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Enchanting But at a Cost: How Biological Growth Affects Age-Old Buildings

Age-old buildings and monuments have a unique charm to them. They have this unparalleled character, shining through history and tradition, which is hard to put in words; it is there to be experienced and felt—and not to be described.

And when their own presence is lacking to enchant the visiting audiences, the presence of ivy, moss, lichens and sometimes even shrubs does the missing service.

Organic growths contribute to the natural, aged patina of historic structures, and give their masonry all the more appeal.

But they do that at a cost.


Green on Historical Buildings—Enchantingly Dangerous

Growth of microorganisms (such as algae, bacteria and fungi) and higher plants (such as lichen and moss) on age-old buildings is usually a sign of high moisture levels and can indicate possible structural damage.

Algae can cause changes in the building stones and reduce their life and reliability. Fungi can cause timber decay. Lichens can cause deterioration of sheet metal and other inorganic building materials. Moss can cause blockage of rainwater disposal systems and increase risk of flooding. Ivy and creepers can cause displacement of bricks and mortar. Root plants can cause damage to the foundation and walls.

Green on historical buildings can be enchantingly dangerous!

But what makes older buildings susceptible to biological growth in first place?

Behind the Green Lines

Any structure that has soggy, damp conditions has the potential for biological growth. In case of age-old buildings, the potential for biological growth is even greater for there is excess moisture present inside these buildings. The reason being; unlike habitable buildings, historical buildings lack maintenance and adequate protection from the elements. Furthermore, they are often located in woodsy or shady areas, which means, they don’t get enough access to sunlight, and this creates even more moisture problems for these buildings.

Treating Biological Growth and Restoring Older Buildings

Thankfully, there are ways through which organic growths can be mitigated and age-old buildings can be restored. This is not a DIY job however, and only a masonry restoration company should work on such projects.

If you’re the owner of a building in Boston that has been affected by biological growth and are looking to restore it, AMN Masonry can help.

We’re one of the leading masonry restoration companies in Boston. We have over 13 years of experience in restoration of commercial and historical buildings. Get in touch with us today to discuss your restoration project. 

Adriano Nunes