A Helpful Guide on how to clean stone in the UK
An introduction to stone and its many uses.
Stone can come in many different shapes and sizes, Its been used in building since the Earlie days. Egyptians used stone to build the pyramids and various structures throughout the world are made from stone.
Stone comes in many forms from Super hard stone such as Basalt which is a very hard volcanic rock that can easily be compared to granite. To the sand stone which in m any cases can be pourus and sensitive, There are many different types of variations of stone..
Each with its unique make up which is ideal for building materials, Stone can be used on roofs as roof tiles such as Cotswold stone, in the UK Limestone and Sandstone are the most Widley used building materials used.
As you know many homes are constructed with Stone and mortar, when these are combined your home can become a warm safe place which will stand up against all weathers and intrusion however over time Microorganisms can start to grow on the surface of your home or building. These microorganisms have ben growing on stone for thousands of years, homes in the UK are taking over our landscapes so these microorganisms need to land somewhere which is often our roofs or the walls of our homes. Render is often used in modern building which makes an ideal place for Fungus to take hold. Stone walls also have a similar problem, In warmer damp climates algae first starts to take a grip which at this stage can be relatively easy to treat with a SoftWash Treatment however if left to grow over time this can turn into moss and Lichens. These things occasionally can be seen in nature. If left untreated these growths can start to damage the face of the stone and cause expensive damage to your home.
How can you prevent Moss and Lichens from invading your home?
The Short answer to that is you cannot, you can only manage the problem with regular planned maintenance using the correct equipment, suppliers and chemicals to kill the root of these fungus.
Quite often if left in the wrong hands you can cause more damage then good when trying to deal with these problems. Also, some stone can be harder to get to? How high is the area your trying to clean can you clean and treat the stone from ground level? These are the things you need to be asking yourself. It’s really important to research these things to treat your stone in a safe way.
Many people think that pressure washing is a good idea. But let me stop you there. Water actually feeds fungus. Its very similar to watering a plant. If you water a plant it will grow but if you put a weed killer down its more likely to die. Fungus is similar to a plant and will require treatment to kill the root of the problem.
If you simply just pressure wash the area it will take the surface off the fungus leaving the root which will rapidly re-grow. You will never permanently be able to stop fungus growing, But Regular treatment cycles on your stone can keep the fungus at bay.
Pressure washing of stone can it really cause damage?
Pressure washing is not recommended for cleaning stone, however there is specialist Stone cleaning equipment suppliers out their which can be used such as stone health. The DOFF system although a very slow process used heat at 150 degrees steam at very low pressure which reduces the chance of damage to buildings drastically. The DOFF is used for Conservation and restoration, The DOFF is also English heritage approved system for the use of cleaning heritage sites and listed buildings so is a fantastic alternative to pressure washing.
“The DOFF System is unique in achieving temperatures up to 150 degrees at the nozzle end – making it a ‘superheated water system’. Designed and developed to effectively remove paint, biological matter and general dirt and grime without causing harm or shock to the substrate.”
When you need to clean your stone don’t just blast it with a pressure washer make sure to use correct methods especially with older buildings for long lasting Phenomenal results that won’t cause damage to the substrate.
For more info on cleaning your stone or even for FREE advice on your next project
please feel free to call on: 01452 301342