does not change the appearance or vapor permeability of treated surfaces. 

In addition to parking structures, this silane sealer can be used to protect buildings, roads, balconies, plazas, and vertical surfaces. It’s approved by the USDOT for sealing bridge decks. It is quite simply, the best product you can use to protect your property. Our sealer forms a permanent chemical bond, stops freeze-thaw damage and spalling, is not susceptible to ultraviolet or chemical degradation, and is cost-effective.

Don’t neglect the preventative maintenance of your garage. A comparatively small investment now could save tens of thousands of dollars or more down the road. Our concrete sealing service also comes with a 5-year warranty, giving you confidence in the wisdom of your investment.

chloride contamination

We talk about chloride contamination frequently because of the damage it can do to concrete that isn’t properly maintained. 

Chloride contamination comes from rock salt, the primary deicing agent used in Wisconsin. Rock salt is the mineral formed from sodium chloride. WisDOT uses an average of 526,000 tons of rock salt statewide each season. Other chloride-based deicers used less frequently are calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. All chloride deicers will initiate corrosion of the steel reinforcement if they penetrate the concrete.

Implications for Parking Garages

A major contributor to parking garage deterioration is corrosion of embedded steel. The corrosion problem is not new, but awareness of the problem has been getting more attention in recent years. 

As steel corrodes it expands, causing fragments of concrete to chip away, which exposes steel further, leading to even more damage. In addition, the rebar becomes more easily breakable, which in turn reduces the garage’s structural capacity. Unfortunately, by the time the damage is discovered, the corrosion of the steel is usually quite advanced. 

To put it more scientifically, “There are two consequences of the corrosion of steel. First the products of corrosion occupy a volume several times larger than the original steel so that their formation results in cracking…This makes it easier for aggressive agents to ingress towards the steel, with a consequent increase in the rate of corrosion. Second, the progress of corrosion…reduces the cross-sectional area of the steel, thus reducing its load-carrying capacity.”

Reducing Chloride Contamination

There are a number of ways to lessen concrete deterioration due to chloride contamination and reduce its influence on the service life of your facility. Some, such as adding corrosion inhibiting compounds, need to be implemented during construction. For an existing structure, protection is your best option. 

In a 2018 paper published by engineers at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville, the authors recommend the use of a penetrating solution as one option. They say, “Another method to protect concrete from deicing/anti-icing chemicals is the application of topical treatments such as penetrating sealers. Penetrating sealers can seal the concrete, hence reduce the ingress of water and chemicals.”

In the spring, when the ice and snow have melted, many property owners will be greeted by the sight of blemished concrete where the surface has flaked off. As bad as that is, the unseen damage to the steel reinforcement has also likely begun and may not be noticed until it’s become expensive to repair. Before that happens, consider applying a waterproof barrier to your concrete structure.

parking garage maintenance

We’ve worked in a lot of parking structures during our 49 years in business, some as small as 5,000 sq ft and others larger than 1M sq ft. Whether yours is a parking garage, a parking ramp, or a parking lot; it is a significant part of your real estate portfolio and requires both routine and preventative maintenance to maintain its value.

As an owner or manager of a parking structure, you’re well acquainted with the damage that naturally occurs over time. Potholes, cracks in the concrete, and corrosion are bound to appear: but their presence can be minimized, and sometimes almost eliminated, with regularly scheduled maintenance.

Your parking structure is the workhorse of your business and often the first point of welcome for you customers. It experiences direct exposure to vehicle traffic, weather, chemicals, and grease on a daily basis. It only takes a few missed deep-cleans for minor deterioration to start. These can turn into problems beneath the surface of the concrete before you know it.

An effective maintenance plan should include all the periodic tasks that are required for smooth day-to-day operation, as well as the tasks performed to avoid future repairs and protect the owner’s investment.

Sweeping and Washing

Your garage needs frequent sweeping — at least monthly — and quarterly pressure washing to remove sand, dirt, and other substances that wear down its concrete surface. Because of human nature, a clean garage is more likely to stay that way because people are less likely to litter in a well-maintained environment. In addition to extending the life of the facility, a clean, well-kept garage is inviting and gives you a good reputation.

In Wisconsin, it’s especially important to schedule a pressure washing in the early spring to remove deicing products and again in the fall to remove leaves and make sure the drainage system is clear.

Pavement Marking and Signage

Your maintenance schedule should include attention paid to pavement markings and signage. Parking lot striping needs to be restored as soon as it begins to fade or wear away. Concrete walks, drives, and curb landings might need to be repainted as often as twice a year for safety purposes.

