Few exteriors are more iconic or evoke feelings of the past than limestone. The look is a combination of artistry and craftsmanship.
You may have a historic building or a more up-to-date structure with a limestone façade. Whatever the age, there are many things you can do to protect the integrity of the stone.
A combination of natural elements and time can have a significant impact on limestone. Limestone is both porous and soft.
One common issue is surface erosion, especially in areas with acidic rain.
Staining is also a challenge. Because limestone is porous, residue from oil and other agents can easily stain the stone.
Limestone is easily scratched as well. Long-term exposure to natural elements and moisture infiltration can degrade the stone to a point of compromising its structural integrity.
Other problems can include flaking, spalling, and rising dampness. Depending on the specific issue, you may need to replace stones, repoint the wall, or damp proof it.
Numerous techniques can be used to clean limestone, and it is essential that a skilled professional undertake this task. Because of the delicate nature of the stone, cleaning should remove debris but not be abrasive to the stone.
Acid-based cleaners should be avoided. Generally, water and a mild detergent are enough to clean the stone. Before any cleaning takes place, areas in need of restoration or replacement should be fixed.
Because limestone repair can be costly, a preventative maintenance plan is essential. This plan can be as simple as routinely inspecting the stone for cracks, discoloration, flaking, chipping, or erosion.
If you notice water standing around the edges of a limestone wall, it is also essential to correct the drainage problem. Runoff should be rerouted to prevent the limestone from soaking up water.
Limestone is beautiful and iconic. Proper restoration, cleaning, and maintenance will ensure your limestone structure lasts for years to come.