The New Waterless Cleaner for Cathedral Masonry

One of our most valuable national assets, cathedrals demand careful and proper maintenance. Any building that has been standing for as long as one thousand years inevitably suffers the depredations of weather, birds and pollution. Maintenance costs are ongoing and usually costly.

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Cathedral Maintenance Issues

The Association of English Cathedrals is a good source of information about English cathedrals and some of their funding issues. When state funding to English Heritage was cut, one of the results was the removal of a ring-fenced cathedral repair fund. The inevitable financial constraints this has brought mean that it is crucial that available funds are appropriately and effectively targeted.

English cathedrals are predominately stone-built. Whilst stone is a very durable material, it has its own particular maintenance issues. The Portland stone used to build London’s St Paul’s Cathedral is a case in point. The final 18-month stage of a 15-year restoration involved its greying stone being returned to its original brilliant white, thanks to specialist masonry cleaning services.

Masonry cleaners have the task of removing what often amounts to centuries of dirt from interior and exterior surfaces. In places where little or no effective cleaning has previously been carried out, the stone, brickwork and other surfaces may be deeply stained with pollutants. Specialists such as use special cleaners to ensure the job is done thoroughly but without damaging the historic surfaces.

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A New Solution

The delicate balancing act to ensure clean masonry is not achieved at the expense of damaging it requires a cleaner that needs no scrubbing. A new latex cleaner offers the ideal solution: it strips away dust and grime without the need even for water. Applied in liquid form, it quickly solidifies to form a robust film over the masonry. This is left for 24 hours before being peeled away. The film removes embedded grime and even soot or nicotine that has settled into pores or depressions in the stonework. Any residue from the film is removed easily with a damp sponge.

Cathedral conservationists can choose whether the cleaner is applied via spray or brush. Its waterless application is particularly useful for areas where water supplies are restricted, such as under temporary drought conditions, or where water run-off poses potential problems either to the cathedral or surrounding structures.

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