All stone and brickwork, regardless of its age or location, needs periodic cleaning and restoration — however, this can be more pressing in the case of heritage properties, particularly if they are situated in urban environments.
Cleaning can be necessary for a variety of reasons associated with restoring both the aesthetic and physical integrity of older masonry. The intention may be to restore the building’s appearance, or it may be necessary to remove the many different types of corrosive deposits that can accumulate over time.
Some of the surface deposits that particularly afflict heritage stone and brickwork include soluble salts and chlorides, organic growths (such as algae, fungi, moss, lichen and mould), industrial grime, bird droppings, graffiti, rust and copper stains. Likewise, efflorescence can form on surfaces (as a result of a loss of moisture and/or exposure to the air), leading to the stone becoming weathered, potentially producing structural deterioration.
Similarly, staining as a result of the build up of soot, car exhaust fumes and industrial grime can also detract from the aesthetic quality of a building, which is a large part of the appeal of our most popular historic structures. Cleaner surfaces also enable the architectural detailing of heritage buildings to be better studied and appreciated.
However, no matter how urgent or necessary stone restoration or cleaning is, it is essential that the process is carried out by an experienced operator, as otherwise it has the potential to cause permanent and ongoing damage to the underlying surface. At Australian Enviroblast, we have an impressive record of working with heritage stone across Adelaide and throughout South Australia, and our portfolio includes both domestic restorations and large scale cleaning of public buildings.
How dustless blasting is used to clean stone and brick
Abrasive blasting can be used to clean and restore a variety of stone, brick and masonry structures. Our dustless blasting system is also sufficiently flexible to be employed on both small- and large-scale projects, and can be used to restore and clean buildings safely in urban and built up environments.
One of the reasons why soda blasting is such an effective tool in the cleaning of heritage brick and stone is that it is able to blast away significant build up of grime, soot and other contaminants while at the same time not impacting on the structural integrity or profile of the substrate beneath.
This is because in dustless blasting the blast media is encased in water, so that when it is propelled at the surface, the water helps to flush it away, meaning that the media and other contaminants do not become embedded in the surface. This feature, combined with the fact that a variety of different types of blast media can be used, also makes wet abrasive blasting a more flexible and gentle process, suitable for cleaning softer stone (like sandstone and bluestone), masonry and heritage brickwork.
Furthermore, wet soda blasting does not produce pitting, nor does it erode sharp edges or disfigure fine architectural details (making it suitable for use on public monuments and statuary as well). Likewise, it produces a surface profile that discourages the regrowth of algae, fungi, moss, lichens, mould and the like.
The versatility and adaptability of the Quill Falcon Cyclone dustless blasting system also means that it can be used on buildings constructed over a prolonged period of time, or that have been significantly added to, and so as a consequence are constructed from a range of different stone or materials.
All manner of contaminants can be safely and effectively removed with wet sandblasting, including old layers of paint, epoxy coatings, organic growths and soluble salts, as well as stains, graffiti and bird droppings. It is also a more environmentally friendly process than dry blasting, and can safely be used in built up areas with minimal encapsulation required.
Adelaide Stone and Brick Restoration Specialists
The team at Australian Enviroblast is highly experienced and we have used wet grit blasting and the Quill Falcon Cyclone dustless blasting system on a variety of architectural restoration projects in Adelaide. We have completed work for both individuals and institutions, and pride ourselves on our professionalism and the quality of our work.