In the heart of Neath Town Centre, the public library’s front elevation had suffered from the accumulation of moss and loose lime mortar pointing. To restore the building’s architectural charm and address these issues, Neath and Port Talbot Council sought a reliable solution from APT. Our team was tasked with utilising soda blasting media to clean the masonry, dressed stone, and decorative sandstone elements while inspecting and repairing damaged mortar joints from Tai Bach Library.
The client needed a thorough cleaning and restoration of the public library’s front elevation. Over the years, moss had taken its toll on the stonework, obscuring the building’s grandeur. Additionally, loose lime mortar pointing needed attention to prevent further deterioration and potential structural problems. The primary concerns were the removal of moss, loose lime mortar, and a comprehensive inspection of the mortar joints for damages.
At APT, we understand the importance of delivering exceptional results while minimizing disruptions to our clients and their communities. Before commencing the soda blasting media process, we engaged in detailed discussions with the client’s surveyor to understand the project’s requirements fully. We carefully planned and scheduled the work to ensure minimal disruption to the library’s regular opening times, prioritizing public convenience.
Our skilled team of technicians conducted a thorough assessment of the building’s front elevation to identify the areas affected by moss and loose lime mortar. Based on our findings, we devised a meticulous approach to achieve optimal results.
The chosen solution for this restoration project was soda blasting media, specifically utilising the blasting head at 2-3 bar pressure. Soda blasting is a gentle yet highly effective cleaning method that involves using bicarbonate of soda as the blast material. This technique is ideal for cleaning masonry and delicate sandstone elements without causing damage. When the soda blasting media hits the surface, the small crystals shatter and dislodge the contaminants, which are then easily blown off by the compressed air flow.
The key advantages of soda blasting for heritage building restoration are twofold. Firstly, it works from the outside, removing layer after layer until the underlying stonework is reached, which is much gentler than conventional blast cleaning that can be aggressive to the heritage stone beneath. Secondly, bicarbonate of soda is a material that is softer than stonework, ensuring that it will not scratch or abrade the surface once the contaminants are removed.
With the approval of the conservation architects and curators, we proceeded with a trial to test the effectiveness and safety of soda blasting media on the library’s front elevation. The successful trial demonstrated the capability of soda blasting media to restore the stonework’s original appearance and uncover hidden damages for repair.
Following the successful trial, we were duly appointed as the stone cleaning contractors for the library’s front elevation restoration. To prepare for the soda blasting process, it was necessary to clear the room of furniture and seal the fire opening to contain the waste from the cleaning process. We used a framework and sealed the edges against the hearth and fire surround using tape to ensure a controlled and efficient cleaning process.
The soda blasting media process was carried out as specified, with our skilled technicians and their equipment accessing the entire 25-meter opening over the course of three days. The accumulated moss and stains were effectively eliminated, revealing the true beauty of the stonework.
Throughout the soda blasting media process, the waste was carefully managed and collected in waste containers for transportation and disposal, adhering to environmental legislation.
Once the cleaning was completed and our equipment back in the vans, the furniture was re-instated, and the library’s front elevation regained its former splendor. The restored facade added to the overall aesthetics of Neath Town Centre, preserving the rich heritage of the area.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to APT for the excellent job they carried out at Tai Bach. The project was a much needed one and now that it is completed it has really helped to improve the look of the town. We have received many good comments from the public which is always a good sign.”
Kevin Hiller – Property Surveyor, Neath & Port Talbot Council
For reliable soda blasting media services that bring architectural elements back to life, trust APT. Our soda blasting technique ensures thorough cleaning and restoration, leaving your building’s facades looking pristine. Contact us now to discuss your restoration project and experience the power of soda blasting media in revitalizing architectural structures. Let us help you preserve and showcase the historical significance of your heritage buildings.