Our New Custom Built Sandstone, Brick, & Render Cleaning Machine.

In this video we introduce you to our new TOY!

It would appear that cold pressurised water is the local commonly used method  for cleaning sandstone. Blasting high pressure and high velocity cold water at your home often damages the masonry.

How it works.

With our new custom built machine we can deliver low pressure, hot water, and steam to the surface of your sandstone, brick, or render allowing us to clean more efficiently and prevent saturation and thermal shock of the masonry. In addition, the combination of hot water and steam not only  removes common algae but kills the spores. Again due to the combination of steam and hot water other common airborne particulate pollutants are effectively dissolved and removed.

We have had excellent results with this machine and are pleased to provide superior cleaning while continuing protect and preserve the integrity of your sandstone!

Period Property Damp Proofing in Ayrshire

Hello again and a big THANK YOU to those clients who left reviews for us at Yell.com and Google, it is very much appreciated…especially the good ones!

As you can see, we have been doing a variety of Sandstone Restoration and Period Property Damp Proofing works over the past month or so. We managed to make a short video of what we refer to as ‘bridging’, or essentially the transference of moisture from the outer Sandstone Wall (in this case a Red Sandstone Gable) to the damp bubbling wallpaper on the inside wall. I hope that between the video and the photos you can get an idea of what is going on and also the importance of maintaining the gap and airflow between the exterior sandstone facade and the interior plaster and lath/wallboard.

If you look closely you may be able to see the extent to which the Red Sandstone of the Gable located directly behind the fireplace was eroded on the inside. This is to do with a reaction with the traditional fossil fuels. This internal erosion of the red sandstone is a great example of what happens in flues and why when you see deteriorated stone on a Gable in the vicinity of the flues or where they converge below the main chimney stack,your potential contractor should be waving a red flag and know enough to point out that there is a strong possibility that those masonry units may not support a surface repair and may, for the sake of the structural integrity and longevity of your building, have to be replaced. Hence, the reason why we have a large quantity of recycled and new sandstone on hand and also why we always appraise potential clients of this possibility and potential additional costs. That policy may not be what people wish to hear and it has possibly lost us some business in the past, to the ‘cheaper’, or ‘fixed price’, bid. However, personally I prefer to be informed of potential issues, correct remedies and potential additional costs, when I am not informed in advance and issues arise, I wonder why I was not informed ?

We have also been busy doing a ‘sympathetic red sandstone clean and restoration’, on Quail Road in Prestwick. The client had seen us working on two other buildings on Prestwick Shore Front and selected us based on the outcome. They had done their homework and decided that they wished to restore and preserve as much original character of their house as possible. Not only because this really is the best policy but also because they wished to preserve the integrity of the Terrace of which their Facade is a part. ‘Finished’, photos will be posted but you can see from these photos the level of care we take to protect your property during the sandstone restoration process. The results we aim to achieve, and the measures being taken to ensure the correct environment during the pointing process, with the hessian in place deflecting the wind as required. If you wish to read the owners thoughts on our work have a look at our latest Google review.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to the team at Owen Kerr Signs for yet another great van sign writing job, its a pleasure to do business with the best!

Red Sandstone Facade Restoration

Hello Everyone,

Just an update on the progress of the Red Sandstone Facade Restoration we are presently undertaking. As you can see from the photo (Before and frame) we have our dust retention and weather proofing ‘Tent’, frame in place which also allows us to hang the all important hessian tarpaulins to protect the mortar during the initial set and cure period.

You can see that the Facade has undergone the usual cement repairs and cement pointing. I would suggest that the vortex effect of the wind around the ‘downpipe area’, has increased the rate of erosion in that area and also saturation of the stone caused by leaks from the previous defective gutters. Talking of gutters, you can buy original specification cast iron gutters, aluminum or plastic but we also have a simple and non invasive procedure that ensures your original cast iron gutters will no longer leak.

The combination of excessive moisture in the stone and cement repairs had caused the surface of the stone and the stone under the repairs to deteriorate severely. However, we had more than sufficient depth of stone and a few test patches showed that if we removed between 15mm and 20mm, we would most likely come to ‘sound’, stable stone. So in consultation with the clients, the decision was made to do minimal repair and preserve as much original stone as possible.

Photo B2 shows the ‘downpipe area’, once the previous repairs, cement pointing mortar and friable surface stone has been removed. You can also see that we have ‘dressed back’, to a sound substrate and sufficient depth two of the masonry units, in preparation for our own lime mortar pointing and sandstone repairs. B2 (Stone dressed and surface repairs prepared) shows the Ashlar to the right of the door. The window sill shows the natural grain of the stone looking beautiful and exposed once more.

The Mullions had not had many repairs done to them however, the surface of the stone was delaminating and eroded. In addition the stone had absorbed a lot of atmospheric carbon over the years. Picture B2 (Carbon Traces) shows the traces of Carbon just below the untreated surface. Pictre B2 (Carbon Exposed) shows the carbon that was lurking a few mm under the surface of the stone. In this case as mentioned before the Mullions were suffering from delaminating and friable stone so in order to restore the masonry units we continued to the depth shown in picture B2 (Depth stone is dressed back to remove carbon). Picture B2 (Work in progress) is exactly as advertised!