Waterproofing

The main enemies of the structural integrity of your parking structure are water penetration, chloride penetration, and freeze/thaw damage. The best way to prevent the damage is to prevent penetration into the concrete with a waterproofing barrier. Waterproofing systems that protect the concrete surface extend the life of a garage and make routine maintenance tasks easier to complete.

The ideal waterproofing system uses a calcium silicate gel to penetrate the concrete and fill cracks, pores, and capillaries; forming a subsurface barrier that can’t be peeled, chipped, or scraped away.

A regular maintenance program is critical to preserving your garage and providing excellent service to your customers. Call us to talk about a schedule that perfectly meets your needs. (414) 771-0884

waterproof your concrete

Water is the enemy of your parking structure. It can penetrate the concrete causing costly damage to its steel reinforcement. Considering the large capital investment parking structures require, it’s worth taking some time to consider how best to protect them, not only from water, but also from deicing agents and freeze/thaw cycles.

We believe that the best way to prevent concrete damage is to prevent water and chemical penetration in the first place through the use of a waterproof barrier. Membranes and silane sealant do provide some protection but have drawbacks that waterproofing does not.

For that reason, we recently partnered with Alchemco, manufacturers of the TechCrete 2500 Waterproofing system—a long-term solution that creates a waterproof barrier inside the concrete. 

TechCrete 2500 offers the following benefits:

  1. It has no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are “any compound of carbon, excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides or carbonates, and ammonium carbonate, which participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions.” In other words, emitted gases from certain solids and liquids. Because TechCrete 2500 is VOC-free, if the concrete structure is ever demolished, the concrete remains recyclable, which is good for the environment.

  2. It is a penetrating solution that forms a calcium silicate gel which fills cracks and capillaries up to 2mm wide. Because it forms a subsurface barrier, it can’t be chipped or scraped away by snow plow blades and it will continue to seal future cracks up to .04mm wide.

  3. There’s no need to close your parking facility during business hours in order to complete the installation. 

  4. One of the best features of TechCrete 2500 is its longevity. It makes the concrete surface more dense which allows it to stand up to traffic from people and cars. It also has the best warranty in the industry ranging from 15-30 years depending on the current condition of the structure.

  5. A TechCrete 2500 treated surface is easy and inexpensive to maintain, requiring only regular sweeping and a yearly pressure wash.  

Parking areas are a large capital investment. The longer they last, the greater the return on your investment. While the value of regular cleaning and maintenance can’t be overstated, the best protection comes from not allowing the water to penetrate the concrete in the first place. Read more about our concrete waterproofing service here.

Protect your parking garage

Parking structures are expensive capital investments. In 2019, the median cost to construct a new parking garage was $21,500 per space and $64.77 per square foot. If the average garage is 145,000 square feet, then you’re looking at almost a million dollars to build a new one. 

Parking structures are so common that we have become oblivious to them. Customers expect them to be there when they need them, and they expect them to be safe. Property owners need them to generate a return on investment and be well maintained. Often they will hire a facility manager to ensure that their needs and the needs of their customers are met.

So it’s no surprise that a 2019 CORT survey of facility managers found that profitability is their #1 concern — up from #3 in 2018. When property managers are under pressure to do more with less, routine maintenance and proactive protection become important. 

With that in mind, here are some useful articles offering good advice on parking structure maintenance. 

How to Protect Your Parking Structure from Winter Weather Damage by Sarah Kloepple, Associate Editor at Buildings.com. 5 min read.

The biggest winter weather liabilities are slip-and-fall injuries, damaging deicers, improper snow removal, and clogged drains. Having your garage professionally cleaned at least once a month will minimize the risk of injuries and chemicals and ensure that your drains don’t get clogged. Pay attention to how your snow removal company does their job to ensure that they aren’t piling the snow too high or causing damage with the snow plow blades.

Protecting Parking Structures by James P. Donnelly, P.E., S.E. 7 min read.

In this article James Donnelly, a structural engineer, gives a concise but thorough overview of the ways that parking garages deteriorate, the types of routine maintenance that need to be done, how to schedule inspections, and effective waterproofing strategies. 

Financing Parking Garages: Q&A with Parking Consultant Gerard Giosa. 9 min read.

Although the majority of this article deals with the costs of building structured parking rather than surface parking, it also addresses budgeting for operational and maintenance costs. Giosa says, “A good number to budget for ongoing parking garage operating and maintenance expense is about $500 per space per year…It is also critical to perform routine preventative maintenance on the garage, including sealing decks and replacing caulking and joints, to avoid major structural repair bills as the garage begins to age. With a good preventative maintenance program, a parking garage can be expected to last 50 to 70 years or longer.” 

