Pressure Washing Pitfalls Unveiled: Top 5 Failures that Highlight the Importance of Professional Help

Rope Power washing

In the building maintenance industry, pressure washing is a commonly used method to clean and maintain various surfaces. However, if not done properly, it can lead to some significant failures that can damage surfaces or cause other issues. Here are the top 5 pressure washing fails in the building maintenance industry:

  1. Surface Damage: One of the most common failures is surface damage caused by using excessive pressure or the wrong type of nozzle. If the pressure is too high or the nozzle is too close to the surface, it can cause cracks, chipping, or etching on delicate materials like wood, stucco, or painted surfaces.
  2. Water Intrusion: Pressure washing can inadvertently force water into areas where it shouldn’t be, such as cracks, crevices, or building openings. This can lead to water intrusion, resulting in damage to the building’s structure, including rot, mold growth, or electrical issues.
  3. Window Breakage: Improper pressure washing techniques near windows can lead to shattered glass. High-pressure water directed at a windowpane or the window frame from the wrong angle can cause the glass to break, posing a safety hazard and requiring costly repairs.
  4. Chemical Mishaps: Pressure washing often involves the use of cleaning chemicals to remove tough stains or dirt. However, using the wrong cleaning agents or applying them incorrectly can damage surfaces or harm the environment. Certain chemicals may react negatively with specific materials, leading to discolouration, corrosion, or even toxic fumes.
  5. Inadequate Preparation: Failing to prepare the area properly before pressure washing can result in additional problems. For example, not removing loose debris, such as leaves or dirt, can cause clogs in drainage systems or lead to the debris being forcefully sprayed onto nearby surfaces. Inadequate protection of nearby objects or landscaping can also result in accidental damage.

To avoid these pressure washing fails, it is crucial to hire experienced professionals who are knowledgeable about the appropriate techniques, equipment, and cleaning agents for different surfaces. Proper training, careful planning, and attention to detail are essential to ensure a successful and damage-free pressure washing process.

Making Things Right – when roof anchors are an afterthought

af·ter·thought: /ˈaftərˌTHôt/ noun: an item or thing that is thought of or added later.

Unfortunately, this is sometimes the case with anchor or access systems on newly built properties. For all the flash and promise of life-changing lifestyle experience outlined in the fancy pre-sale brochure, something as simple as to how windows will be accessed and cleaned is often overlooked.

This was the case at The Flats, located on east Georgia, in Vancouver’s Chinatown. The new trendy modern 9 story structure was completed in 2014 and houses 29 condo units. 

We were initially approached by Tribe management in the fall of 2021, asked to provide a window cleaning and dryer vent quote for the property. We were warned that other companies had looked at the building and were unable to provide a quote, due to access issues. The building not only lacked roof anchors that could be used for rope access work, it also had power lines and other obstacles at ground level, which made elevated platform (boom lift) access impossible. 

After attending the site and making our initial assessment, we came to the conclusion that the only viable solution would be to install anchors at roof level. We engaged our construction services division to provide a deeper analysis and to provide a proposal detailing the number of anchors and locations proposed. Since some of the anchors would need to be located on the penthouse balcony, aesthetics needed to be considered and owners consulted in the process. 

In late winter, our proposal was accepted and the anchors were installed in spring of 2022, providing a safe, long-term solution for access to the exterior facade.

“I was so glad to find a company that could provide a quote for all the services we needed, AND also solve our access issues. I love that Black Tie is a one stop shop.” – Lara Carino, Community Manager, Tribe Management Inc.

It is important to note that our team is uniquely positioned to offer the most comprehensive and cost-effective solution when it comes to anchor system. Being intimately familiar with rope access regulation, we will provide a proposal that will ensure all areas of the building can be accessed safely, with the minimum number of anchors possible.

