Stone can be an excellent exterior material for a professional office building or a residential structure. If your building is in the middle of the city, a stone exterior or facade can help separate it from all of the steel and glass structures nearby. In more suburban business parks, stone can be a nice touch to help your building complement its natural surroundings better.
While stone looks great when it’s first installed, it won’t stay that way without proper care. Environmental factors, weather and human-caused problems can quickly lead to stone faces that are stained, broken or corroded. Make sure this doesn’t happen to your building, and if it does ensure you nip it in the bud. Here are a few things that everyone should know about maintaining their exterior stone.
What causes damage to exterior stone?
Like glass, metal and any other part of you building, stone is vulnerable to the the elements. Rain and air pollution are a few of the leading causes of trouble for stone building exteriors.
Air and rain both carry a number of pollutants and minerals that can damage stone over time. For example, chemicals such as sulfates that are carried to the stone from air and rain can create acidic mixtures that slowly eat away at the stone. Left alone, this corrosion can damage both the appearance and function of your stone exterior, exposing other parts to the elements.
Similar issues occur with salts in the rain or the stone itself, where untreated or improperly installed stone eventually becomes stained and damaged by salt. Water penetrates the stone, then over time, brings the minerals to the surface, ruining the clean appearance of your building.
Snow and ice also cause problems for stone. If the stone has not been sealed correctly or maintained, ice can get into cracks and behind the stone where it freezes and thaws, moving the stone and allowing water into the metal behind it. This can lead to metal corrosion as well. Additionally. exterior metal that’s improperly maintained can also create problems for your exterior stone by leading minerals such as rust onto the stone and causing long-term damage.
“Water is a major culprit of stone damage.”
Other common stone problems are related to human error. This includes everything from improperly installed panels that allow water in and poor caulk work to graffiti. Drainage problems can also play a major role in stone damage, especially if the drainage system is working improperly and leaking water onto the stonework.
How to prevent these stone problems
The key to maintaining a stone exterior is to strike early, maintain the building regularly and protect it from future damage. Some of the most damaging and expensive repairs for exterior stone come from people neglecting their maintenance duties and allowing a small stain to corrode an entire stone.
Instead, everything from limestone to granite veneers should be washed and restored regularly. Talk to Clean and Polish Building Solutions about how to get your building cleaned, restored and protected for the future. While every cleaning project is different, here are a few of the typical steps involved with stone exteriors on buildings:
- Examining the building – Before anyone can start cleaning or restoring, they have to assess where the biggest issues are. They’ll look to see if damage is just on the surface or goes significantly deeper. If serious damage is identified, repairs may be needed.
- Developing a cleaning plan – Based on the extent of the damage and the type of stone, different cleaning methods are best. For example, many facade stones are very sensitive to acid-based cleaners. Clean and Polish will know the right type of cleaner to use, even if its just high-pressure water. Cleaning will help get rid of the aesthetic damage.
- Restoring the stone – Some stone may need to be restored with buffing, polishing or other stone work. This step is important to getting your building back to looking the way you want it to.
- Protecting for the future – Once your stone exterior looks the way that it should, you need to protect it from further damage. Clean and Polish will focus on sealing the stone, to prevent water from getting in. This helps prevent rust, water damage, ice heaves and salt deposits. Caulking and sealing cracks and gaps near the stone is also critical.
- Schedule regular maintenance – Stone needs to be cleaned regularly, so schedule future work now to avoid much more costly long-term repairs. Often ongoing cleaning is simpler and easier on the stone than larger cleaning projects. Typically water is used.
If you’re trying to maintain a stone exterior or facade, make sure you’re protected. Reach out Clean and Polish about cleaning today.