The exterior of a heritage building, or the heritage masonry, can tell an expert historian or restorer a lot about the period in which it was constructed. At Roof Tile Management, our in-house craftspeople have experience working on many historic masonry restoration jobs.
Heritage Masonry Repair and Restoration
Expert heritage masonry teams at Roof Tile Management work to repair or restore old masonry, while addressing the underlying cause of any interior or exterior damage. Damage can be caused by water leaking into cracks in the masonry, temperature changes that cause freezing and thawing of water within the masonry, poor craftsmanship, foundation settling, and advanced age of the building materials.
From the types of materials used to the method of frame construction, masonry styles evolved over the years in response to advances in technology and changes in fashion.
Heritage Masonry – More than Just an Attractive Exterior
While most admire the colour, textures, or patterns of heritage masonry, the exterior construction and material are also important for sound control, fire resistance, water resistance, and protection against outdoor temperatures.
While many equate masonry with brickwork, heritage masons need to be familiar working with a wide variety of materials, including brick, stone (particularly sandstone and limestone), cast stone, cement, stucco and terra-cotta. To control costs, early masons often worked with materials that were locally available. While this can make the work of identifying heritage materials easier, often the quarries from which the stone or material was sourced is no longer available, making it more difficult to match the colour and texture of the original.
Similarly, masons historically mixed a wide range of materials to create their mortar. The type of sand used in the mortar creates a unique colour, and the mixture of lime or cement is particular to each building. The mortar material must be matched as closely as possible to the original to avoid damage to the rest of the exterior.
Historic Masonry Restoration and Repair
As with any heritage restoration project, a critical first step when approaching historic masonry restoration is to first identify historically significant features, then make a plan to protect those features to preserve the integrity of the building.
After identifying and correcting the cause of the original damage, the next step of the masonry restoration project may be to repair or “repoint” the mortar. Repointing is only done where mortar has deteriorated, with loose bricks or cracks.
During the process, old mortar is carefully removed, taking care not to damage the existing brick or stone. New mortar material is then mixed and applied to fill the joints.
As previously mentioned, when you restore old masonry, it is vital to match the colour, strength and texture of the original to preserve both the look and structural integrity of the heritage building. Modern masons must take care to match the original sand and binding material (lime or concrete) as closely as possible. It can take several attempts to reach the right texture, and consistency and binding strength.
Due to the expertise involved, it is recommended repointing of heritage masonry only be done by a trained professional.
Roof Tile Management – Heritage Roofing, Heritage Masonry and More
At RTM, we care about the preservation of your heritage home or commercial building. We take pride in our work and the work of our many expert craftspeople.
We are specialists in masonry conservation and preservation, cast stone reproduction and installation, historic masonry restoration, injection grout systems (like lime, cement and resin-based grouts), and KIEM Restauro stone repair. Plus, we have a full scaffolding division – unique in our industry – to help us complete heritage masonry and stonework, mold fabrication and decorative cast replacement stone units as well as concrete formwork.
Our work can be seen in many of Canada’s iconic historic buildings, and even homes in your neighbourhood.
If you have a question about masonry restoration, contact Roof Tile Management to learn more today!