Once we had dressed back the stone it then became time to work on the ‘finish’, of the surface. The video shows the sandstone being ‘ buffed/polished’, whilst at the same time using a spirit level to ensure that the surfaces of the Ashlar stone are plumb and flat. The final stage of smoothing the finish stone is being done by ‘hand rubbing’, ensuring all the swirl marks are removed from the buff stage and that the arises are straight and true.

Then onto sandstone repair. The stone edge under the replacement gutters had been badly damaged by the deterioration of previous repair materials. Again the stone was dressed back to a sound substrate. The preparation was the same depth for the entire length of the facade to ensure an even aesthetic appearance. Photo B2 (Repair Preparation) shows two of the team ‘backfilling’, the repair area with Intercromex, prior to the application of strips of render mesh (to prevent a crack developing where the stone and repair product meet) and the colored top coating of ST One (Lithomex). Photo B2 render mesh shows the strips of render mesh being ‘pressed back’, into the Intercromex backfill, mutiple strips were layered to increase strngth and longevity of the repair.

That is it with the update on the Red Sandstone Facade Restoration. Other repairs and the pointing have been done, it is presently tucked up underneath its hessian tarpaulins and the ‘Finished’, photo will be on its way soon.

Meanwhile….a Traditional Build Damp Proofing taste : Look what we found in the fireplace! It certainly was not Santa and I don’t think even Santa could have got down this ‘moisture wicking and bridging’, debris packed chimney! Hard to believe that the moisture had ‘bridged’, from the outer Sandstone Gable, through the debris, a single brick wall and coat of cement…but it had and the wallpaper simply peeled off!

Photo D1- bricked up fireplace and plaster lath, note how easily the wallpaper has come off.
Photo D2-The stick is held across the top of the debris and touching the Red Sandstone of the Gable Wall. The stick shows the depth of debris that had accumulated, the Red Sandstone was damp to the touch. Photo D3- Taken at an angle up the chimney flue showing the Red Sandstone of the Gable.

More information and photos to follow as the job progresses!

Thanks for reading and see you soon!
The team at Sandstone Solutions.

Our First Blog Post | Sandstone Solutions

Hello and a Very Special Welcome to our Friends and Fellow Aficionados of Sandstone Restoration and Preservation. It has finally arrived! The very first Sandstone Solutions Blog and irrefutable proof that our lead times are not because we are holidaying but because we are busy doing the best at what you employ us for!

This week we have moved from Seabank Road in Prestwick (where we completed our second complete sandstone facade restoration and our 9th elevation on Seabank Road to date) to Bellevue Crescent, Ayr.

As with Seabank Road we have been regular fixtures on Bellevue Crescent over the years and to date have completed 2 Chimneys (1 Sandstone, 1 brick) 2 Bay Window facades, 2 full Front Elevation Facades and 3 Gables.

As with many of the masonry works we do the Sandstone Restorations have involved aspects of Stone Repair, Sandstone Replacement, Lime mortar pointing and Stone cleaning.

The photos attached to this blog show a Sandstone Chimney repair we did over 4 years ago. The original stone was ground and buffed to a smooth surface, the naturally eroded masonry units were stabilized and repaired using Lime Repair products, the chimney was then pointed in with the appropriate lime mortar. We also removed all the defective cement mortar from the sandstone Gable joints, gave the stone a light clean and re-pointed with the appropriate lime mortar and aggregate mix. Thus, allowing the sandstone joints to function correctly again. The use of the correct size aggregate and pinning stones ensuring the structural integrity of the wall/Gable.

The bay window facade was also completed 4 years ago. The stone was eroded and had been repaired and pointed with cement. The cement pointing mortar was removed. The stone was ground back and buffed to a smooth surface. some small surface stone repairs were made and the elevation was again pointed with Lime Mortar. The windows had also been replaced with wooden windows allowing us to seal them to the sandstone using the traditional formulation of burnt sand mastic.

The scaffold is in place because we have been asked to point the brick chimney. I do not believe this was the original chimney there was evidence that it was a replacement. However it had fared well and was originally pointed with a lime mortar. Excellent news because once we had removed the cement ‘repointing’, mortar, given the chimney a fungicidal wash and rinse, we were then able to repoint the chimney and haunch the chimney pots with the appropriate NHL Lime mortar.

Fortunately throughout the past week we had mostly dry and temperate (for the time of year!) weather. However, our Hessian Tarpaulins were in evidence protecting our work during the initial set and cure period.

I am pleased to announce that we have a very happy client who has engaged us to do further stone repair work and a complete Lime mortar re-point of the Gable in Spring 2020.

We are now in Ardrossan where we will be doing a Sandstone Restoration on the attached photographed Red Sandstone Facade. As you can see it has undergone a mish mash of various types of repairs over the years. However, the present owners have done their home work and decided that a full restoration is in order. I hope you check back in a couple of weeks to see how we got on!

Meanwhile please peruse our galleries and if you have any questions please get in touch.

Best Wishes
The Sandstone Solutions Team.