Stone masonry has stood as a cornerstone of architecture and construction for centuries, lending a timeless and grandeur aesthetic to buildings and structures.

From the streets of Glasgow to the alleyways of Edinburgh, the presence of sandstone, granite, and other stonemasonry is ubiquitous. However, despite its enduring beauty and resilience, stone masonry is susceptible to defects arising from construction processes or environmental factors. Let’s delve into the common issues that afflict stone masonry and their underlying causes.

One prevalent defect in stone masonry is efflorescence, which occurs when water-soluble salts within the stone or mortar dissolve due to moisture infiltration. As the moisture evaporates, it leaves behind powdery, white crystalline deposits on the stone surface. Efflorescence not only mars the masonry’s appearance but can also cause long-term structural damage if left unaddressed.


Spalling, characterised by the flaking or chipping of the stone surface, often results from freeze-thaw cycles, water penetration, or exposure to harsh weather conditions. Moisture infiltrating the stone’s pores can expand when frozen, leading to the disintegration of surface layers and compromising the masonry’s integrity.

Discoloration and Staining

Discoloration and staining are significant concerns for stone masonry, diminishing its natural beauty. Atmospheric pollution, biological growth like algae or mold, chemical reactions, or improper cleaning methods can cause unsightly stains that are challenging to remove and may worsen with aggressive cleaning.

Differential Weathering

Uneven erosion of stones within a masonry structure, known as differential weathering, occurs when stones of varying mineral composition or density react differently to environmental conditions. This can lead to an unbalanced appearance and compromise structural integrity.

Cracking and Breakage

Cracks and breakages can occur during construction or over time due to stress, settling, or external forces. Inadequate handling or mortar application can result in cracks, while the absence of proper expansion joints to accommodate thermal movement can lead to fractures that impact both aesthetics and safety.

Inadequate Drainage

Poor drainage systems or water management around stone masonry can cause water accumulation, weakening foundations and mortar joints. This can promote mold and algae growth and contribute to efflorescence and staining.

While stone masonry embodies strength and architectural excellence, it is essential to address defects with meticulous care during construction and throughout the structure’s lifespan. Proper design, material selection, installation techniques, and regular maintenance can help mitigate these issues.

Stone Masonry Services

Our bespoke sandstone restoration service offers comprehensive solutions for nearly four decades. Our skilled stonework restoration team, comprising full-time Balmore employees, ensures quality in every project, whether it’s a minor repair or extensive restoration.

Services include lime pointing, stone cleaning, repairs, restoning, sandstone restoration, and brickwork re-pointing. With our Glasgow headquarters covering the central belt of Scotland, we utilize cutting-edge technology such as DOFF Super Heated Steam Cleaning and Dry Ice Blasting to deliver superior results.

For more information on our stone restoration services, contact our Glasgow head office at 0141 944 6100 or email