This spring, I decided it that it was finally time to do something about the rather dilapidated appearance of the exterior of my sandstone property in Edinburgh.
Having lived in it for nearly three decades, I must admit that I had become somewhat inured to the state of its exterior and was rather shocked when, on an unusually fine winter morning, I returned home from the local shop just as the sun struck the front of my property, highlighting the neglect it had suffered at my hands over the years. I must admit that it was mainly a feeling of shame that prompted me to take immediate action.
Making Difficult Choices
The very first thing I did, after making myself a coffee and settling into my favourite armchair, was to search online for local stonemasons. Having never had occasion to deal with exponents of this ancient craft before, it was with more than a little trepidation that I picked up the phone and called the first company that caught my eye. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself talking to an obviously knowledgeable but very down-to-earth chap who, after listening patiently to my tale of woe, suggested that he popped round to take a look at the damage. Having identified a number of stones that had suffered at the hands of Edinburgh’s sometimes harsh climate rather more than the others, he outlined three practical options that were open to me.
- Replacement of Complete Stones – This option involves exactly what you would expect: the replacement of individual stones with new ones of the same shape and size. According to the friendly stonemason who was looking at the front of my house with pursed lips, this option was the most permanent – a hundred years was the length of time mentioned! – but also the most expensive.
- Part Indenting – This option is cheaper than the above one because it only involves the replacement of part of a stone or stones. The affected part is removed and replaced with a piece that matches it as closely as possible. The new piece is held in place with a powerful adhesive.
- Lime-Based Mortar – The third, and cheapest, option that I was given was to repair the missing parts of stone in my walls with a lime-based mortar, which is coloured to match the surrounding stone. Although this option is not as permanent as stone replacement, it will last for quite a few years so, if you are working with a tight budget, it should not be dismissed out of hand.
As I was feeling rather guilty concerning my lack of care over the years and did not want to worry about repeating the process sometime in the future, I decided to go for the complete stone replacement which, although it was not cheap, transformed the exterior appearance of my property.
I was extremely pleased with the result and would definitely recommend spending a little extra for this option if you own a property like mine and would like to restore it to its former glory.