Kärcher Steps in to Clean Historical Carnegie Lorain Branch Library

For more than 40 years, Kärcher has been actively involved in supporting the preservation of historical monuments and buildings through its Cultural Sponsoring program. In the fall of 2019, a team of Kärcher's preservation cleaning experts joined in to help preserve the Lorain Library, the ninth branch in the Cleveland Public Library system.

Lorain Library cleaned to revitalize a community landmark

As one of many Cleveland Public Library branches built with funds from Andrew Carnegie, this Detroit–Shoreway neighborhood branch opened in 1912. At the time, the Library’s Annual Report described the building as “Greek-inspired” and constructed of buff brick with stone trimmings. Over time, this standout piece of historical architecture eventually accumulated various forms of biological soiling and was in need of a revitalization.

The specific cleaning process for this project included a gentle steam cleaning with the Kärcher Mid Class hot water electric pressure washer, capitalizing on the safety and environmentally conscientious use of 5-15 psi low pressure, 185-200 degree Fahrenheit hot water steam on the surface of the stone. From a restoration and preservation perspective, steam cleaning is a very gentle and effective method for removing biological soiling from brick, grout and sandstone. The higher temperature allows reduced impact pressure (abrasiveness and kinetic energy), to minimal levels while still effectively removing the soiling. The subsurface biological growth, residing deeper inside the pores of the brick, grout and sandstone, is also eliminated at this temperature. Removing both the surface and subsurface growth extends the time it takes for new growth to recolonize the stone.

Safely preserving the legacy of the Lorain Library, as well as other libraries in our communities, matters. Libraries do so much more than provide resources and education; they enrich communities. More than just brick and mortar buildings, they are staples for towns and provide opportunities for people to come together, network, and feel a sense of belonging in their respective communities. Kärcher is proud to nurture that tradition at Lorain.

The Carnegie library history includes a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries built between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems (1,689 in the United States, 660 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Serbia, Belgium, France, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Malaysia, and Fiji).

Renovation and restoration measures

Lorain Library opened in 1912. The cleaning of the facade involved ridding the exterior of various forms of biological soilings from different types of building surface materials.

Facts at a glance

Country: USA
City: Cleveland, OH

Material: Brick, sandstone
Type of dirt: Algae, fungi, lichen

Carried out: November 2019

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