Many monuments are built in the old days as testimonials to historic events or noteworthy persons. How do modern-day restorers protect these monuments from further damage and deterioration? Any documents or records of construction and maintenance done to these monuments may be lost.
When it comes to damage brought by corrosion, regular projects only need the right corrosion resistant coatings to be applied to the structure. A straightforward surface preparation and routine application are likely theonly considerations required of corrosion resistant coatings contractors. Not so in monument restoration. Contractors may not be able to tell the exact severity and extent of corrosion.
Here are a few ways that corrosion resistant coatings and restorers deal with the challenges of monumental proportions:
- Research. To solve the problem of the unknown, corrosion resistant coatings contractors conduct intensive research. This involves reading archived documents or examining old photos of the structure. The goal is to uncover relevant materials that may inform about the materials and maintenance activities done on the structure.
- Materials testing. Laboratory testing should be performed to determine the material content of the monument, this includes testing for the presence lead. Knowing this helps restorers estimate how the monument aged through time. Since different materials react differently to various corrosive agents, knowing the type of materials used can give clues to the vulnerability of the structure to corrosion. It can even tell if any deep-seated or recent corrosion has occurred. This will lead to a more accurate identification of the appropriate corrosion resistant coatings and treatment to be applied to the structure. If lead is present the coatings contractor will be required to conform with local and state laws regarding lead abatement and disposal.
- Non-destructive surface analysis. A non-destructive surface analysis is able to assess the condition of the surface without endangering the structural integrity of the monument. On-site evaluations using portable equipment can reveal the presence of any chemicals in the surface. Any chemicals present, such as superficial tin or chlorine, can tell a story of the way water moisture seeped into the monument. This in turn provides corrosion resistant coatings contractors a clue to the extent of ongoing corrosion, if any.
- Structural examination. Any holes or cracks in the monument are revealed by a structural assessment. These cracks are entry points for water intrusion. A visible color variation in the surface can also point to an ongoing corrosion.
- Corrosion rate measurement. Patina samples can be extracted from different areas of the monument. It can reveal any corrosive agents that the monument has been exposed to, such as rain water, sea spray, or pollutants. The rate of corrosion can vary depending on the exposure. With the aid of scanning equipment, data of the surface can also return the rate of corrosion. This aids in determining the most effective corrosion resistant coatings needed to remedy the problem.
- Coatings identification. The choice of corrosion resistant coatings depends on the material composition and the current surface condition. A bronze substrate, for example, may need acrylic-based coatings that do not create a galvanic reaction with the bronze substrate. Restorers must be careful in choosing corrosion resistant coatings because this affects any future maintenance work done on the monument.
Corrosion resistant coatings and their applications have their respective advantages and disadvantages, and restorers must be careful in choosing the right coatings for the monument. This, together with the use of careful corrosion research and measurement methods, can help monuments withstand the future tests of time.