Surface Coating Removal

One of the greatest crimes against building heritage is the use of coatings. In the past, a lot of organisations used lime based or oil based paint. However, these coatings are impermeable. This causes countless problems – the coatings don’t allow the underlying masonry to breathe, trap moisture, and over time can result in damage to the stonework and cause dampness problems inside the property.

As a result, coatings can accelerate deterioration. Facades are often asked to remove these impermeable coatings, which is beneficial to the longevity of the stonework and the natural ageing process.

We have developed specialised, yet cost-effective techniques to remove the coatings and reinstate any damaged stonework.

The process of removing coatings does bring up several challenges. A lot of the coatings used are non-soluble and given they are impermeable, site trials are often required to evaluate the most efficient method of removal. This may involve using two or more systems to effectively remove the coating.

Types of Surface Coating Removal

There are two main methods of surface coating removal:

Using emulsifiers – soluble paints can be made mobile with the use of emulsifiers. They soften the coating, which can then be removed using super-heated steam.

Mechanical force – where insoluble or hard materials have been used as surface coatings, it is often wise to use a spraying, brushing or agitation system to effectively scrub off the coating. However, the coating itself may be harder than the underlying masonry, which can result in the stonework being damaged.

To assess the best method and ensure the correct system is used so as not to damage stonework, we often recommend a site trial.

From an environmental point of view, tests are often necessary to ensure the correct disposal of old coatings and their contaminants. Our team remains professional when dealing with waste that is produced during the removal process. We contain and effectively dispose of contaminated waste according to regulations.

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