Residential Limestone: Part of the Earth Machine 

Originaly published in Stone Industry News

We love stone. We love Limestone. From Indiana to Germany; limestone comes to the built environment. There are many opportunities in residential and commercial restoration of stone if you are willing and able to take a grind to the stone, and get into the heart of stone. This article is dedicated to our memories of our colleagues Michael Wiston of Valley Marble and Maurizio Bertoli of MB Stone Restoration both of whom I had the honor to know. So have many of you. There are mechanisms of stone decay upon limestone and calcareous stones by oxides of nitrogen and sulfur. These are chemical mechanisms. There is also moisture, and the most common sources of moisture that cause damage to stone. In this case we picture a limestone facade and small sample area of an architectural element affected by moisture. This particular house is in East Hampton, New York where salt air and moisture problems can be mitigated with maintenance, repair, and restoration. Cleaning, restoration, and maintenance can help avoid such conditions on limestone buildings as cracks, spalling or staining, or scaling. Limestone close to H=3 when well lithified (uniformly cemented) can be deceivingly soft. And then you have the Empire State Building and the others "Hard as a Rock" as they say. Structural cracks, gaps at joints between components and large openings are the evident problems in many cases as this one is pictured here. An investigation of load bearing elements such as columns, and beams, will establish whether those components are performing as they were originally designed, or the stress patterns have been redistributed. A common method of restoration and maintenance on stone in such conditions is filling cavities, cracks, and smoothing or refinishing stone surfaces; otherwise known as grinding, honing, and polishing. We all have listened to the expression "Marble Polishing" and so there is "Limestone Polishing" Smoothing the surface and opening and then closing the pores is a key to proper maintenance.

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