The Flats is one example of a problematic building, but we frequently come across similar issues, especially with 5 to 7 story wood frame buildings, that are too tall to be cleaned from the ground, and have no anchors that can be used for rope access or suspended work platforms. While we aim at educating developers and builders, we sometimes have to deal with what is clearly and afterthought. If you manage one of these problematic buildings, please contact us, and we will gladly help find the best solution for your property, working closely with owners or strata council to get to the best outcome.

Black Tie – Staff Spotlights October 2021



Eduardo joined us this year in April all the way from Chile! Eduardo always puts safety first which is our #1 core value at Black Tie. When it comes to safety, he is not only concerned with his own safety but also the safety of his colleagues. ⁠

Eduardo is excellent at managing his time and meeting deadlines while ensuring his quality of work is always top-notch.⁠

⁠Whatever the job is, big or small, Eduardo always has a can-do attitude and an open mind to learn new skills or try out a new technique.⁠

He is an excellent team player. If he finishes up for the day early, he will help his colleagues to finish up the task or pull up ropes. ⁠

Thanks Eduardo!



Congratulations, @DAVIDFAZV, the winner of Black Tie’s October Staff Photo Contest w/ 266 likes

Hat’s off to our 2nd place winner @drewlacarte w/ 127 likes

And coming in at a close 3rd place, @samuelhalifax w/ 120 likes

And a big thank you to everyone who submitted their photos.

If you like these, please come check out our Instagram where we’re always posting awesome photos like this one.  Follow us @blacktiepropertyservices.

Chemical Clean – Why & When you need to book (hint – it’s soon!)

Most property managers are somewhat familiar with the terms “acid wash”, or “chemical clean”. But how can you determine with certainty if this is needed? And what factors should you consider before booking the service? Below, we will answer these questions and provide some helpful guidelines around booking your next acid wash.

Why does the building need this?

So, you just had the windows cleaned on a building you manage, and were told “This will need an acid wash”. 

Those comments may have come directly from your service provider, or may be the result of several complaints from residents, pointing at their stained windows and demanding better results. Whatever the case, the cause of staining on glass will generally fall into one of two categories:

  1. Construction debris: On newer buildings, it is not uncommon to find that the initial post-construction clean was not done as thoroughly as required. We quite often find remnants of silicone, paint or exterior membrane that was not cleaned off properly. It is also very common to find mineral deposits or concrete slurry resulting from rain water dripping down from the unfinished concrete slab and onto the glass, during the construction process. An acid wash or chemical clean will definitely be needed to remove those stains. 
  2. Mineral deposit accumulation or hard water stains: This type of staining occurs over time, and is caused by rain water hitting various surfaces on a building. The raindrops pick up minerals, and subsequently drip down and dry on the  glass, leaving stains that look like water spots. This is very common on brick buildings or buildings that have elements of uncoated concrete or aluminum. 

In both instances, an acid wash will be required to remove those stains.

Example of glass and window frames stained with minerals leaching from brick and mortar above.

Example of stained railing glass resulting from water hitting the concrete pavers and splashing on the glass and staining it over time

What does the process look like?

The most effective product to remove mineral deposits from glass surfaces is hydrofluoric acid. This product is extremely toxic and presents a serious health hazard to workers if not handled with proper care. It also has the potential to damage glass and other surfaces it comes in contact with, so doing your due diligence and hiring experienced professionals is key.

The process usually entails application of diluted acid to the affected windows, followed by thorough scrubbing using mops and non-scratching scrubbing pads. The glass, gaskets, window components and surrounding areas are then thoroughly rinsed using a low-pressure hose. For a perfect finish, we will sometimes recommend to follow the acid wash with a regular squeegee clean, as the process can leave drips and water spots behind. Work can be performed from ropes, swing stage, or a boom lift.

Is timing important?