Planning for parking: How strategy and technology can improve garage integration by Stan Bochniak, former Facility Manager. 7 min read.

The focus of this article, which first appeared in FMJ magazine, is parking in mixed-use developments. These developments combine retail, entertainment, offices, and residences in a walkable space. But, people often arrive at their initial destination by car, which makes parking an important part of the experience. “Since mixed-use garages are used more than traditional garages, their maintenance demands are higher. Spaces turn over more quickly, and everything from elevators to trash cans are used more frequently. Regular maintenance tasks, like sweeping and steam cleaning, have to be done more often and scheduling is a bit more challenging.”

A common theme among each of these articles is that when you plan for the regular cleaning and upkeep of your parking structures, you are making the wisest possible use of your budget. At Wahlen Works, we can provide a single service or a combination of services to help you maximize your dollars spent. Instead of tackling problems as they occur, budget for proactive, pre-scheduled approach to maintenance.

facility cleaning and maintenance
2019 is almost over and 2020 is just around the corner. Here is the cleaning and maintenance you need to be thinking about when it comes to keeping your facilities in top shape throughout the next year.

January through March

During our long Wisconsin winters, property owners want to minimize unnecessary damage to their property and also keep drivers safe. It’s best for the longevity of your concrete if you simply remove snow with a plow. If you’re worried about a slick ramp, you can use sand. If you must use a deicing agent use a chemical, such as calcium magnesium acetate, that won’t damage the concrete or steel reinforcement.
When the weather gets bad outside, it’s a perfect time to clean an polish your Indoor concrete floors. They are porous and need to be sealed to prevent stains and last longer.
Once March arrives, spring is just around the corner and you can begin to think about spring cleaning. It’s a great time to consider a complete service package for your property which includes sweeping, power washing, pavement striping, and concrete sealing.
Now is the time to check signage for damage from corrosion or vandalism so that the signs can be cleaned or replaced if necessary. Inspect walkways, handrails, stairwells, and walking surfaces for hazards. If your stairwells and elevator enclosures are dirty, add them to the list of places to be cleaned.

April through June

The first thing to think about in April is a thorough sweeping of your entire facility to remove sand and dirt from parking and pedestrian areas. Then it’s time for deep cleaning and protecting with power washing and concrete sealing.
Pressure washing
Pressure washing gives instant aesthetic improvement to your property — a deep clean you can’t get any other way. It removes accumulated layers of dirt and grime, chemicals, and especially salt — even if it has been a long time since the last cleaning. Power washing can be used on pavement, walls, roofs, and equipment.
Concrete Sealing
Sealed concrete lasts longer, looks better, and resists staining. Water penetration is damaging to roads and to masonry walls. To maximize the life of your structure, it is very important to keep water from penetrating it, which sealing does.
Finally, you will want to evaluate whether you need new pavement markings in time for summer traffic. Fresh, high quality pavement marking keeps vehicle and pedestrian traffic organized and moving smoothly which keeps everyone safer and happier. Removing dirt, oil, and grease with power washing will allow you to know if you need to re-stripe.

July through September

School’s out for summer which means it’s time for school (and park) improvements such as painting your playground for sports and other activities. Whether it is a basketball court, a kickball diamond, a hopscotch track, or a foursquare space, we can provide an expert layout.
Summer is also time for Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair, and dozens of other local festivals and activities. With all this fun comes extra food and oil spills. By August you may need your second pressure wash of the year. We also recommend ongoing maintenance like monthly sweeping and removal of graffiti from concrete and masonry surfaces.
By September, construction season is winding down. If you have a project nearing completion, schedule your post construction clean up early so you’re not left with potential hazards on your property.

October through December

Once we pass the fall equinox, it’s time to prepare for winter.
First remove leaves. Their chemical composition can  damage the surface of your concrete or asphalt. A professional sweeping will clear leaves and debris from places where water needs to flow freely. Then, inspect for damage to the concrete and perform repairs. Walk around all your snow plowing routes to ensure that they are unobstructed.
We recommend a second pressure washing in the fall. Seal the concrete if you didn’t do it in the spring. By the end of October, seal coating season is just about over.
Inspect lights for proper operation. A well-lit facility is safer for travel and feels safer to your guests, especially as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Clean and replace lights as needed. Lastly, wash windows so that the maximum amount of that precious winter daylight can stream into your workspaces.

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