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Cleaning is one of the first steps to be undertaken, by removing the dirt and altered products
and detritus from stone surface. It is a slow process, with absence of harmful sub products and
minimum reaction with stone material. Different techniques are available for cleaning stone.
The principal cleaning methods used are Physical Methods: these include brushing and
rubbing, washing and steaming, wet and dry abrasives, or surface redressing. Chemical
Methods: applied as liquids or poultices, these may employ the use of alkaline treatments,
acidic treatments or organic solvents, singly or in combination. Special Techniques: may
promote the use of impregnated sponge, laser technology, ultrasonic equipment, heat lances,
gypsum inversion, bacteria, poultices or gels, and surfactants. For Preservation of Historical
Cultural Heritage built in stone requires studies on the following ; material itself, on the
environment where the monument is located, on the microclimate affecting a particular stone
in the building, The knowledge of the decay processes, mechanisms governing these processes,
and the real effect of factors depending on the intrinsic properties of the material to be studied,
and external agents of decay will allow a rationale use of these materials and to anticipate their
behaviour beforehand, in order to success in restoration. Different stones have their own
properties. There are mainly two type of stones; Siliceous stone - composed mainly of silica
or quartz-like particles. Granite, slate, sandstone, quartzite, brownstone, and bluestone,
whereas Calcareous stone - composed mainly of calcium carbonate.Marble, travertine,
limestone, and onyx. For preserving the stones of any structure the stones are tested to know
the defects. So the two test that are conducted are Acid test & Microscopic Test. After the test
the site needs to be assessed as in if the tiles flat and even , are there any cracked tiles, What
type of stone finish exists, Has the stone been coated with any waxes, acrylics, enhancers, or
other coatings/sealers. The pre-treating steps includes are:
1. Protective clothing & sheeting
2. Dilution of chemical away from site
3. Prewetting to reduce absorption
4. Washing/scraping of the thixotropic paste with low-volume water fan -jet/wooden
5. Using neutralizing solutions (oxalic acid) after cleaning.
Here, Alkaline cleaners are based on sodium hydroxide & Acid cleaners based on
hydrofluoric acid. Different types of cleaning of stone are:
Nebulus Cleaning
The process replicates rainwater running over the surface of the building which gradually
washes away surface dirt. The method by which this is completed relies on a set of nozzles
being set up across a proportion of the façade (working from top down) leaving them to run
continuously for a period (which can be anything from 10 minutes to several days, depending
on level of soiling).
Steam Cleaning
Residual damage left by caustic soda used as water softener and partly because it’s no better
than cold-water washing.
Mechanical Cleaning
It is drastic and is seen as method of redressing the stone. Technique uses flexible carborundum
discs and small carborundum heads. Leaves scour marks and may have to be finished by hand
rubbing. Mostly excluded, except for disfigurement caused by oil, paint and grease, coupled
with physical damage. Requires considerable skill, and used as a last resort.
Air Abrassive Technique
Used on a large scale to clean sandstone, limestone, brick and even terra-cotta and
stucco. Prescribed air-abrasive guns, abrasive type and size, and acceptable pressure. Regular
supervision and spot checks on air pressure with hypodermic needle and a gauge.Pressure
above 40 psi should not be accepted.
Chemical Cleaning
Cleaning with chemicals is a wide field that can incorporate everything from mild detergents
through to strong acids and alkalis.Ammonium carbonate is mild alkaline cleaner and is often
used held in a clay medium to soften black encrusted clinker.
Polutices Cleaning
Both ‘clean’ water and chemical poultices can be used to good effect in cleaning and lifting
staining. Poultices work by drawing out the stain using capillary action.The most common
poultice medium used is Sepiolite (a clay powder), although paper pulp is often added at 50:50
to produce a highly absorbent and malleable mixture that doesn’t dry out too quickly.
Laser Cleaning
Laser can be used to clean carbonation/ sulphation from a variety of substrates (limestone,
sandstone, marble, terracotta etc) in a very controlled manner. Safety issues are paramount.
Laser can damage retinas from a considerable distance away, so light shielding around the
scaffold is essential. Laser cleaning systems provide the conservator with an extremely gentle
method of cleaning which can be used to remove dirt from very fragile surfaces.
Desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance.Soluble salts
are a major contributor for decay, therefore it is usually attempted through the use of poultices,
which may consist of clay, paper pulp, or cellulose ethers.In those instances where calcium
sulfate is to be removed, additional materials may be added in order to increase its solubility.
The additives may include EDTA and its sodium salts, sodium bicarbonate, ammonium
bicarbonate, and ammonium carbonate .
Surface repair
The most common surface repair is the refilling of weathered-out joints. In the past this
pointing operation has often been carried out by using unsuitable materials with strong
hydraulic cement binders, frequently flush-filling over weathered and rounded arrises.
Liquid grouts and the flushing operation that must precede grouting are notorious for
introducing or moving concentrations of salts, especially when cement grouts are
used. Mortars for tamping and pointing historic masonry are normally lime/aggregate
mixtures in the proportions 1 :3, but may be gauged with small quantities of cement or finely
ground pozzolanic material.

• Stone cleaning is a complex issue.
• In the past it has been undertaken without sufficient consideration.
• An incalculable amount of permanent damage has been caused.
• The appropriate course of action must be driven, bearing in mind the long-term effects
on the appearance of the building and its surroundings.