Most people associate window cleaning with sunny summer weather. However, when it comes to chemical clean or acid wash, cooler cloudy or rainy weather is best. Here is why:

  1. The chemical absolutely cannot dry on the glass: If it does, it may etch it and permanently damage the windows. This makes working in the sun near impossible and the whole process much more difficult.
  2. Worker safety is paramount: That’s why when working with dangerous chemicals, a full rubber suit and gloves are required which become extremely uncomfortable to wear in the summer heat.
  3. Cost Savings: There may be cost savings in having this done in the off season. Window cleaning companies may offer better rates once the peak summer season is over. Also, performing this work in the rainy season may allow you to eliminate the final step of detailed squeegee clean, hence eliminating that extra cost altogether. 

In Summary 

Now that you have all the information on hand, you are ready to book your chemical clean. Here is a quick summary of what you will need to make your project a success:

  • Understand the issue – Is this an existing building with staining that happened over time, or is this a new project in need of a post-construction clean? If dealing with more than just staining, a full post-construction clean might be needed, and an acid wash may not be sufficient.
  • Vet your service provider – Do not be afraid to ask questions! Ask about the process. Ask for a Safe Work Procedure document specific to chemical clean. Ask about the product used and the MSDS sheet. Make sure to get at least two references that back the legitimacy of your provider, and ensure that the references are specific to acid wash.
  • Discuss Timing – Make sure your clients understand that optimal timing for this work is different from regular window cleaning. This will make booking the service easier and may also save your clients money.

Of course, if you have any questions around acid wash or post-construction cleaning, we would be happy to answer them. Our team has over a decade of experience in post-construction work and has developed clear safe work procedures around acid cleaning.




BOMA BC Golf Classic

Pictured from Left to Right: Kim O’Pray – FirstService Residential; Tracy Po – BOMA BC; Ines Howie – Ultratech Cleaning Services Ltd.; Krishna Nault – Black Tie Property Services

Pictured from Left to Right: Krishna Nault – Black Tie Property Services; Kim O’Pray – FirstService Residential; Michael Glassco – IAQ Consultants; Kyle Tusim – Tremco; Muneesh Sharma – BOMA BC

Northview Golf & Country Club – Surrey, B.C.

August 19th was our first industry golfing event since the lockdowns. We are so grateful for the chance to spend a day in the sun with our industry peeps!  It was refreshing to meet new friends and reconnect with those we haven’t seen in a while.

A big thank you to BOMA BC & their incredible golf committee for organizing a well-run and impressive event, the BOMA BC Golf Classic at Northview Golf & Country Club.  It’s events like these that make us such proud members of BOMA.

It was a gorgeous day and we can’t wait to see you out there again on the golf course.

To see more event photos, click HERE.

Upcoming Events

BOMA Edmonton Charity Golf Classic – Tuesday, September 7th

CRRA 28th Annual Golf Extravaganza – Wednesday, September 8th

BOMA Calgary Golf Classic – Thursday, September 9th

BOMA BC Mardi Gras Boat Cruise – Thursday, September 16th


We want to say a big THANK YOU to all of the amazing property managers that were able to make it out to our Industry Happy Hours in Calgary & Edmonton this past July.

It was fun & revitalizing to connect in person over some good food, tasty cocktails and lively conversations.

If you missed the July Happy Hour, don’t distress comrades!  There are more drinks and laughs to be had and many more faces we’d be delighted to see.  WE WILL BE BACK!

Some kind words from our guests…

Thank you so very much for the invitation to your Black-Tie Industry event at Rodney’s yesterday (bringing West Coast seafood to Calgary was outstanding), it was such a pleasure meeting you and also getting to meet and collaborate with fellow industry professionals.

I would also like to thank you for hosting the Happy hour it was a lot a fun and we love to get to know our vendors it gives us a little more confidence when we know who is handling our buildings.”


1. Window Cleaning
Contrary to popular belief, glass surfaces are actually porous and over time, if not cleaned on a regular basis, glass will start to deteriorate as dirt and contaminants bond with the surface and begin the oxidation process.

This can be avoided by having a regular cleaning program in place, where glass gets professionally cleaned at least once a year.

