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Identifying and Sourcing Stone for Repair

England is fortunate to have such a wide variety of historic and older stone buildings. However, there has been a marked decline in the range of natural stones that are being actively quarried.

When the time comes to replace stone, we need to understand its characteristics. The replacement will need to replicate the original's chemical, physical and mineralogical properties. Only with that understanding can we select compatible materials to replace it with.

Historic England has produced advice on how to obtain matching stone for repairing a historic building or monument.

Sourcing Stone for Historic Building Repair

Published 3 August 2016

This technical advice note is aimed at architects, surveyors, engineers, building managers, contractors, conservation officers and owners who need to obtain matching stone for repairing a historic building or monument.

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Sourcing stone for historic building repair involves several steps:

  • Establishing the significance of the building, and the likely impact of intervention
  • Understanding why the stone is deteriorating
  • Undertaking a survey to determine the need for stone repair or replacement
  • Determining the types of stone used, by visual examination in situ
  • Answering any technical questions arising in the steps above, by detailed analysis of samples taken from the structure
  • Obtaining samples of potential replacement stone for analysis, and testing these where necessary
  • Sourcing replacement stone from existing quarries, quarries temporarily
    re-opened for the purpose or by re-using stone salvaged from a demolished structure

The guidance note provides advice on each step. It will help you to make informed decisions at every stage of the procurement process and so help to ensure that any new stone is compatible with the historic fabric.

Historic England supports the need for strategic and sustainable sources of stone for conservation of historic buildings. We're working with partners to ensure that historic sources of important building stones are identified and protected, and that the environmental impact of their extraction is minimised. By addressing the wider issues arising from sourcing and quarrying stone we will contribute to the long-term preservation of our rich and diverse stone-built heritage.

Also see: Strategic Stone Study


Published 1 March 2012

This volume, Stone, considers the wide variety of its historical uses, from simple masonry walling through to elaborate carving and decoration.

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