Stone is one of the oldest and most versatile building materials. Its use ranges from providing essential support and protection to sophisticated embellishment. There is an enormous ranges of different stones, methods of working and uses, which contributes to our architectural heritage. In the UK, much of the Province’s built heritage is constructed of stone – castles, churches, cathedrals, stately homes, houses and cottages, all use this material in a vast variety of ways and styles.
Practical Building Conservation: Stone answers various questions and offers practical advice and accepted methodologies for preserving historical buildings (giving that some methods, although very effective, can have irreversible outcomes), like what are the correct treatments for stained stone walls, stonework pointing, mortar composition, how the stone cleaning should be done once the investigation regarding the necessary repairing is concluded, why use the non-abrasive and non-chemical soaps (can result in hastened decay) etc.
Whichever type of wall it is, says Rachel Preston Prinz, it is critical to get a professional Architectural Preservationist involved. Building conservation is expensive, ugly (scaffolding) and time-consuming, but it is the right thing to do to preserve the historic fabric. The book explains the main processes responsible for stone deterioration and provides methods to identify symptoms of stone decay and suggests possible causes whilst also suggesting a range of conservation treatments and repair methods.
You can read a book excerpt provided by Ashgate Publishing below or download it from their website (PDF):
Historic ruins differ from intact historic buildings in ways that can make them challenging even to experienced historic building surveyors. Deprived or partly deprived of roofs and floors and with damaged walls whose cores are exposed to the weather, they behave differently to complete buildings and have different needs. Not everything is as it seems. Earlier interventions may have kept some of the building standing so that fractured, leaning, bulging and overhanging masonry may have been consolidated. Conversely some bulging and cracking or water movement in walls may indicate recent problems that require new intervention. It is usually the case that replacement of fabric will have been absolutely minimal and consolidation work will have been contrived to be visually unobtrusive and may therefore be difficult to identify. In many cases, the whole of a ‘ruin’ site is of extreme archaeological sensitivity and may be of considerable ecological importance: these factors increasingly dictate what is possible and permissible and the manner in which any proposed work is carried out.