Learning Wfp technique at 3+ stories


So, how did you learn to wfp at 3+ stories? This question is both for technique on saving your joints and cleaning technique. You can’t see nearly as well how well it has been cleaned, so you have rely on knowing how dirty the windows are (likely from looking at a few from the inside?) and what kind of junk is on them. I cant seem to find much info or many videos on this as most of what I see is for resi at 3 stores max. Thinking of people like @John, @Pure_Water_Window_Cl, @jhans, etc if you willing to share how/where you learned. I’m sorry if the info is out there, I just cant seem to find it. Also, that may be in part because it seems you all do quality work, and I have read plenty of stories of poor quality work at height so I am hesitant on learning technique from some random person who may or may not do good work unless their info comes from someone I trust. Thanks!


What we did was simply learn how to properly wfp nose to glass. Our process of testing results happened in the field on the job. Test on jobs that are exterior and interior so that you can see your results and build your understanding and confidence with experience.

Then, progress to the next level height job. Each level your go up doubles in difficulty (my opinion).

To avoid injury, both from the repetition of movement and intensity of strain alternate arms and sides of your body as much as possible. Align joints when under strain. We build our own “backpack tool balancers”. These take on much of the weight and centralise it at the waist. They also do the lifting for us. We always use “rock-climbing belay” glasses to avoided neck strain.

Join a gym! This has been one of our greatest attributes to succeed physically and mentally above our competition. I personally train with wfp and biking in mind, two of my business specialties. My business partner and I meet regularly to spot each other when lifting and talk ideas.


I just started with a second story. Wfp go inside and inspect. Once you know how to wfp and what it should look like then you’re good to go. 3 or 4 stories is fine but 5 stories can be squirrelly and the results spotty.


How did I learn to WFP at 3t stories? My first time doing a high building was in August of 1983 that was 5 stories. My boss gave me the Tucker Pole that was the 12 ft sections one. It was a learning experience, up to that time I had only used it on 2 and 3 story homes and buildings. I dropped it once and broke the brush in half and it was a Sunday and 1.5 hours away from home. I finished the job with half a brush. Not the ideal way to learn but most of my learning has come from trial and error. We did not have Youtube and forums to ask questions and learn from.
This question is both for technique on saving joints and cleaning technique. Start now protecting your joints. I would drink bone broth with collagen everyday. Take Yoga and learn how to do stretching poses to keep your joints protected. Get some of the Belay glasses and a wrist support or something to help with repetitive motion using the pole. Use your leg muscles and not your arms. And get a full carbon fiber pole not a Hybrid or aluminum for anything above 2 stories.
How do you see the windows above 2 floors to see if they are clean. If you do not have access to the insides learn to train your eyes for looking up at the right angle to see if you missed anything. I am very good at this only because I practiced doing it. If you get the right angle and glare you can see all your mistakes from the ground up to 5 floors. Early morning light and late afternoon shows a lot.
I hope this helps you.
For technique take a look at our waterfed pole training videos on this forum under the video section. The upstroke does most of the cleaning with a brush. The downstroke rinses and pulls the dirt off the glass. Make sure you clean the frames on the sides of the windows so the dirt does not get on the clean glass. If possible avoid the top frame and get as close as possible without touching it. I get the top first on several windows allowing it time to drip then go back and stroke bottom to top avoiding going all the way to the top of the glass. I know with the new brushes and swivels there are some new techniques that many are having success with.


Learning to use a wfp is just getting in there and doing it. Much like traditional methods using a pole, you must put yourself out there, try different techniques see what works. Perform the task inspect from the inside.

We have the benefit of having interior and exteriour crews so while the interior guys are working they are visually inspecting the windows as they go and reporting back to the outside crew if corners need to be scrubbed more or better rinse may be needed.

Also learn by doing using proper movements. You will learn comfortable positions which are easier on your joints.
Finding the right height to extend the pole allowing for smooth even movements that don’t go too low, requiring bending or too high using repeated movements above your shoulder height.

We use the same pattern for almost every job it’s getting that pattern down and repeating it window after window after window. Using wfp, the process or technique is most important. Part of that process should always be quick visual inspection.


@John, @jhans, @JaredAI, @Pure_Water_Window_Cl,thanks so much everyone! Very helpful info, and just what I was looking for. I will look more at the videos John. That is quite the horror story John! You can only go up from there, and its quite impressive that you finished with half a brush! I think I am going to go practice nose to glad for just a bit on anything I can find to clean. I have had mixed results as I learn, but I also had the advantage of being able to check from the inside until now. I plan on going after office buildings and hotels next week so this gives me lot peace of mind on how to learn.


I am here to help. Glad I was able to give you some encouragement.


Realize also that each floor higher will require slightly different technique.

1st floor will allow for more direct scrubbing power and visual inspection watching the debris rinse off glass.

2nd floor and higher wont have the same pressure applied to the glass to be aware that scrubbing and rinse is thorough.

An extra pass may be required the higher you go or the amount of debris on the glass.

If working above 3 stories is where the benefit of lighter and stiffer poles comes into play. Less weight tranfers to less effort which helps with fatigue. Pole stiffness helps at the higher working lenghts with control and direct pressure that is being applied to the glass.

Poles that are less stiff will wear out faster to just with the constant flexing.

Pole selection is very important the higher you go.

Many times I find myself not even extending the thinnest pole section, #1, because it is the most flimsey.


Thanks for the additional tips Jeff! Yeah, I plan on getting a gardiner xtream 47 with some additions, unless of course WCR comes up with a longer xero ultimate. I would try to get that one first then. :smile:


Just by doing them. I have done buildings with recessed windows and at 3rd and higher
you can only tell by feel if you’re even at the bottom of the window, can’t see it. Can’t see how well you’re cleaning either so in the beginning there is a lot of going inside to check your work or if there is an inside guy having him look. Practce, practice, practice.
I also learned by trial and error not to stand too close to the building as it makes it more difficult to control the pole and you can’t put as much pressure on the glass. I love rinse bars because the brush never leaves the glass till you move to the next window. Of course there is learning there too because you have to know how close you can get to the top frame without wetting it and the higher you go the harder it gets to tell. Do a lot of one and two story stuff to get your basics down. The higher I go I tend to over-scrub and over-rinse just to be sure. Had a job a few years ago, 5-6 floors and the uppers had something on them that would not come off with wfp, so we had to get a lift and use a scraper, so there’s that too…