Church Stone Repairs Edinburgh

Church Stone Repairs call on the deployment of every type of stone masonry skill imaginable, including stone replacement, stone restoration, stone carving and lime pointing.

Due to our company’s wide range of expertise, we are very well placed to carry out the stonemasonry restoration of Edinburgh’s beautiful churches and places of worship.

The most common type of church stone repairs we carry out are the strengthening and repair of the main stone arches and the transoms, mullions and tracery elements contained within the arch.

These really do need regular checking as generally the mullions etc only have a very small footprint on the host arch which makes them inherently unstable. The stability is further compromised by the fact that this often somewhat spindly masonry is infilled with the stained glass elements and often secondary glass as well, which acts as a sail to any wind hitting it exerting massive pressure on the small beds and joints of the masonry within the stone arches.

What also happens due to strong winds is that as the wind moves the glass and arch stone infill pieces in and out, this rocking motion has the effect of crushing the lime mortar in the stone joints, turning it into powder, and the wind simply blows it out again compounding the masonry stability problem. See examples below.

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Gorebridge Parish Church, Midlothian

This is exactly what happened on the large window you can see in the pictures of a Midlothian church above.

The picture shows the window we stabilised. This window was in critical condition when we surveyed it. All the stonework and the glass contained within could readily be pushed into the church with only a little hand pressure.

We stabilised the window perfectly by cheek-bolting every stone joint in the structure on both the internal and external surfaces.

There is around 50 joints on this structure making a total of around 100 bolts we inserted. These were stainless steel bolts 250mm x 10mm thick. Very heavy duty!

We then repaired all the resultant drill holes with colour matched Lithomex stone repair mortar.

We finally repointed all the stone joints with a durable lime mortar.

The structure is now extremely rigid and very safe. This was a very cost effective church stone repairs Edinburgh compared to the cost of stripping down all the masonry and stained glass window and rebuilding it.

Our method saved the church tens of thousands of pounds. We always try to save all our clients money if we can.

Here is what Peter Coulson, the Church Convenor of Gorebridge Parish Church, Midlothian had to say about James Allan Stonemasons (Edinburgh):

“We very recently had James Allan Stonemasons (Edinburgh) carry out major repair works to our main arched window at the front of our Church. I can honestly say they did a fantastic job in securing a very shaky window, which I am pleased to say is now as solid as a rock.

James and his team carried out this complex work with utmost professionalism and a minimum of fuss. The stonemasons were at all times polite and very respectful of their place of work.

I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending James Allan Stonemasons (Edinburgh) and will be using them for any future stone repairs to the church”.

Peter Coulson, the Church Convenor of Gorebridge Parish Church, Midlothian

Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh

Below are some pictures of the church stone repairs Edinburgh work we recently carried out on Morningside Parish Church, Edinburgh.

This was a very different project to the Gorebridge Parish Church stone repairs job, as in this case we were dealing with stone erosion mostly.

The work required by this church was mostly stone indenting and Lithomex Stone Repairs which you can find out more about by clicking the links.

We carried out around 80 repairs in total to this elevation as well as replacing three sandstone coping stones at the top LH skew detail.

As you can see in the pictures, every effort was made to make the stone repairs and stone replacements as inconspicuous as possible.

Morningside Parish Church policies disallow the giving of testimonials to commercial enterprises, but we carried out many more substantial jobs for this church after this one, which will hopefully indicate how the church feels about doing business with us.

The work to this Edinburgh church was supervised and passed immediately as excellent by renowned Edinburgh Church of Scotland architect Rosalind Taylor BA (hons) BArch (hons) R.I.B.A, A.R.I.A.S, R.M.a.P.S.

Common Church Stonework Issues

Church property managers and owners should pay particular attention to the following:

Regularly check and take note of the condition of the often fragile tracery window details, found within arches. These structures often house priceless stained glass windows, and it is imperative they are robust.

Strong winds move  the glass and arch stone infill pieces in and out, crushing the lime mortar in the stone joints, turning it into powder, and the wind simply blows it out, again compounding the masonry stability problem.

Signs of distress include snapped transoms (the horizontal stone pieces) and lack of mortar in the joints, with the stone pieces having been moved in high winds.

Check that the joints and beds of largely horizontal stone pieces such as skew coping stones, window cills, wall copes etc. are fully pointed with a durable lime mortar as this, if left unattended, is a direct avenue for water into the building or structure and can cause untold damage.

This is a relatively simple fix, and should be very visible to you if there is a problem.

Ensure all holes in the masonry are filled at the earliest possible convenience.

Typical ecclesiastical buildings in Edinburgh and surrounding areas are well over a century old, and much of the original lime mortar will have perished leaving often intricately carved or dressed masonry at the mercy of the elements.

As with any sandstone building, the number one cause of the masonry failing is an issue with the pointing. Either it is found to be missing, or has been pointed at some time in the past with an inappropriate material, namely cement. Both of these scenarios are asking for trouble and can normally be spotted with an amateur eye.

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Free Professional church stone repair advice

Should you spot any of the above issues, we would be very happy to come to you to discuss your concerns. As detailed in our website, all consultations and costings are 100% free of charge.

We will give you an absolutely honest appraisal of any church stone repairs Edinburgh required throughout Edinburgh, Lothian, Fife and the Scottish Borders.