You Won’t Believe What It Takes to Maintain the 55,000 Square Feet of White House Property
The White House doesn’t take care of itself. One day it may be a smart house cared for by robots but for now, the White House requires people to maintain the house and grounds. Find out what it takes to maintain the White House’s 55,000 square feet, ahead.
The White House by the numbers:
- Annual cost of maintenance is $750,000 – $1.6 million
- Painting the White House’s exterior requires 570 gallons of paint
- Paint alone would cost more than $20,000
- 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators
- Current estimated value is $398,705,319
The White House is more like a mansion
We know it as the White House but the truth is, the sheer size of the “house” is closer to that of a mansion. Frankly, calling it a house is a gross understatement. 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and three kitchens comprise the White House, according to Money.com.
Hint: Contractors and subcontractors are hired.
Who takes care of the White House
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) oversees maintenance in the White House. More specifically, the Public Building Service division of the GSA, handles maintenance. “It’s an enormous job. GSA is assigned to manage that job,” former General Services Administration Inspector General Brian Miller, told NBC News4 Washington. “GSA hires contractors and subcontractors for the work. Then the agency must watch over the contractors.”
Hint: As a historic building, the White House requires constant upkeep.
The historic building requires lots of work
Construction began on the White House is 1792, according to the White House. Since then, modernizations have been made but each one requires additional attention and care. “Any of us who have old houses know old houses need a lot of work,” Brian Miller, the former GSA Inspector General, told NBC News4 Washington.
Hint: Public Building Service do maintenance work at more than 30 buildings.
They maintain many buildings
The Public Building Service division handles maintenance at other buildings in the Washington, D.C., area. In addition to maintenance work on the White House, “Public Building Service manages building maintenance and repairs for about 9,000 federal government facilities, including at least 31 in the District of Columbia,” according to NBC News4 Washington.
Hint: Everything in the White House must be handled with care.
Maintenance has offices next to White House
GSA has offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House “because of the high volume of maintenance requests the agency receives,” Miller said. The White House requires lots of TLC. “Even wallpaper and paints must be protected and handled with special care,” Miller said.
Hint: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is home to a national park.
The White House is part of a national park
The White House is part of the national park, President’s Park. The park encompasses the White House and grounds. The park has two trails, one north and one south, of the White House, according to the National Park Service. Most importantly, the park’s 18 acres, must be maintained.
Hint: The White House gets infested with bugs.
Insects find a new home in the White House
Work orders obtained by NBCNews4 “found cockroaches in at least four different places on the White House grounds,” and “ants in the White House chief of staff’s office.” Shortly after Donald Trump took office, work orders were placed for pest control. Remember, the White House is an old building with quirks. An ant problem will happen from time to time.
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Read more: Here’s How Much It Actually Costs to Decorate the White House