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How to clean a listed stone/masonry building the right way
Cleaning stone or masonry on listed buildings is not always easy. More often than not, the stone or masonry is very delicate. This means it can easily be damaged by jet washing, harsh chemicals and other inappropriate cleaning processes. In order to protect the stone and masonry, and leave a property looking as good as possible, it is important to select the right stone cleaning and restoration methods for the job.
Luckily, our teams have built up a huge amount of experience cleaning listed buildings of all kinds, making Spectrum the perfect choice for your project.
Why is it important to clean your listed building properly?
There are lots of reasons why you might want to clean stone and masonry on a listed building. Over time, grime and pollution can build up on the surface of a building, discolouring the stone or masonry and making the property appear dull and dirty. Removing this built-up staining can make a dramatic difference to the façade of a property, helping it to look newer, better maintained and more impressive. In some cases, graffiti is also a driving factor in having a building cleaned.
Carrying out regular exterior stone cleaning on the façade of a listed building helps to prevent dirt and grime detracting from the period features and charm of the property. It also helps to ensure that the building is kept in good condition and properly preserved for future generations.
What listed building cleaning methods are available?
As stone and masonry can become fragile and brittle over time, it is incredibly important to use appropriate cleaning methods on these types of properties. A lot of listed buildings have intricate stone carvings and brickwork. Protecting these is often key to preserving the character and integrity of the building.
As old stone and brickwork can be soft and fragile, using standard brick and stone cleaning techniques can cause damage to the substrate and may result in an uneven, patchy finish. In order to prevent damage and protect the underlying stone or masonry, our experienced teams always select the best cleaning method for the job. In most cases, this involves using the DOFF system. Specially developed to remove dirt and grime without damaging the underlying stone or masonry, the DOFF system effectively and efficiently removes staining and discolouration from both brick and masonry.
Unlike other cleaning systems, DOFF machines use low pressure jets of superheated water to clean stone and masonry. The water used in the process reaches temperatures of more than 150˚C. This high temperature means that DOFF machines are able to remove dirt and grime using low pressure jets of water. This protects the substrate while thoroughly cleaning stone and masonry on the façade.
Another method commonly used by stone cleaning experts is the TORC system. An evolution of the Jos system, TORC is suitable for the removal of carbon sulphation, brittle paints, limescale and other forms of discolouration.
P.A.S.T and Doff combined
In order to make the DOFF system even more effective, Spectrum has adapted it for use with our patented P.A.S.T cleaning process. Our P.A.S.T system has four stages: preparation, application, steam and targeted treatment. First, our operatives prepare the area for cleaning. They then apply a specially selected biocide to the area to kill mould, algae and other organic substances. When the area has been fully prepped, our teams use the DOFF system to remove dirt and grime. They then apply targeted treatment to any heavy staining that might be left on the façade.
This four-stage process is gentle on stone and masonry but tough on dirt and grime. This means the substrate is protected throughout the process and ensures the building looks as good as possible when the work is complete.
By combining these two methods, we’re able to remove virtually all dirt and grime that’s built up on the surface of a building. Our teams are able to carry out this work quickly and efficiently to leave the façade of a listed building looking like new.
Another benefit of combing the DOFF system with our own patented process is that it allows us to access almost all parts of a building’s exterior, and carrying out thorough brick and stone cleaning, without the need for scaffolding. As erecting scaffolding is often the most expensive and time consuming part of listed building stone cleaning, this helps to minimise costs to the client and helps projects to proceed quickly.
Instead of scaffolding, our teams use rope access to reach all corners of a façade. Using abseiling makes our operatives a lot more flexible and enables them to clean parts of a building that would otherwise be impossible to access. This approach is only possible thanks to our patented, innovative cleaning equipment. It is this that gives us the extra reach and the extra flexibility needed to clean listed buildings thoroughly and affordably.
Once work is complete on a masonry or stone cleaning London project, we send a detailed report to the client containing images and videos of the work carried out. Due to access issues, it can be difficult for clients to inspect our work, so we find that providing them with detailed photos and videos is a great way to demonstrate just how thorough our operatives are.
Experience and expertise
Over the years, our teams have gained a huge amount of experience cleaning and restoring listed buildings. From removing graffiti from crumbling stonework to cleaning algae, mould and staining from Victorian masonry, we’re able to clean every type of surface and restore a building to its former glory quickly and easily. Our teams are based in London but work on properties all over the country, so don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your project.
If you manage a listed building and are looking for ways to improve its appearance and preserve its façade, we can help. Search ‘stone cleaning services near me’ or explore our site to find out more.
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