SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1986

Masonry Cleaning—The State of the Art


Development of safe and effective cleaning techniques for older masonry structures has been an objective of numerous contracting and manufacturing firms for many years. A wide variety of effective cleaning techniques have resulted from this development. Unfortunately, many applicators are unaware that cleaning agents and techniques that prove effective for application to some masonries may prove ineffective or too harsh for application to adjacent or dissimilar masonries.

Improper application of “proven” cleaning systems to stained masonry surfaces, without adequate pretesting and thorough evaluation of the masonry and staining conditions, has resulted in severe and often irreparable disfigurement and discoloration of scores of masonry buildings and monuments.

The intention of this paper is to review the variety of cleaning materials and techniques available to masonry cleaning contractors and building conservators. Emphasis is placed on chemical-assist, water washing techniques as they apply to the restorative cleaning of older, exterior masonry surfaces.

Illustrations of field and laboratory testing procedures required for development of cleaning programs to remove surface and subsurface staining — without damage to the masonry and surrounding nonmasonry surfaces — are presented.

Author Information

Boyer, DW
ProSoCo, Inc., Kansas City, KS
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Developed by Committee: E06
Pages: 25–51
DOI: 10.1520/STP20014S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4995-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0932-2