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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services



Typical problems

There are a number of different problems associated with stone, many of them specific to certain types of stone (such as marble, granite or sandstone).'Sweep Boy' marble and sandstone statue before treatment The problems associated with stone can affect all types of stone items, including monuments, memorials, buildings, sculptures and movable heritage items. Carved stone, such as statues and monuments, decorative objects and architectural elements, is often more susceptible to damage than bulk masonry. The deterioration of stone depends on a number of factors including the type of stone, its location, purpose and use and its maintenance.

In general, the factors affecting stone deterioration can be grouped into the following categories: environmental decay, mechanical decay and applied decay. We also regularly treat stone items that have been affected by the build-up of dust and dirt.

     Environmental deterioration/natural weathering 

Typically, this type of decay is found only on external stonework, however this is not always the case. There are many causes, including pollution, weather erosion, biological factors and salt crystallisation. 'Sweep Boy' marble and sandstone statue after treatment

    Mechanical deterioration

There are many causes for mechanical decay of stone. Factors which can have an effect on the mechanical decay of stone include stone quality, settlement and corrosion as a result of iron cramps used to secure the stone. This last factor is often accelerated in environments with increased moisture levels. 

   Applied deterioration

The primary causes for this type of deterioration are the lack of, or inappropriate, maintenance, and vandalism such as impact damage and graffiti.

    Surface dirt

By and large, surface dirt on stone is not often a problem, except from an aesthetic point of view. However, depending on the type of stone your object, statue, building or monument is made from, this might not necessarily be the case. If you are concerned about the dirt accumulating on your stone object, statue or building, please contact us to discuss potential treatment options.

Treatment optionsMarble statue during treatment

As noted above, surface dirt on stone is not usually a problem, however we recommend that you contact us for advice on the removal of dirt from your stone object or building before removing it. In some cases, cleaning the stone can accelerate deterioration if inappropriate methods and materials are used. 

The treatment methodology devised for your stone object, statue, building or monument will depend on a variety of factors, including nature and extend of the damage, the type of stone and current or intended uses. It will be tailored specifically to your object, monument or building, and we will work closely with you to ensure it meets both your needs and the needs of your object, monument or building. 

Please contact us to discuss how we can help with your stone object, building or monument.  


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