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How to Clean a Listed Stone Building the Right Way - DOFF Stone Cleaning

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, stone or masonry is very delicate. This means it can easily be damaged by jet washing, harsh chemicals and other unsuitable cleaning processes. 

It is essential to select the right stone cleaning and restoration methods. This will protect the stone and masonry and leave a property looking as good as possible.


We are very thankful our teams have built up a considerable amount of experience cleaning listed buildings of all kinds. This makes 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 upon a building's surface. Discolouring of the stone or masonry can make the property appear dull and dirty. In some cases, graffiti is also a driving factor in having a building cleaned. 

Removing this built-up staining can make a dramatic difference to the façade of a property. The end results will be the property looking newer, better maintained and more impressive.


Carrying out regular exterior stone cleaning on the façade of a listed building helps prevent dirt and grime. The property's period features and charm will no longer be detracted from. It also ensures that the building is kept in good condition and adequately preserved for future generations.


What listed building cleaning methods are available? 


It is crucial to use appropriate cleaning methods on these properties. Stone and masonry can become fragile and brittle over time. 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. 


Standard brick and stone cleaning techniques can damage the substrate. Usually, this will happen to old stone and brickwork due to its soft and fragile nature. It may result in an uneven, patchy finish. Our experienced teams always select the best cleaning method to prevent damage and protect the underlying stone or masonry.

In most cases, this involves using the DOFF system. The DOFF system effectively removes staining and discolouration from both brick and masonry. It has been specially developed to remove dirt and grime without damaging the underlying stone or 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 can 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 removing carbon sulphation, brittle paints, limescale and other forms of discolouration.


P.A.S.T and Doff combined


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 site 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 dirt and grime might leave on the façade. 


This four-stage process is gentle on stone and masonry but tough on dirt and grime. 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 built up on a building's surface. Our teams can carry out this work quickly and efficiently to leave the façade of a listed building looking like new. 


Improved access


Combining the DOFF system with our own patented process allows us to access almost all parts of a building’s exterior. It also allows us to carry out thorough brick and stone cleaning without the need for scaffolding. Erecting scaffolding is often the most expensive and tedious part of listed building stone cleaning. Our system minimises costs to the client and helps projects proceed quickly. 


Instead of scaffolding, our teams use rope access to reach all corners of a façade. Abseiling methods make our operatives a lot more flexible. They are able 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. This gives us the extra reach and the additional flexibility needed to clean listed buildings thoroughly and affordably.


Once work is complete on the masonry or stone cleaning, we send a detailed report to the client containing images and videos of the work. It can be difficult for clients to inspect our work due to access issues. We find 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 tremendous 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. Please do not 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.


Michael Blowman, Business Development Director 

Michael’s 50 years of experience in the engineering and surveying industry allows him to provide an experienced, scientific eye and consult on historic preservation.


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