Power Washing and Pressure Washing
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.
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.
- Trash and debris removal
- Concrete floor cleaning, polishing — and sealing if necessary
- Removal of oil, dirt, mineral residue, and paint from masonry
- Washing of walkways, entries, driveways, and parking areas
- Exterior building cleaning
- General pavement cleaning
Winter Preparation Checklist
- Clean your parking lot. Leaves are not as innocent as they seem. Their chemical composition can damage the surface of your concrete or asphalt. In addition, fall leaves that have been compacted and frozen by an early snowfall are a pain to remove. A professional sweeping will clear leaves and debris from places where water needs to flow freely. Then, pressure wash the entire facility for clean, odorless property.
- Inspect thoroughly for damage. Perform repairs on potholes or cracks. If you defer these repairs until the spring thaw, the damage will be greater and more expensive to fix.
- Check your drainage so water doesn’t pool in the lot or run back to the foundation.
- Seal your concrete. Concrete sealing creates a barrier between winter chemicals and salt and your parking surface. By the end of October, seal coating season is just about over, so don’t delay.
- Walk around all your snow plowing routes to ensure that they are unobstructed.
- Evaluate whether or not your pavement markings and signs are clear and easy to see. If not, consider new parking lot striping. A freshly painted lot increases the odds that people will drive and park safely. When large sections of your parking lot are used to store unmelted snow, you need to make sure that the rest of your parking lot can be used properly and efficiently.
- Review all customer and employee access points into your building. wash to make sure that people don’t slip and fall. check for irregularities in the walkway that can cause people to trip.
Spring has officially arrived! One of the first things we recommend you do is go outside and take a look at your parking structures and garages. Are they gray and dusty? Is there an unpleasant accumulation of sand and salt? Have the markings on the pavement faded? Has trash been blown into the corners? If so it’s time for spring cleaning. If the debris and chemicals and sand aren’t disposed of properly, you risk damaged concrete and clogged drains.
Your concrete needs regular cleaning and preventative maintenance to prolong the life of the surface and save money on expensive repairs. But it especially needs a deep clean after one of our long midwestern winters. Located in the middle of the “Winter Facts” page on the Wisconsin DOT website is a list of some the materials they use to treat roads for snow and ice: calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, salt brine. Property owners should remove and dispose of pollutants properly for structural preservation. This maintenance also maintains an aesthetically pleasing appearance and prevents environmental damage. Engaging in prompt clean-up will also reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians who might slip on accumulated dry sand.
Spring Cleaning List
The spring cleaning list for parking structures and garages includes:
- A thorough sweeping to remove trash, sand, salt, and any leftover leaves from last fall.
- Pre-treating stains from oil spills, beverage spills, and other dirt deposits.
- Professional power washing with a high pressure nozzle to deep clean the paved surface and lift out all of the dirt.
- Re-marking of faded parking stall lines, pedestrian walkways, and directional arrows.
- Concrete sealing to protect your surfaces from water, chemicals, and traffic wear-and-tear.
Once each of the items above is checked off, it’s time to think about ongoing maintenance. Some facilities, such as hospitals, have a high volume of traffic and high turnover in the parking areas. Dirt and debris accumulate much faster than in a structure, such as an apartment, that doesn’t see as many vehicles entering and exiting. A high volume facility may require monthly sweeping while a low volume facility may only need two to three maintenance sweeps a year.
Spring Cleaning Service Package
Spring is a great time to consider a complete service package for your property. Service packages include sweeping, power washing, pavement striping, concrete sealing, and ongoing maintenance. This type of package offers the greatest value to the business owner. At Wahlen Works the cost is significantly less than if the services were purchased separately. We can create contracts for time periods between one to five years so that you can plan and budget accordingly. Longer term contracts lock in current pricing and save the headache of having to address the same issue year after year.
Don’t hire a novice. Our knowledge of equipment, processes, and chemicals will ensure that your parking facility maintains a clean, professional appearance at all times. We provide our services on your schedule so that your business isn’t disrupted and we guarantee outstanding results. Contact us today to schedule an appointment that fits with your schedule. https://www.wahlenworks.com/estimate/
According to Greg Neiderer, Principal and Director of Restoration for Walker Consultants, a leading parking consultant in the United States, “Some parking facility owners and operators believe that as long as their structures continue to serve the public, few maintenance-related tasks need to be performed. Nothing could be further from the truth.” In a case study of three Pennsylvania garages, Neiderer shows that the one with the most comprehensive maintenance history had the lowest cost per space per year.
Proper parking structure maintenance reduces premature deterioration and future operating costs. An important part of this ongoing maintenance is the cleaning and washing of concrete surfaces. Concrete is a porous surface that can absorb oil and other liquids like a sponge. Chloride contamination caused by deicing salt contributes to deterioration of the concrete as well. These substances need to be removed regularly. Professional pressure washing produces a deep, uniform clean that is both cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing.
At Wahlen Works we specialize in full-service commercial pressure washing for businesses that have high standards of property maintenance and cleanliness. We accomplish this with a thorough, detailed four-step cleaning process that consistently provides superior pressure washing results.
- First, we thoroughly go over the entire facility with pre-treating chemicals which are all biodegradable. We treat oil spots, beverage stains, and other dirt deposits.
- Second, we apply phosphate free, professional grade detergents to the entire surface of the garage.
- Third, we detail every square inch with a high pressure nozzle, providing a deep clean to lift out all of the dirt. In contrast to the surface cleaning used by some other companies, this is a close application to blast all the dirt out.
- Fourth, we drain the waste water. We use polypropylene filters over the drains which pull oil from the water and prevent debris from washing into the sewage system. At the end, we pick up everything and dispose of it properly. If your property requires waste water recovery, we provide that service at this time.
When you hire Wahlen Works, you are investing in the longevity and appearance of your property. In addition to reducing overall operating costs, your facility will look better and make a better impression on visitors. Contact us today to get a quote on pressure washing services for your parking structure.
When a customer approaches your business, their first stop is often your parking lot or garage and the outside structure of your building. Like it or not, appearances matter. When public and private spaces aren’t clean, visitors can get the impression that a place is neglected. Seeing that the outside of a business is neglected may give visitors the impression that the owner neglects other aspects of their business as well. A neglected space can even be interpreted as an unsafe space, and this isn’t a completely baseless assumption by visitors. A recent study done in England found that poor levels of cleanliness are often associated with increases in other low-level crime and social disorder. As a business owner, you don’t want these subconscious thoughts to run through the minds of your customers. At Wahlen Works, we specialize in helping businesses give the best first impression to their customers.
From the moment that a customer drives into your parking lot or structure, they should be able to easily determine where to park. Keeping up on your pavement marking and parking lot striping can help reduce the tiny amount of stress drivers may feel when looking for a parking spot.
When customers step out of their car, you want to ensure that they’re not stepping on dirty or stained pavement. Again uncleanliness can be associated with neglect in the consumer’s mind. So you want to show that you take care of your business, like you’ll take care of whatever need they may have. Regularly pressure washing your parking facility is one small way to show that you care.
Lastly, maintenance is everything. If you have a concrete structure or concrete pavement, concrete sealing is one way to help ensure the pavement lasts and your pressure washing jobs last longer, as a quality sealant can help prevent staining. When you own a business, it’s important to think about think about the customer’s experience from the moment they pull up to the moment they leave. If you need help making sure that first impression is a great one, contact us today!