26 2017 Jan

Can You Really “Seal” Your Building Exterior?


Property managers and owners often ask: “If I have my building façade ‘sealed’ will that prevent it from leaking?” This question often signals misconceptions regarding the expectations of applying a “sealer”, or as is correctly called, a water repellent.brickphoto

Although there can be benefits from using water repellents, these materials are not intended to provide complete “waterproof” protection. They should be applied after first understanding their purpose, and conducting any necessary façade repairs prior to application.

The types of repairs are numerous and can include:

  •  Repointing cracked and damaged mortar joints
  •  Replacing joint sealants (caulking)
  •  Replacing or repairing cracked façade materials (brick, stone, precast concrete, stucco, etc.),
  •  Installing missing/failed flashing systems, and damaged exterior envelope components

Before any repairs are undertaken, it is recommended that existing conditions be thoroughly
reviewed and discussed with a qualified building envelope contractor and/or consultant. It is critical to determine the causes, and not just the symptoms, of moisture infiltration. Frequently water intrusion problems are due to issues behind the surface within the back-up walls, roofs, or the foundation.

A key to understanding water repellents is they do not “bridge” or fill cracks, holes, or other voids. These issues and associated repairs must first be addressed prior to water repellent application for best results. Also, it is vital to use a water repellent that allows building exterior substrates to breathe. While it is important to keep moisture out of a façade, it is just as essential to allow moisture from within to escape.

Once an appropriate water repellent material is selected and properly applied to a clean and restored façade, there are a number of benefits that can be realized.

  •  Clear penetrating repellents reduce the rate of water absorption into the building’s exterior components. This allows for extended protection of these building materials.
  •  By preventing water from sitting in voids and cracks behind the surface, the risk of freeze-thaw damage (water allowed to sit beneath the surface, freeze in the winter, and expand when thawing, leading to face spalling and cracking) is reduced.
  •  Proper application of a water repellent can increase the duration required between façade cleaning or power washing.

The benefits and cost savings from using a systematic approach to building façade repairs and application of water repellents are substantial. As a building manager, understanding the limitations of water repellents, and regularly maintaining façade components, will greatly increase the life of the structure, and save long term capital repairs costs for your owners.



Scott Parello is the Senior Vice President of Exterior Restoration with ULTRA Company, Inc. Scott has 30+ years of national industry experience in consulting, education, and contracting and is an expert in exterior building restoration, specializing in large façade and structural restoration and waterproofing projects. For more information on this or another topic covered in ULTRA Company’s educational series, or to discuss a specific property or project, Scott can be reached at 703-378-5856 or

24 2017 Jan

Ultra Company General Contractors is pleased to announce…

An Educational Series for the Commercial Property Management Industry.  The series of blog posts, brief essays and articles will provide Property Managers with relevant tips and information.  A wide array of topics will be shared by ULTRA’s team of experts free of charge on a bi-weekly basis.

An email with links to valuable, cost saving information is coming soon!

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt

Read More
26 2016 Jan

Dan Downs to Join ULTRA Company’s Executive Team – Painting & Repairs Division

  • by
  • Comments Off on Dan Downs to Join ULTRA Company’s Executive Team – Painting & Repairs Division
  • posted in Uncategorized



Chantilly, VA – January 20, 2016 — ULTRA Company General Contractors announced today the appointment of Daniel P Downs as Vice President of Painting and Finishes, a department of ULTRA’s Painting and Repair Services Division.

Downs’ role boosts ULTRA’s dedication to increasing value and service for Commercial Property Management firms seeking painting, decorating and finishes work in the Washington, DC Metro region.  “Dan’s extensive background and focus on clients’ needs are a perfect fit for managing ULTRA’s expanding Commercial Painting and Repairs Division” said Mike Piantedosi, ULTRA Company President.  “With the demands placed on property management clients to handle more and difficult renovation projects, Dan’s high standards of excellence and attention to detail will be welcomed by clients.”

Dan brings years of expertise with design, estimating, specifications, project management and executive management of large and complex commercial painting, tenant lease paint and carpet, light renovation and exquisite decorating projects.  His experience includes commercial property landlords and management firms, major law firms, trade associations, museums, banking institutions, government contractors, hotels, retail centers, public and private corporations.

Dan’s role in managing painting and interior projects adds further to a dynamic team being partnered with ULTRA’s VP Tim Quinn’s focus on exterior building envelope repairs and restoration.  These two highly qualified professionals offer property managers an extraordinary amount of capabilities from one firm and provide an exceptional client experience with each project.

“I am thrilled to be joining the ULTRA Company team,” Downs said.  “With the wide range of capabilities that ULTRA provides, I am excited to be a critical part of an organization that is committed to providing excellence to its clients, to developing successful relationships with new clients and to be instrumental in the firm’s continued growth.”