It is a well known trick of the trade in the real estate industry: getting the windows washed prior to a showing is one of the most cost-efficient ways to increase curb appeal. It is an easy and economical way to beautify your surroundings, preserve your investment and extend the life of your windows.

2. Envelope Cleaning and Maintenance
Speaking of curb appeal, envelope cleaning is also important, as it helps showcase properties in their best light and also preserve the exterior building envelope. Dust and accumulated dirt resulting from air pollution can permanently bond to exterior surfaces of buildings and create permanent damage if not cleaned regularly.

Whether using power washing or soft scrubbing methods, cleaning the exterior envelope will restore your buildings to their original condition and will help identify areas needing repair work such as caulking and painting.

3. Dryer Vent Cleaning
Annual dryer vent cleaning is a must, both for the performance of the appliances, but more importantly, for the safety of building occupants.

Lint accumulated in the dryer vent ducts restricts air flow, which in turn affects the performance of the dryer and can cause it to overheat, and in certain cases, to catch fire.

Black Tie recommends that dryer vents be cleaned, inside and out, at least once a year.


Black Tie Window Cleaning – Instagram Contest Winners

Happy Friday  & Congrats to our talented winners from the month of June.

1st Place – 175 Likes

@p_krezz (Pawel Krezl, Black Tie Vancouver Maintenance Team)

Orange is the new black ???? ????.


2nd Place – 172 Likes

@chaputsimon (Simon Chaput, Black Tie Vancouver Construction team)

This is how we do vent installation.


3rd Place – 146 Likes

@blacktiepropertyservices (Raul Gordilo, Black Tie Vancouver Construction Team)

Work is always more fun when you enjoy the company you are with.

Congrats to the winners and  a big thank you for everyone who submitted their photos to Black Tie’s Instagram Contest.

If you liked these, please come check out our INSTA page @blacktiepropertyservices where we are always posting awesome photos like these ones.

You can also find out more about us and our 360 degree promise by clicking here.

And please check back on our blog, as we will be posting  instagram contest photos every single month.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Announcing Black Tie’s Instagram Contest Winners

Black Tie Window Cleaning – Instagram Contest

Every month, we get so excited to see the amazing photos that our Black Tie team sends in to us at Black Tie Vancouver headquarters.  This is for the Black Tie’s Instagram contest taken from the perspective of our window cleaners. It is so fascinating to see a day in the life of a window cleaner in beautiful Vancouver.

Congrats to our winners from the month of May.

1st Place – 261 Likes

@badwizardropeworks (James Rhodes, Black Tie Victoria team)

Love the insta handle!  Hope this “bad wizard” can work some magic with that window cleaning. James is an industrial climber and irata rope technician who anticipates a great season ahead!  Photo is pictured above.

2nd Place TIE – 204 Likes

@kirsten_walker (Kirsten Walker, Black Tie Construction Team)

From one of our very own women in trades – Here is Kirsten who jokingly says “surely we only do this job for photo ops.”  The photos are great!  But I do hope she loves this window cleaning for more than just the photos.



@drewlacarte (Drew Lacarte, Black Tie Construction Team)

Here’s an entry from Drew showing his “Tag team Tuesday” shot while doing a post-construction window clean at Lougheed Heights.  We love seeing our crew hanging together.



3rd Place – 189 Likes

@p_krezz (Pawel Krezl, Black Tie Vancouver Team)

Wow!  What beautiful colours on this one. If you look on Pawel’s caption, he says “Friday office be like …” Amazing, I wish it was Friday right now, am I right?


Congrats to the winners and thank you for everyone who submitted their beautiful photos to our Black Tie’s Instagram Contest.  We appreciate you and what you are doing.  You are a big part of our community and we love to  to share the great views and crazy things you guys do.

If you haven’t seen our Instagram page yet, please come check us out at @blacktiepropertyservices.

We are continually updating our page with amazing photos. You can also find out more about us and our 360 degree promise by clicking here.

And please check back on our blog, as we will be posting  instagram contest photos every single month.

Stay happy and please stay safe!