Guest Blog – Neil Sparrow: Is my cast stone frost resistant?

As the temperatures start to dip over winter, our team receive many queries from people asking if our cast stone products are frost resistant.  Neil Sparrow, Director of the United Kingdom Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) is an industry expert in the manufacture of cast stone products.

Here Neil discusses the benefits of choosing high quality cast stone products for your home and architectural projects.

  • The Haddonstone The Gardener Statue photographed in the snow

Neil Sparrow – Director, United Kingdom Cast Stone Association

Neil Sparrow has worked in the cast stone and glassfibre reinforced concrete industries for over 30 years.  He previously worked as Contracts Director at Haddonstone and as Managing Director of Pennine Stone before being appointed as Director of the United Kingdom Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) and the International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association (GRCA).
Neil is a BSI committee member and has a BSc (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering from City University.
 
  • Haddonstone busts photographed in the snow

It is around this time of the year, when the winter temperatures drop and the frequency of needing to scrape your car windscreen in the morning increases, that people often ask themselves “Is my Cast Stone frost resistant?”

If you have bought cast stone from a quality manufacturer such as Haddonstone, that manufactures cast stone to the British and UK Cast Stone Association Standards, then the answer is almost certainly “Yes!”

  • Haddonstone planters photographed in the snow

Frost action, or more correctly described as freeze/thaw action, occurs when the water in saturated building products freezes.

As we all know, when water freezes it expands, and if there is nowhere in the pores of the material for the water to expand into then the expanding frozen water exerts pressure on the building material and tries to split it open from the inside.  When this frozen water melts again the pressure is released.

It is this action of continually applying pressure and releasing it, that flexes the building product which can lead to its failure if the material is not sufficiently strong to withstand the forces being exerted on it.

  • Haddonstone decorative finials photographed in the snow

People often, mistakenly, believe that it is the degree of frost which causes the product to fail and this is not the case.

It is the number of freeze/thaw cycles which is more critical to the stresses being exerted on the building products.  Haddonstone’s cast stone is regularly supplied to countries such as Russia where temperatures of minus 20oC are frequently recorded.  However the temperatures in those areas tend to fall to low values and stay there for days, even weeks, which is not as much of a problem for the building material as in areas of the UK, where the temperature cycles below and above freezing on a daily basis.

Haddonstone’s wet-cast TecStone material has been tested, and passed, a Canadian freeze/thaw test where the TecStone material was subjected to over 250 cycles of freezing and thawing – equivalent to the product freezing and thawing every day from September until May.

  • Haddonstone designs in the snow

Older versions of BS 1217, the British Standard for Cast Stone, used to state “This standard does not refer to freeze/thaw durability risks as there are no known reports of such damage in UK” – quite a sweeping statement, and probably not totally true.

In fact a few years ago in the UK, we experienced an admittedly uncommon weather situation where natural stone units which had survived for 100’s of years without problem were deteriorating and breaking due to freeze/thaw action.

Freeze/thaw action should not be confused with the problem which can occur with Haddonstone cast stone fountains if they are not drained down in the winter.  In this instance the water contained in the bowl of the fountain can freeze and force the walls of the fountain, or pump, apart causing them to crack and fail.

  • A luxury property in Esher, featuring many of Haddonstone's stunning architectural designs.

Haddonstone is a member of both the United Kingdom Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) and the International Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete Association.

As a founding member of the United Kingdom Cast Stone Association (UKCSA), we adhere to their strict levels of technical performance.  All of our cast stone materials exceed the requirements of BS 1217:2008, BS5642-2: 1983 + A1 2014 and BS EN 13198: 2003.

Haddonstone have also won several UKCSA Excellence in the Use of Cast Stone Awards over the past few years.

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Whether you’re working on a private residential or large commercial project, or if you are interested in home and garden products, our friendly and expert team are happy to discuss your requirements.

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