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Stone repair and restoration

THE PROJECT

An early 18th century property on the outskirts of a Devon town was being fully renovated by its owners who were attempting to retain as much of its original features and period charm as possible.

The main contractor, a long term customer of Plastic Surgeon, called on the services of the cosmetic repair specialist to carry out extensive stonework repairs; addressing historic weather damage suffered around the property.

THE CHALLENGES

While many of Devon’s historic properties are constructed from locally quarried granite and remain largely resistant to the south-
stone repair restorewest’s wet and sometimes stormy climate, the elevations of this property were formed from far softer sandstone.

Inevitably, after nearly three centuries of exposure to wind driven rain – and the even more destructive force of the freeze-thaw action – the porous yellow sandstone had been badly affected. In particular the window heads and reveals had spalled with some areas of stonework becoming so friable they could be broken away by finger pressure. Also in a lot of places, the previous owner had allowed poor and inappropriate repairs to be carried out, leaving patches smothered in mastic and even filler foam used to replace missing chunks.

Despite the client’s substantial budget for the refurbishment work, they wanted to avoid wholesale rebuilding of the facades, with the high cost for stonemasons which this would have entailed.

HIGHLIGHTS

With the two storey structure fully scaffolded by the main contractor, Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers had safe access to begin the task restore stoneof hacking off the most badly affected sections of sandstone, prior to applying multiple coats of specialist adhesive which dry clears and helps to stabilize the substrate.

So deep was some of the damage that in places the Finishers had to create a lightweight reinforcement cage to support the repair mortar. This was achieved by drilling and inserting metal rods or dowels, and winding in a lattice of wire. Shutters were then assembled around the largest voids to reform the stone sections, and filled with a strong mix featuring fine aggregates.

In the majority of areas, where the damage was shallower, the surface was restored by applying coats of an exterior grade filler. This was shaped and smoothed with a variety of tools including filler knives, trowels and even scrapers.

With the form of the sandstone elevations re-established, the Finishers applied two coats of Plastic Surgeon’s Screedcoat system.

In total 32 cills and window heads as well as many of the reveals were repaired around the ground and first floor of the House. Most prominent were two tall bay windows containing multiple sashes and sidelights which occupied the Finishers for several days each, with the whole contract totalling 30 man days.

KEY OUTCOMES FOR CLIENT

  • The owners benefitted from having the sandstone masonry to their large period property restored to its original elegance and solidity, at a far lower cost than would have been the case using specialist stonemasons to replace large sections around the window openings.
  • This was achieved more quickly through the use of the Plastic Surgeon cosmetic repair service, and consumed much fewer materials as well as labour; improving the environmental impact of the work.
  • The main contractor benefitted from the certainty of a fixed price on a 30 man day quote, which in fact took slightly longer due to the complexity and extent of the damage uncovered.

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