The measurement of surface roughness to determine the suitability of different methods for stone cleaning

Carmen Vazquez-Calvo, Monica Alvarez De Buergo, Rafael Fort, Maria Jose Varas-Muriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The roughness of stone surface was measured, before and after bead blasting-based cleaning methods, to select the most efficient one to be used in masonry and stonework of specific areas of the Cathedral of Segovia (Spain). These types of cleaning methods can, besides the removal of soiling and surface deposits, leave a rougher surface, which would mean higher and more rapid water retention and deposit accumulation due to a specific surface increase, therefore accelerating stone decay. Or, in contrast, the cleaning method can be so aggressive that it can smooth the surface by reducing its roughness, a fact that usually corresponds to excessive material removal - soot and deposits - but also part of the stone substrate. Roughness results were complemented with scanning electron microscopy observations and analyses and colour measurements. Finally, it was possible to select the best cleaning method among the six that were analysed, for different areas and different stone materials. Therefore, this study confirms the measurement of surface roughness as a reliable test to determine the suitability of stone cleaning methods; it is a non-destructive technique, portable and friendly to use, which can help us to rapidly assess - together with other techniques - the efficacy and aggressiveness of the stone cleaning method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S108-S115
JournalJournal of Geophysics and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • cleaning
  • roughness
  • stone conservation
  • surface properties


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