Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Types of Cleaning

There are various methods when cleaning stonework and we will look at the following cleaning methods / techniques in more depth.
·         Abrasive cleaning
·         Water cleaning
·         Chemical cleaning
·         Applying poultices
·         Steam pressure cleaning
·         Manual Cleaning
·         Laser Cleaning
·         Ultrasonic Cleaning
·         Biocides

Thursday, 1 March 2012

What you should consider before cleaning?

Seeking advice and Survey
Before carrying out stone cleaning on any natural stone it is advised to seek professional advice and to have a survey conducted by an experienced person.  This will then allow you to obtain the right method of cleaning for the type of stonework that is to be cleaned. It is also a good idea to carry out cleaning samples to help identify the best method of cleaning for you’re building.
There are many different methods of cleaning that can used and we will be considering the advantage and disadvantages of each method in this blog. If an inappropriate method of cleaning is used then the results may be disappointing and at worse cause irreversible damage to the stonework and even harm the structural integrity of the building.
You should also be aware that the cleaning process may well highlight defects in the stone that will need to be repaired and once the cleaning has been carried out a further survey should be conducted to ascertain the extent of these repairs.
Seeking permission
You may require permission to clean the building and depending on location will help you decide who you seek permission from, it could be local authority or, Wales - CADW, England – English Heritage and Scotland – Historic Scotland.  If it is a rental property you may need to seek permission from the owner.
Health and Safety
Health and safety is crucial to any stone cleaning project.  The company employed to carry out the works must provide you with;
·         A method statement,
·         A risk assessment,
·         COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) sheets, as it is a legal requirement to control the use of chemicals, fumes, dusts and biological agents.
The effects on the environment must also be considered while carrying out cleaning.  It may not always be effective to use an environmentally, friendly cleaning material.  So great care must be taken to control the use, dispose of waste and control the use of water.
Examples of other works
When employing a contractor to carry out stone cleaning to your building, I would advise using a reputable stonemasonry company as they would have the required knowledge and experience.  I would seek references or examples of previous similar works to allow you to make a more informed decision.

Why you should clean Natural Stonework

People / companies decide to clean Natural Stone Buildings and Monuments for a number of reasons;
·         It could be a building with historical interest or distinctive architecture and used for public viewing.
·         To allow the building to reflect its original design.
·         To improve the appearance of the building, as by having a clean stone building, it will in turn reflect a good company image. 
·         Prevent the deterioration of a building and maintain its condition.
It is important to carry out cleaning of natural stone as over time stone buildings can attract dirt, algae and lichens.  If these are to collect on open joints and cracked stonework, over time it is likely to disguise the need for repairs.  This can be unsightly, cause deterioration of the building and increase the extensiveness of repairs.  It can also speed the deterioration process up by trapping water into the building and preventing it from escaping. 

Monday, 27 February 2012

Introduction to Stone Cleaning

This is my new blog about stone cleaning.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be considering the topic, cleaning of stone buildings.

The blog will look into how you can identify when natural stone requires cleaning, the various methods of cleaning stone and most importantly what people seem to miss, which is the do's and dont's of cleaning stone work.

In the meantime if you have any questions, please comment and I will get back to you.

Stone cleaning of blue lias and bath stone, in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan