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The Impact Of Acid Rain On Buildings

Posted on by J Radford Group

Acid rain is a form of precipitation which can be devastating for any building. This is a by-product of our modern society which emits dangerous levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. These harmful gases are a pollutant in the air before they become mixed with water molecules to create an acidic rain.


Ever since the industrial revolution, the impact of acid rain has been noted on buildings, with deterioration of surfaces becoming more common. It’s a serious environmental problem which impacts buildings by coroding their very fabric. The issue is so serious in some parts of the world that they have to wrap statues and structures at particular times of the year to prevent warping.

Acid Rain Facts

  • Acid rain was discovered by Robert Angus Smith in Manchester in 1872
  • Volcanoes are contributors to acid rain because of their emissions
  • Coal power stations are the largest contributor to acid rain
  • The impact on the pH level of water is harmful to aquatic life
  • Acid rain impacts soil, killing off vulnerable plants and vegetation
  • Limestone and marble are the most vulnerable rocks, corroding in acid rain

Famous Buildings at Risk

There are many famous buildings which are at risk when it comes to the acid rain which we as a species are helping to produce. Some of these historic buildings and monuments could soon be lost if they continue to be hit by the acid rain.

The Leshan Buddha in China is giant statue which has now been blackened and partially corroded by acid rain. The structure is made of sandstone which is vulnerable, but recently the government has tried to protect the statue by shutting down any factories and soot creating plants nearby. Although this has helped, it does not protect the statue from the inevitable acid rain caused by the industrial expansion of modern China.

Greece has similarly seen industrial progress and an increase in vehicles which pour out pollution. The Acropolis in Athens is at extreme risk of deterioration because it is made from marble. Marble is one of the most vulnerable materials because the acid gets soaked into the stone. Pieces of this ancient monument are now flaking away and it won’t be too long before the structure is lost.

We all know the Taj Mahal as the jewel of India, a mausoleum of such fantastic grandeur that it attracts visitors from around the world. But India is another country which has rapidly developed as a nation, producing more and more factories which pump pollutants into the air. Although this wonderful structure still stands, it has lost some of its brilliant white sheen, paling in the onslaught of acid rain. Steps have been taken to preserve the area, with only electric buses allowed near to the structure. Plants have been shut down near by, but as with the Leshan Buddha in China, this has done little to stop the acid rain which is produced elsewhere.

Protective Coating

To reduce the impact of acid rain on buildings, you can apply a protective coating and here at J Radford Group we are specialists when it comes to providing protective building coating services. Contact us today if you have a stone or steel structure you’d like to protect with our mobile protective spray painting service.

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