How The Weather Can Affect Stonemasonry

How The Weather Can Affect Stonemasonry

September 28, 2020 9:19 pm

There’s not a huge amount that can be done about the effect that weather has on buildings around the UK, since weathering is continual and we can’t control the elements… and generally speaking, weather itself won’t threaten the overall structure of a site particularly.

However, there are some weathering elements that can be very damaging to stonework indeed, such as salt weathering. Salt is a naturally occurring mineral in our atmosphere but in urban areas and other places with high levels of pollution, the concentration of these salts can increase.

Where weathering on limestone is seen, for example, this is usually down to gypsum, or calcium sulphate – which is produced by a reaction between pollutants and the limestone itself.

When the stone gets wet, salt (which is soluble) can make its way into the stone and then either forms crystals on the surface or inside. This then dislodges grains of stone or results in scaling and flaking.

The effects of weather are greatly exacerbated by air pollution but thanks to Clean Air Acts around the world, lower levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide are helping to protect the facades of buildings.

However, degradation and blackening still occurs, with sandstone, marble and limestone all more vulnerable than the likes of granite, which is better able to withstand acidity.

There is work that can be undertaken to help protect buildings and restore them to their former glory, so all is not yet lost if you have noticed damage being done. Get in touch with Kent stone restoration company EB Sculpture today to find out how we can help keep your buildings in good condition now and well into the future.