Preserving Historic Brick at the Shirley Plantation


The historic Shirley Plantation is situated along the James River right outside Richmond Virginia. It was constructed in the early 17th century and is the oldest family-owned business in North America as stated on their website. Today, unfortunately much of the brick that makes up the various buildings is literally falling apart. Spalling of the brick faces is occurring in a number of areas. One major contributor to this problem was the use of harmful Portland Cement installed in previous repairs throughout the structures.



Preserving the irreplaceable brick is currently the top priority. One method that has been very successful is the use of a very simple and natural product called Ecologic™ Waterglass Primer & Consolidant for Masonry. This is a mineral-based fixative, conditioner, and a mild consolidating repair material, sometimes also referred to as a “liquid stone primer.” It can turn the once brittle and crumbling historic red brick back into a more substantial and solid masonry unit once again. The use of Ecologic™ Waterglass Primer for brick and stone consolidation will allow the masonry to continue to breathe and possibly achieve a permanent repair, if the root cause of the masonry decay is also addressed.


Click here for more information on Ecologic™ Waterglass Primer and our other mineral based paints and stains. (Linked-in : Facebook : Twitter)

FAQ Friday: What are Silicate Paints?


Silicate Dispersion Paint is also known as Inorganic Mineral Paints and is unique in regard to its ability to breathe and supply a long service life to masonry materials. Chemical mineral paints are based on “Waterglass” AKA Potassium Silicate, which has been described as liquid stone. When silicate Paint petrifies a mineral substrate such as brick, stone or concrete, it chemically bonds to not only the surface but also beneath. Upon curing, called Silicification the paint becomes part of the substrate, forming a micro-crystalline coating. Because silicate paint becomes one with the substrate it will mimic the natural water vapor transfer and cannot blister or peel due to the laws of chemistry.

Learn more about silicate paints here (Linked-in : Facebook : Twitter)

Repointing A Historic New Jersey Home

Historic masonry restoration completed by the Technical Install Team of in Moorestown, New Jersey. This circa 1790 historic brick home was repointed using Ecologic™ Mortar. Ecologic™ Mortar is made with Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) and contains NO harmful Portland Cement. The use of Portland Cement to repoint historic buildings will cause premature degradation which may include spalling of historic bricks, moisture build up within the walls, damage from salts, and poor water vapor transmission. Water trapped within masonry walls may negatively encourage moisture issues to begin within the building including mold, mildew, and interior wall damage as well as increase heating and cooling costs.









What is especially unique about this repointing job is that the entire front façade was found to have remnants of the original white highlighting done within a narrow keyway incised into the center of the joint work. Many photos in the video correspond to the side walls which were simply repointed using the Natural Hydraulic Lime and sand Ecologic™ Mortar struck flat and having no such embellishment. However, the front was accurately reproduced with the highlighting work which is referred to historically as “Penciling.” To learn more about the methods and materials used for appropriate historic masonry restoration visit (Linked-in : Facebook : Twitter)

Restoration Well Underway at the University of Virginia

The prestigious Lawn at the University of Virginia is currently in the middle of an enormous restoration campaign. This past summer and fall, the sod was completely replaced to allow for a new drainage system. All of the 105 chimneys were repaired using custom Ecologic™ Mortar. Removal of the decades of damaging mortars that had been installed during the mid 20th Century, that may have inappropriately contained Portland cement were replaced with the Pure and Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) based mortars provided by Ecologic™ Mortars contain no inappropriate Portland cement or Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag, (GGBS), used in HL and not found in the original historic mortars.

Each of the 10 pavilions and 54 student rooms received their repaired chimneys this past summer during a repair campaign that was prompted in part by the east coast earthquake in August, 2011.

The mortar used for this repair, and a number of other ongoing repairs across the lawn, is not only a compatible mortar possessing important properties like breathability and a proper compressive strength, but it is also by nature environmentally friendly. Natural Hydraulic Lime releases approximately 80% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared to the manufacture of Ordinary Portland Cement and NHL does not off-gas like Hydraulic Limes (HL) containing GGBS. NHL continues to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere during its entire lifecycle moving it closer to being carbon neutral.

Watch the video above to see more about the restoration taking place at UVA and keep up to date with us to learn about the ongoing historic restoration campaign at Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village.

Video courtesy of UVA Magazine (Linked-in : Facebook : Twitter)

FAQ Friday

Two weeks ago I attended The 12th International Congress on the Deterioration and Conservation of Stone in New York City. It was four days long, jam packed with presentations that covered geology, physics, material science, engineering, chemistry, biology, architecture, and conservation. During this time I took lots of notes thinking that I may never be able to access this consolidated wealth of information again. Fortunately I checked up on the website and noticed to my surprise that not only are all the abstracts available but also the research papers that were presented. The amazing thing is that all this information in FREE. So geek out and enjoy. (Linked-in : Facebook : Twitter)

Limelight on Historic Brownstone Restoration – Alfred’s Victorian

Alfred’s Victorian Restoration Story –  with Andy deGruchy

Alfred's Victorian Staff
Alfred’s Victorian Staff


This beautiful late 19th century Hummelstown brownstone was recently restored by deGruchy Masonry Restoration, the Technical Install/Training Team of Using historically appropriate, breathable Natural Hydraulic Lime based materials for repointing the brickwork and repairing the brownstone, this iconic building is now put into an excellent state of conservation. It remains a testament to excellent stewardship of our built heritage thanks to the owner, and lifelong resident of Middletown, PA, Robin Pellegrini.

Taking an architectural conservator’s approach, the team of masons repaired the broken and missing pieces of historic sandstone and lime mortar with environmentally friendly Ecologic® Mortar and Lithomex Brick and Stone repair material. The team retained as much of the historic fabric as possible by repairing what could be salvaged with these specialty materials. These materials allow the building envelope to process water out naturally through the lime and sandstone because of their effective liquid/vapor transfer properties over any patch material based on Portland cement.

Please take a look at our other videos for the full extent of this remarkable restoration:

True Sustainable Development in Historic Restoration  – Alfred’s Victorian –  Randy Ruth

Restoring Historic Alfred’s Victorian Brownstone  –  Randy Ruth

Natural Hydraulic Lime Mortars for Historic Preservation and Their Impact on the Environment –  Randy Ruth


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