The modern construction industry has come a long way, and it would be incongruous to discuss it without taking a look at its history. Stonemasonry is one of the most ancient trades in the history of the construction world and it is highly revered because building stone is a remarkably durable material. However, no building material lasts forever and building stone is no different. Over time, stone will succumb to the beat down of building use, natural erosion and exposure to unfavourable weather conditions.
Let us take a look at how modern stone buildings can be protected against these elements in order to have an extended lifespan.
Hydrophobisation of stone
Moisture and salts dissolved in water are one of the major cause of deterioration in stone buildings. One of the practical ways to damp-proof stone masonry and increase its durability is through hydrophobisation. This involves the impregnation of an invisible, water-resistant, non-film (breathable) protection system on the surface of the stonework. The major upside of hydrophobic impregnation is that the material is preserved without having to compromise its aesthetics. Some of the most commonly used hydrophobising agents include silicones, soaps, waxes, and synthetic resins. It is important to note that not all hydrophobising agents work the same way, as they have different properties.
Rendering of stone
Rain and the natural force of wind can blow away loose stone particles and thus cause erosion of stone masonry. Rendering or stucco coating is another effective way to protect the exterior walls of a stone building from quick deterioration. However, unlike with hydrophobic impregnation, the stonework will be hidden under the render. Traditionally, rendering meant applying a smooth exterior finish on stonework. But today, it is not uncommon to see stone rendered to give a coarse exterior finish. The rendering basically acts to buffer the underlying stone from the harsh elements of weather.
Cleaning of stone
While cleaning of building stone is usually done to restore the aesthetics of the material by removing surface dirt and deposits, it can also help preserve the material. If left unattended, mould, mildew and other microorganisms can grow on moist-laden stone over time and lead to deterioration of the material. Armed with the right cleaning products, equipment and techniques, stonemasons will remove the unwanted elements from the surface of stone, thus prolonging its lifespan. If appropriately performed, water washing with a pressure washer can effectively remove efflorescence from the surface of stone, for example.
If you'd like to protect your stonemason wall or add this beautiful and sturdy material to a part of your home, reach out to a modern stonemason.