Many important historic buildings include stonework of some kind, ranging from traditional brickwork to ornate balustrades or decorative stone sculptures.
Unfortunately, this exterior stonework will naturally deteriorate over time through exposure to the elements, which can result in discolouration.
The rate of decline can be accelerated by factors including general wear and tear, pollution, or damp and humid weather conditions allowing moisture to build up in the stonework, resulting in the growth of mosses, algae and lichen.
Many buildings will show initial signs of stone deterioration which, if carefully monitored, will not immediately cause major problems but, when left unchecked, could result in irreversible damage, leading to large areas needing to be replaced for reasons of safety, to maintain structural integrity, or to retain the character of the property.
At Farcroft, our expert stonemasons work to reverse the deterioration of exterior stonework before it reaches this point, restoring its former appearance through careful stone cleaning, before applying specialist protective finishes that ensure a long-lasting result.
Preventative conservation requires careful planning and preparation before any action is taken.
Our stonework conservation experts approach each project with fresh eyes, seeking to devise a strategic conservation plan that will result in the best possible outcome.
First, we conduct an initial survey which looks at the type of stone and the environmental factors that affect it, including where it is located, pollution control and visitor management.
Next, we may carry out a test clean to reveal the condition of the stone, which will allow us to determine the extent of the measures that will be required, including if any restoration work will be needed.
Only once these preparatory steps have been completed can we progress to treatments such as stone cleaning, desalination, consolidation and the application of protective surface coatings.
Our team is experienced with working with all types, ages and conditions of stone, and this experience allows them to select the optimum, non-abrasive cleaning method for each individual property or stonework feature.
Whether employing physical or chemical stone cleaning, the utmost care is taken to ensure the cleaning methods, techniques and equipment used deliver the best aesthetic results without harming the integrity of the stone.
Thanks to developments in materials over the centuries, it is now possible to better protect stonework against the elements, and to delay its deterioration.
Once it is clean and uncontaminated, we can apply protective finishes that effectively seal the stone, preventing it from becoming stained, discolouring, and the growth of vegetation like moss, algae or lichen.
Some finishes can last up to 15 years, allowing stone buildings and decorative stone features to retain their beauty and impact for longer.