Historic and existing masonry buildings have common issues that architects, engineers, conservators, contractors, and owners are often challenged with evaluating and addressing. Historic generally refers to buildings 50 years of age or greater with significance architecturally or culturally.
Thoughtfully and appropriately designed repair and restoration projects can preserve the integrity of the masonry building and continue its life for future decades. From a sustainability perspective, the greenest building is the one that already exists.
With greater knowledge of masonry material properties, wall systems, condition assessments, and best practices for repair and restoration strategies, design and construction professionals can successfully develop and implement appropriate solutions for their culturally significant and existing projects.
Put your restoration projects in the hands of qualified professionals.
Our intensive Historic Masonry Preservation Certification Program (HMPC) teaches the traditional craft skills and contemporary repair techniques required for sensitive restoration work.
We also offer project-specific training, like Terra Cotta Restoration and Replacement, Historic Lime Mortars, Guastavino Tile Vaults, and Concrete Repair.
Specify HMPC to be sure you have highly trained, qualified restoration professionals on your project, or contact us for project specific training opportunities.
It’s important to prioritize repairs based on the structure’s conditions and project team goals. Strategies differ per project and can be selected from a variety of repair options.
Photo: Eric J. Nordstrom
Mortar joints make up about 20% of the masonry facade and are important both aesthetically and functionally. Mortar joints are a vehicle that allow further breathability and vapor transmission of wall assemblies.
It’s critical that new pointing mortars developed for a project aren’t stronger, denser, and less water absorbent than the original mortar or masonry materials. Selecting an appropriate and compatible new pointing mortar is one of the most important decisions to make for facade repairs and restoration projects. Facades with early manufactured masonry materials, like soft and porous brick or a soft and porous stone type, have an even more critical need for appropriate mortar selection.
It’s also important to note that new materials are often different from historic materials. Cement and cementitious materials undergo higher kiln temperatures and are typically ground more finely, which can lead to stronger and denser mixtures. Be sure to select cementitious materials, which are appropriate and compatible with the masonry units and system you are repointing. This could include various types of lime, portland cement, natural cement, and pozzolans/alternative cementitious materials, or combinations thereof.
Here are some commonly referenced standards and resources that you may find useful in developing appropriate repair and restoration strategies for your projects.
For material specific resources, check out our restoration material assembly pages.
Small text files that are placed on your machine to help the site provide a better user experience. In general, cookies are used to retain user preferences, store information for things like shopping carts, and provide anonymised tracking data to third party applications like Google Analytics. As a rule, cookies will make your browsing experience better. However, you may prefer to disable cookies on this site and on others. The most effective way to do this is to disable cookies in your browser. We suggest consulting the Help section of your browser or if you decline you will be redirected to the About Cookies website which offers guidance for all modern browsers.