Arrival on Site
Cladding panels will normally be supplied on “A” frame supports. Tiles and paving slabs will be packed on edge rather than flat. Larger components will be secured on pallets. Padding, wooden packing, polythene sheeting and steel or nylon strapping is used to secure and protect the Irish Blue Limestone during transport. Appropriate handling equipment must be available to off load the delivery.
Storage and Handling
A level, hard surfaced area is recommended if Irish Blue Limestone is going to be stored on site. This area must be protected from spills and splashes of mud, oils, greases, paints or cement solutions and if the components are for interior use, they will also need to be kept dry.
The Irish Blue Limestone components should only be removed from their packaging at the installation stage. The limestone components should not be separated or moved using steel crowbars or prise bars. Web slings rather than chains; hooks or wire straps must be used for lifting operations.
Most of the apparently flawed components result from failure to observe correct handling procedures on site rather than manufacturing and quality control lapses.
The individual pieces must be checked for size and flaws before being mounted or placed. Stylolites and/or white inclusions and/or lines are a natural feature of the limestone. They will be least apparent on monumental grade stone and most obvious in production run materials. They do not constitute flaws in the material, and provided the appropriate grade was chosen for the project, will not cause problems with durability.
Ashlar This is probably the oldest and the best known application of Irish Blue Limestone. The thickness of the stone makes it self supporting and it may be a structural component. Lime based mortars are the preferred bonding material for ashlar. They accommodate minor movements associated with natural stone construction whilst maintaining structural integrity.
Setts and Kerbs Limestone paviors; setts and kerbs must be sufficiently thick to withstand the likely loadings, particularly where vehicles are involved, and bedded on sand over an adequate sub-base. If a rigid fixing is needed, for example in steps, the full width of the component must be supported rather than placed on cement slabs.
Limestone Tiles and Skirting
Thin limestone tiles and skirting should be fixed to a rigid concrete or brick sub-base using proprietary cement based adhesive.
This will normally be supplied sized and drilled to match the chosen fixing system. Stainless steel dowels must be correctly sized for the drilled holes and should not be hammered into place. The mountings on the structure must be accurately placed to maintain clearance and correctly position the individual stone panels. A flexible mastic may be used to seal between the panels with some mounting systems.
Accidental contamination of Irish Blue Limestone with cements, mortars and mastics during installation should be avoided. Cement and mortar must be washed off as soon as possible using clean water but mastic stains may cause permanent discolouration.
Clean softwood packing is essential if scaffolding has to be placed against the limestone. Putlogs must be capped and angled so that rust contaminated water cannot drain onto the limestone faces and splashing from the planks should be prevented by appropriate sheeting.
Wooden battens, polythene sheeting and plywood or particle board should be installed to prevent accidental damage to limestone corners, mouldings, arrases, detailing, floors and stairs during the construction.