Investing in a quality architectural umbrella adds both style and functionality to your outdoor space. To maximise the lifespan of your architectural umbrella, it’s crucial to establish a regular maintenance routine, which includes periodically cleaning your architectural umbrella. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to keep your umbrella in top-notch condition, promoting longevity and performance.
Cleaning Your Architectural Umbrella:
A Step-by-Step Guide
Regular cleaning is key to preserving the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your architectural umbrella. The frequency of maintenance depends on exposure to climatic conditions and airborne pollutants. We recommend inspections and cleaning every three months, similar to how you would care for your car in the same environment.
- Brush Down: Gently brush down the canopy, frame, stainless steel cables, and shackles using a soft brush to remove dust, insects, spider webs, and salt residue.
- Wash With Clean Water: Use fresh water from a bucket or low-pressure hose to remove any further dirt, bird droppings, pollution, and any superficial stains.
- Use pH-Neutral Detergent: For any stubborn dirt not removed with a brush and clean water, spray or sponge cold or lukewarm water with a 1% to 5% concentration of pH-neutral detergent (regular household dishwashing liquid will work) on the fabric and frame. Wash using a sponge or soft cloth and rinse off with low-pressure clean fresh water to remove dirt and detergent.
- Frame Polish: If needed, the steel frame (pole, collar and arms), can be further polished with a non-abrasive auto polish to give it a shine.
Important Cleaning Notes:
- While the surface of the membrane and steel fame is designed to be durable and long lasting; you must NOT use abrasive cleaners, scrubbing brushes, bleach, or high-pressure water blasters during the cleaning process, as these can damage the surface coatings.
- Always allow the membrane to fully dry before closing the canopy for an extended period.
Periodic Inspections of your Umbrella:
Regular inspections are crucial to identifying potential issues early on. We recommend a thorough check of your umbrella at least every three months, and also after any major weather event (see below).
Here’s what you should look for during periodic fabric and frame examinations:
Fabric Membrane Inspection
- Check for an small tears on the sides and inside of the fabric.
- Visually inspect seams to confirm there is no peeling of the seam weld.
- Look for any broken yarns and tears at sewn sections – especially in the corners.
- Check for small holes, cuts, etc., in the fabric.
- Remove any surrounding elements and check that no abrasion has occurred.
- Look for any heavy buildup (eg. dirt, dust, mildew, bird droppings or organic material) on the surface of the fabric (topside and below).
- Overall review of the frame to confirm there is not any excessive distortion, damage, and corrosion.
- Check all cables and webbing loops for signs of fraying of cables.
- Check for any corrosion or dirt in the cable to arm connections.
- Visually inspect to confirm there are no scratches and damage to the powder coat finish.
- Check tightness of connections and hold-down bolts, make sure there’s no crumbling of grout under the base plate
- Confirm there is no corrosion to hold-down bolts.
Accessories & Customisations
- Gutters/linking sections are free from leaf-matter or dirt buildup.
- Lights or Heaters connections are undamaged and free from spiderwebs or dirt.
Severe Weather & Specific Iinspections
MakMax Centra and Leva Architectural Umbrellas are designed to be permanent structures and do not need to be closed after each use. We do however recommend closing your Centra or Leva umbrella canopy in the event of severe weather. Our lightweight model – Porta Architectural Umbrellas – should be closed and stored in a secure location in the event of severe weather.
Avoid closing your umbrella when wet and do not leave your umbrella closed for an extended period of time.
Specific inspections should be performed immediately after an unusual or exceptional event, which includes:
- Storm with winds over 70 km/h.
- Heavy snowfall or hail.
- Impact by heavy objects that may cut or abrade the fabric and webbing.
- Impact by heavy object that may damage or over-stress the steel frame.
- Ponding of stormwater, snow or hail on the fabric membrane.
- Lightning strike.
- Initial erection and tensioning of the umbrella.
Regular maintenance and cleaning your architectural umbrella is the key to extending the life of your structure. By following these simple cleaning and inspection guidelines, you’ll not only preserve its aesthetic appeal but also ensure its durability in various weather conditions.