J D Smith Stonemasons Ltd is a full stonemasonry service in Edinburgh established in 1975. We are among the oldest, most complete and trusted stonemasons in Edinburgh and The Lothians. At the centre of our design philosophy are traditional stonemasonry skills and crafts combined with the best of modern technology to continue preserving Edinburgh’s rich and striking historical heritage. We bring this alluring stone presence and beauty to a wide marketplace at highly competitive prices.
Over the last 4 decades, we have honed our traditional values to perfection and are always willing to pass on our stonemasonry craft to future craftsmen and stonemasons in order to keep the tradition alive. We are a locally owned, family-run business – we are highly professional and truly unique in our approach as we will undertake your project from initial contract to the final project sign-off.
Master Craftsmen and Stonemasons
Our team at J D Smith Stonemasons Ltd is pro-active, professional and 100% responsive in their approach. They will keep you in the loop at all times, from the initial budgeting stage to the design, building and installation, and completion stage. We engage you from a fairly early stage in the contract, sharing valuable technical expertise so that the design concepts which materialise are of the highest quality.
Our stonemasonry servicemen provide a full installation and conservation service which includes detailed drawings and plans which are shared with you at every stage of the project. Our stonemasons have the skills and experience to liaise with you builder or architect so that the contract is seen through efficiently and smoothly.
All our stonemasons are put through comprehensive in-house as well as hands-on training. The real-world experience they gain is furthered by intimate knowledge of every common stone type there is, and that is how they learn to make the most of it during the masonry process. Our masons boast an extraordinary level of competence and are well-versed in all areas of stonemasonry, be it building and installation, repairs, conservation or cleaning.
We possess the abilities, knowhow and experience to work with an extensive traditional stonework range but are also equipped to work with unique stonework pieces in order to match your personal requirements. Our master stonemasons will make your stonework to order as required. We have trained our masons to reproduce practically anything in stone. In addition to traditional stonemasonry skills, we use cutting-edge technology and machinery to hand-carve stunning and unforgettable stone pieces.
We are a full service stonemason in Edinburgh and provide a complete range of stonemasonry services:
We are proud to bring you a complete range of stone construction and repair services – we have the industry experience to undertake any construction or repair job, no matter how small or large.
We fully understand the importance of planning a masonry project properly from the outset. We will help you choose the most suitable materials as well as what component parts to choose and scheduling/programming of every respective masonry unit.
We provide masonry materials in a wide range including stone, granite, marble, slate, limestone and natural sandstone. The materials we supply are dressed, cut and carved according to your exact specifications in a controlled environment where safety and quality craftsmanship is a top priority.
We also provide detailed assessments on repairs which may be required to improve the look of your building and protect it better from future wear-and-tear, so that you can have complete peace of mind.
At J D Smith Stonemasons Ltd, our decades of experience and understanding in intricate repair work will leave you completely safe in the knowledge that diligent, hard-working and honest stonemasons are performing repairs to the highest standards while paying attention to every minute detail in the process. The stone repair work we undertake forms the epitome of value, quality and excellence – we are somewhat proud of our achievements to date as we have certainly played our part in preserving Edinburgh’s historical beauty.
One of our specialised areas in stonemasonry is restoration and conservation, which we have been doing since the very start to preserve Edinburgh’s rich cultural heritage.
We prefer to keep things close to home and have worked on conserving some of Edinburgh’s most monumental and iconic structures, bridges and buildings.
Our approach to stone conversation is always tailored exclusively to fit each project requirement. For instance, every project environment, condition, and material is unique and we go to great lengths to identify the most suitable conservation approach, always taking extra care to initiate the process through small-scale trials first.
To give you a better idea, here are some of the stone cleaning and conservation methods we use, while taking a highly pragmatic approach to ensure the success of every project:
- Recarving/remodelling missing elements when treating cracks
- Complete conservation through cleaning, dismantling, relocating and storing materials appropriately before reconstructing masonry structures
- By way of traditional bonding techniques, stabilise facades and structures
- Pay close attention to stone indents and/or replacements
- Salt removal through mechanical water baths and poulticing
- Surface cleaning using the appropriate chemical applications
- Removing biological growth
- Cleaning and conserving all deteriorating surfaces
We are experts at the newest lime pointing and traditional lime pointing methods for stone. Before anything else, it is important to understand the benefits lime pointing entails.
When the core masonry gets wet due to rain or condensation, the cement inside starts to trap moisture; this moisture will inevitably expand and push out the cement pointing resulting in cracks, and at some point, the pointing will fall out. Lime, however, is water-permeable – it allows moisture to exit right through the masonry.
Lime is always softer than the masonry it is intended to support – when there is a freeze/thaw or settlement movement, the lime mortar will always give out before the stone, hence, preserving the cement and giving it the required cushioning during movement. Lime also offers a higher degree of flexibility than cement; it remains intact for much longer when there is movement, since cement is brittle in nature.