Read More
5 2015 Jan

ULTRA Capital Construction Division Completes Training Center for Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)

ParalizedVeterans Conf Center2

With the kickoff on Veterans Day, November 11, 2014, ULTRA Company’s Capital Construction Division completed construction of  a new Training Center for the Paralyzed Veterans of America. This Conference and Training Center, on the 2nd floor of its headquarters in Washington, D.C., was built  in honor of the late Jeffrey Carlton, a longtime supporter of Paralyzed Veterans, and donor of the largest monetary gift in the organization’s history. Mr. Carlton passed away in September 2012 and named Paralyzed Veterans of America as one of four charitable organizations who received an estate gift which will provide at least $50 million over the next two decades. Mr. Carlton’s gifts to the four charities were widely recognized as the 10th largest commitment in the U.S. during 2013.

ULTRA was honored to be selected as the construction company that brought PVA’s vision for a conference and training center to reality.  The new spaces feature accessible design and retractable glass walls to maximize the existing area. The center also includes state-of-the-art-video conferencing so that Paralyzed Veterans can maintain close contact with staff who assist veterans throughout the country.

Mike Piantedosi, president of ULTRA Company and Paul Fangmeyer, Director of  ULTRA’s Corporate Interiors Division were in attendance at the dedication on November 10, with  Al Kovach Jr., national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and the Trustee of the estate of Jeff Carlton.


Read More
14 2014 Nov

ULTRA Company High Security Development and Training, 2014 Annual Security Awareness Fair

  • by
  • Comments Off on ULTRA Company High Security Development and Training, 2014 Annual Security Awareness Fair
  • posted in Uncategorized



November 7, 2014, Reston, VA:  “Threats to U.S. defense and economic secrets are at an all-time high and expected to increase” was the news presented to Facility Security Officers, Chief Executive Officers and Security Managers of small to medium-sized businesses in the Washington, DC area at this annual Security Awareness Fair. The event was hosted by ISI Security and offered a training opportunity for company representatives to further their professional security expertise beyond the mandatory NISPOM and DSS requirements.  ULTRA Company was a key exhibitor at the event, showcasing their High Security Facilities Division and offering information on the planning and execution of high security facilities such as Secure-NOC, SCIF, SAP, SIPRNET, TEMPEST Area, Data Center or Closed Area.

Other topics at the training event included counter-intelligence, cyber-espionage, foreign terrorist organizations, cyber criminals, activists, and malicious insiders.  The keynote speaker, Michelle Sutphin of the American Systems Corporation provided new information about upcoming security policy changes and regulations and how it will affect small to medium sized companies faced with enacting these changes; Steven Durant, Defense Security Service (DSS) provided a counter-intelligence brief; John Wouters, from 8 Consulting offered ways to combat cyber security threats; and Mark Butler, of DC Professional Training and Consulting, discussed foreign travel security and fraudulent documents.  Additional information was presented in an entertaining manner by Ray Sempko, The D*I*C*E Man, who’s talk was titled “Defensive Information to Counter Everything.”

Attendees learned much about the skills and solutions necessary to successfully implement today’s continuously changing security requirements and earned up to 15 enhancement points in Category 3: Security Staff Professionalization for their next DSS assessment.

highsecforweb3 highsecforweb2 highsecforweb

Read More
14 2014 Oct

ULTRA Company Completes Interior Painting Portion of Dulles Town Center Refurbishment

  • by
  • Comments Off on ULTRA Company Completes Interior Painting Portion of Dulles Town Center Refurbishment
  • posted in Uncategorized


After 5 weeks of working overnight shifts, ULTRA Company has completed the interior painting of selected architectural and structural areas throughout the concourse, center court and food court at the Dulles Town Center in Dulles, VA.  Lerner Company awarded ULTRA the expansive painting job as part of their ongoing refurbishment and modernization of the regional mall, originally built in 1999. ULTRA painted a bold color palate with a variety of coatings and finishes at structural steel, escalator wells, food court surfaces and even the interior of the glass-enclosed elevator structure.  To access the wide-ranging components throughout the project, ULTRA’s painting crews needed to incorporate numerous configurations of scaffolding and man-lifts, including a 100-foot atrium lift at the center court.  Great care was taken as the crew negotiated large equipment throughout the center area to prevent damage around the very tight access areas throughout the two-level property.


Read More
14 2014 May

ULTRA Company Teams up with COPT to Give Back to the Community

  • by
  • Comments Off on ULTRA Company Teams up with COPT to Give Back to the Community
  • posted in Uncategorized

20140509_141634(0)ULTRA Company contributed manpower and materials to assist  our friends at COPT in their annual give-back to charity.  Pictured are some members of the COPT and ULTRA Company team at the Fairfax Humane Society’s large animal rescue facility in Centerville, VA.  The ULTRA volunteers put their carpentry, construction and painting skills to work as they spent the day with COPT to help repair and restore various structures throughout this large facility.