The House on Sandstone


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Rockmount is built in an abandoned quarry at the summit of Caldy Hill, a protected landscape of forest and heathland owned by the National Trust. The house straddles the quarry rock face and at one end projects out from the hillside above the estuary of the River Dee. Local sandstone walls enclose ground floor spaces, but the majority of the living and sleeping areas are at first floor, taking advantage of the spectacular views.

The house has a linear plan, with a more private annexe connected by a glazed bridge. The glazed, open plan living area, containing kitchen, dining and sunken snug contrasts with a massive concrete chimney sitting alongside the house. Many stone decay problems begin with the failure to maintain buildings. Regular inspection and repair of roofing leadwork, rainwater goods and underground drainage will help to prevent water from entering and saturating stonework. You should also look out for pointing missing between individual stones, as moss, grasses, small bushes and saplings may begin to grow in these gaps, damaging the structure further.

Historic buildings are expected to show signs of ageing :. Stone cleaning can remove the surface patina and lead to serious erosion. As a result, stone cleaning is generally reserved only for very heavy soiling. New cleaning techniques should also be treated with caution, although some are appropriate to use. The safest way to avoid the risk of damage to a sandstone building from any form of cleaning is simply not to clean in the first place.

When maintenance and repairs are needed, you should select a contractor who has the right technical knowledge, good craft skills and the ability to source and work with the right materials. Sandstone is prone to erosion if subjected to water and wind over time. Sandstone is a durable building material, but its appearance will change over time. Historic buildings are expected to show signs of ageing, including some soiling. Aged masonry surfaces often develop a natural patina, which is considered very valuable as it adds a sense of history and endurance to older structures. Stone cleaning may remove the surface patina, and a very old building that is cleaned excessively would look artificial and out of place — especially next to other historic buildings left untouched.

Biological growth will quickly re-establish and may even increase on newly cleaned buildings.

The House on Sandstone

Historic masonry should be appreciated for its natural patina, which comes with age and can add to its appearance. It may even protect surfaces from decay. Cleaning may sometimes be important for safety reasons, e. Or there may be conservation reasons for cleaning, e. But great care must be taken in considering whether or not to clean sandstone. Owners must also take into account the effect of cleaning on the street as a whole — particularly in terraces, crescents and squares. Piecemeal cleaning of grouped buildings has caused some of the worst visual effects.

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Find out about permissions for works such as stone cleaning. The only relatively safe physical cleaning technique involves manual brushing with a stiff bristle brush not wire and clean water. This can be quite effective in removing minor organic growth and loose surface dirt. Fortunately, the use of highly damaging abrasive techniques — including high and low pressure water washing, dry and wet grit blasting, and mechanical cleaning using rotating discs and brushes — has almost disappeared.

But unscrupulous contractors will still use such methods on occasion. Chemical methods involve applying a substance that reacts with the stone and any discolouration that exists on the surface. It is then removed, along with the soiling. Such techniques have often changed the affected building permanently. Most of these changes can also speed up stone decay. These have been in development since around , when new research backed up the belief that cleaning stone had previously caused extensive damage.

New techniques include latex poultices, the use of bacteria, and laser treatments. Past experience tells us we must exercise caution with any new approach, however. A thorough testing programme is a vital part of any planned cleaning project and will help when it comes to writing a detailed specification for contractors.

Category:Sandstone houses - Wikipedia

All information recorded during testing should be kept for reference, in case anything goes wrong with the work. Once cleaning has been decided upon, the next step is to select a suitably experienced contractor. You can ask to see photographs of previous work or to speak to other clients to check that a contractor has the right background.

Stone structures have been built in Scotland for over 5, years.


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When correctly used and maintained, stone is a sound, stable building material — as shown by our many prehistoric, medieval, Georgian and Victorian buildings. But all materials decay, and some types of stone deteriorate faster than others. Softer sandstones decay faster than harder sandstones, and they in turn decay faster than granite.

Stone is a natural and porous material, which can make it vulnerable to the effects of water. Many stone cleaning techniques once popular have since been proven to be very damaging, particularly to sandstone.

This because cleaning destroys the surface patina, which is a natural protective layer formed over time. In the worst cases, cleaning has sped up natural stone decay and erosion by 6 to 10 times. This is now adding greatly to the maintenance costs of affected buildings. But these impermeable materials will trap water behind the patch over time.

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Often the two materials fail where they were fixed together, and the applied repair may even fall off, creating a safety hazard. Applying synthetic materials is best avoided. This can occur from a variety of sources, including the laying of winter salt on pavements or roads beside buildings.


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Salt is soluble and so can be washed into the stone by rain and ground water. As the water evaporates, salt can be left inside the stone.

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When too much salt builds up in the stone, the salt crystals will exert pressure, causing the stone to break down. The result is a loose powdery surface with a white appearance. To help prevent this, winter salt should be applied well away from the stone courses near the ground. Unless sandstone has become loose or fractured, it can erode and decay to quite a depth before causing structural problems that will need attention.

It can, however, look unsightly. Each wall face should be structurally sound and effective in stopping water from getting into the building.

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Joey lived at the house for five years, from the age of fourteen. He recalls helping his father renovate the house, built in Joey remembers the discomfort of living with his parents and grandparents in the house, and his relief in going away to college, followed by a career with an ad agency in New York.

After the deaths of his father and grandparents, and the successive failures of his three marriages, he worries about his mother, who lives in the increasingly cluttered house with as many as forty cats.

The House on Sandstone The House on Sandstone
The House on Sandstone The House on Sandstone
The House on Sandstone The House on Sandstone
The House on Sandstone The House on Sandstone
The House on Sandstone The House on Sandstone
The House on Sandstone The House on Sandstone

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