This may be hard to believe but over the years, buildings move by tiny millimetre increments all the time. This can be a direct result of humidity or temperature changes, winds due to inner walls and chimneys, or due to natural settlement. Lime pointing, therefore, provides the added flexibility buildings need to stand the test of time. We use only lime for pointing, be it traditional or newer methods of stone lime pointing.
Walls and buildings that demand repair usually require a range of stonemasonry skills like stone dressing, building work, indenting, lime pointing or stone replacement/restoration.
Masonry chimneys can practically last you a lifetime though that does not mean that they are completely invulnerable to damage. Certain weather elements may lead to cracked stones or failed pointing, which might eventually result in complete failure. The moment you notice signs of wear and tear, you should have your chimney repaired and maintained regularly.
Walls that support the building and chimneys need proper maintenance; this requires a blend of the above stonemasonry skills. We have saved many deteriorating structures in the past, including chimney repairs, re-pointing ad rebuilding, as they can reset or displace over time.
Common causes of decaying chimneys, walls and building structures are excessive moisture, wind erosion, poorly implemented pointing or repairs, frost or salt that is usually used for road gritting. No matter what the cause, the right blend of stonemasonry work can save your entire building, including those previous walls and chimneys.
The art of stone restoration and conservation requires precise and highly specialised stonemasonry skills. Stones that show signs of surface erosion can be repaired with colour-matched, lime-based repair method called lithomex.
We initially use teethed chisels to remove the soft eroded stone in order to expose a new, erosion-free layer of stone. The eroded stone may often be 2 inches deep, in which case we fix dowels or stainless steel screws to allow the lithomex to grip better. Once the lithomex has been built to the desired level, it is left to settle for up to 48 hours, after which it is sanded down to get the right finish.
Our Edinburgh lithomex suppliers use diverse colour charts through which we can have the right stone colour match. Lithomex is formulated to dry and flex at the same rate as stone – the end result is no moisture entrapment, which is the case with cement stone repairs. The results lithomex boasts are simply unmatched and we use it exclusively for all stone restoration jobs.
Failure to repair or maintain your stone garden wall or rubble wall can prove to be disastrous. We offer the most cost-effective garden and rubble wall repair solutions, using tried and true traditional masonry techniques. We will restore your wall to its original state and depending on the level of repair or maintenance work that is required, we may completely rebuild your wall, re-point it using lime mortar or have the eroded stone replaced.
Just to shed more light on this, if you are simply looking at eroded stones in your wall, we will quickly replace it with either reclaimed or brand new stone, after which re-pointing is done using lime mortar.
However, if you simply wish to restore your garden or rubble wall to its former glory without replacing any stones, we will use the right lime mortar application to restore them completely.
In worse-case scenarios, your wall might require a complete rebuild, in which case we will build walls from the ground up to ensure they are structurally sound and reliable.
We have the technical skills and craftsmen to deal with all aspects of structural repair, from internal/external maintenance and alterations to a stone constructed bridge.
As the years accumulate, building foundations show signs visible of movement through cracks and distortion in the stone work. We will strengthen and stabilise foundations, and perform repairs on stone or brick walls. We use the latest stonemasonry technology with traditional methods like mini-piling to cut out defective areas and replace them with the right materials to strengthen the structure of your building. You will never have to deal with cracked or distorted masonry again. Our masons are well-versed in the art of crack stitching walls.
Over the last few decades, we have also gained extensive experience in stone bridge repairs. We only work on bridges that have been approved by local authorities as ‘structurally sound’. We understand how important public safety is and work with all the designated organisations to conduct bridge repairs safely and reliably.
Our masterful stone masons have spent years honing their craft, performing carvings on some of Edinburgh’s most memorable monuments. We provide natural sandstone inscriptions and lettering in a multitude of stone types and styles to give your project a traditional touch.
We can produce unforgettable and immaculate carvings for headstones, monuments, gravestones and memorials. Next to the letters on a memorial or headstone, we will carve out a beautiful, bespoke emblem or drawing that symbolises the person’s passion for life and work. Our masons can produce any design you like on a stone of your personal choosing. Carvings are also an ideal choice for unpolished stone memorials.
Our stone cleaning methods are unmatched – we employ the industry standard DOFF stone cleaning method, which is a non-abrasive way of cleaning stone work on historic buildings. We will clean up your historic building in a way so as to leave it gleaming like new, while not upsetting or altering any of its origins.
Historic buildings and structures in Edinburgh require the utmost care so that they are well-preserved for the next generation – through the integrated non-abrasive DOFF stone cleaning system, Edinburgh history will remain intact as intended for generations to come.