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Masonry cleaning

Masonry cleaning Chicago

Of all the changes an historic building can undergo, cleaning the exterior masonry is one of the most visually dramatic. Exposing the original color of the masonry by cleaning it brings about impressive improvements. This is especially true in the appearance of many urban buildings blackened by industrial pollution. It is a process which changes not only the fundamental appearance of historic masonry buildings, but also the environmental context in which they exist.

Every building requires attention and maintenance no matter what materials were used. Often what looks good brand new quickly looses the appearance due to elements and other factors like:

  • Location. Firstly, it is one of the most significant factors when it comes to cleanliness. Dust and pollution will accumulate quicker if the building is located near busy street or urban and industrial setting.
  • Humidity. Secondly, higher humidity levels are attributed to algae and fungus growth.
  • Type of elevation. Not all materials are created equal. Brick, siding and stucco varies in roughness and porosity and will absorb humidity and dirt at different rates.

Masonry cleaning may be a difficult task where professional tools and skill set is required. Especially if the building is tall and safety precaution is required or the material need special treatment.

Chemical masonry cleaning

Chemical masonry cleaning

The objective of cleaning a historic masonry building must be considered carefully before arriving at a decision to clean. There are several major reasons for cleaning a historic masonry building: improve the appearance of the building by removing unattractive dirt, removing soiling materials that may be damaging the masonry, or provide a clean surface to accurately match repointing mortars or patching compounds, or to conduct a condition survey of the masonry.


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While visual improvements brought about by cleaning historic masonry should not be underestimated, neither should the dangers. Irreversible damage has been caused to thousands of historic masonry structures by unscrupulous contractors. Unskilled and hurried workers using inappropriate cleaning techniques have caused permanent damage to our country’s masonry heritage. There is no reason to let it happen to you.

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