Case Study on Masonry Repair and Patching Material – Lithomex

Damaged stone and brick is a common problem for many historic structures around the world. Lithomex is a breathable in-kind repair material for most types of damaged stone and brick. The following is an example of a Lithomex repair on a historic 19th century stone house…

Lithomex Repair in Merion Station, PA:

This house, located in Merion Station Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, was constructed in the 1920s during the Arts and Crafts style movement. This movement was a direct descendant of the British Arts and Crafts movement which was initiated by William Morris during the mid 1800s as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and its lack of concern for human lives in the work place. This movement was meant to bring back pride to the true craftsmen once again with an emphasis on hand-made vs. mass production.

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Before applying Lithomex

This house was handcrafted using a variety of stone including Mica Schist, Serpentine, Red Sandstone, Brownstone, PA Bluestone, and some Limestone. It was originally pointed with a high Portland cement content mortar, either 5:1:2 or 1:3 formula of Cement, Lime and sand. Unfortunately this was a recipe for disaster.

During the following 80 years, the softer sandstones received the greatest damage due to the freeze/ thaw cycles of the cold Pennsylvania winters. This combined with later modifications including new windows which were installed improperly allowed water to be trapped behind and within the stone walls. Leaks developed within the house and the homeowners decided it was time to fix things the right way.

BEFORE PHOTOS

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Lithomex being applied

A team from Galli Masonry Restorations took on the challenge to bring this historic home back to its original glory. First they removed all the old pointing and filled in the voids with LimeWorks.us Natural Hydraulic Lime mortar. Then blended with Lithomex colors and textures to replicate the original look of the stone. The damaged serpentine, brownstone and bluestone was repaired and blended in to be virtually unnoticeable.  The color and composition of the final pointing work was chosen by the homeowner which was a mix of Ecologic® Mortar DGM non-pigmented, DGM Grey and black Slag-fleck.

 

 

 

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Back Camera


 

Damaged stone

 

 

 

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Damaged wall at window

 

 

 

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Measuring damaged serpentine stone

 

 

 

 

 

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Lithomex on chimney

 

 

 

 

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Crafting Lithomex

 

 

 

 

AFTER PHOTOS

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Side of house after Lithomex application image 1

 

 

 

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After Lithomex application image 2

 

 

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After Lithomex application image 3

 

 

 

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After Lithomex application image 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After Lithomex application image 5

 

 

 

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After Lithomex application image 6

 

 

 

 

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After Lithomex application image 7

 

 

 

All Photos Copyright George Galli, Galli Masonry Restoration

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The Bill of Rights for Masonry Structures by Larry D. Jones

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Article 1
Respect all that is left of me, sacred as it is, my historic fabric.

 

 

 

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Article 2
Clean me not, unless it serves to halt my further deterioration.

 

 

 

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Article 3
But, if you must, clean me first, just water please, and the gentlest means possible.

 

 

 

 

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Article 4
If am clean, but still look old, leave me be, graceful aging, it is called.

 

 

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Article 5
Whatever you do, please don’t boil me in acid or scour me with sand.

 

 

 

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Article 6
Know that a good state of repair is in itself, good preservation.

 

 

 

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Article 7
Know what is wrong with me, before you plan how to fix me.

 

 

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Article 8
Repair me only where I need it, and with materials just like me.

 

 

 

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Article 9
If I am leaking water, find out where and fix just that.

 

 

 

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Article 10
Please, no cure-all surface treatments to cover me up or clog my pores.

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

1 Bryan Papciak
2 Sean K Maxwell
3 Kate Milford
4 Steven A. Cholewiak
5 Rasekh Fatmi
6 Trey Ratcliff
7 Trey Ratcliff
8 Trey Ratcliff
9 Frank DiBona
10 Trey Ratcliff

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Repairing Broken and Damaged Stone and Brick using Lithomex – FAQ by Randy Ruth

by Randy Ruth

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Of course following the Lithomex technical data sheet is important to ensure a quality application, but what about the little things that can’t fit on one sheet of paper?  The small details that help make good finish “POP” into a quality indistinguishable patch. There are many things that are far to subtitle to translate onto paper from experience and feel of mortar and trowel. So practice, timing and tools are critical overview subjects to be discussed here.

Practicing patching old single salmon bricks not in a wall is a cheap and technically challenging exercise. The porosity of salmon bricks demonstrates the importance of controlling suction. If suction is not controlled, bond failure can occur while detailing outside corners. It’s these corners that give rise to the technical challenge. By coating multiple sides of a brick, it helps create focus on multiple surface planes. The initial reshaping step doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to have about 1/8 inch extra material beyond the desired finish. Once Lithomex is well bonded to three sides of a brick, wait for the material to stiffen to thumbprint hard.

DSC_0126Re-troweling the surface will compact the patch to compensate for any slight shrinkage. While using trowels, squares, straight edges, miter rods and improvised tools to shave back and cut away undesired material to the finished profile will create the rough finish. When finishing a masonry unit in a wall, long metal straight edges are great to use as a profiling tool. With the edges exposed over to adjacent units or edges, they act as a guide to bring the finish to proper plane. Typically much of this profiling can be done in the first day of patching; however 12-24 hours later more intricate detailing and carving can be done. Tooth chisels can be used during this time frame to scratch in tooth marks or crandled finishes.

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As more time is allowed to let the patch “firm up” stone masons chisels can be used in a traditional method to give more authentic characteristics. Sanders and rubbing block are also useful for honing the surface to a more polished or pristine finish.

Following these tips and practicing will build upon previous experiences for the craftsman or aspiring novice, facilitating a better rounded approach to brick, stone and terracotta patching.

Other Examples in Use:

 



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Phone: 245-536-6706

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The Mysterious Newport Tower, Restored Using Natural Hydraulic Lime

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The Newport Tower is a peculiarly placed piece of stonework.  It currently resides in Touro Park surrounded by one of the ritziest resorts on the eastern seaboard.  Often called the “Old Mill”, it’s generally accepted to have once been a windmill built in the mid 17th Century. But some believe it was built much earlier either by visiting Vikings, Native Americans, traveling Chinese sailors, or even medieval Scottish Templars led by earl Henry Sinclair during a voyage to New England about a hundred years before Columbus.  Either way, this structure was built to last, being a minimum of 360 some years old. A mortar comparison showed the Newport Tower to be made of lime, sand and gravel.

A team from Contracting Specialists Incorporated recently performed some structural restoration by removing Portland Cement repairs and shoring up the stone with Natural Hydraulic Lime as well as placing a new cap on the top with NHL. These repairs ensure the structure will retain its historically appropriate ingredients while also keeping it structurally sound for generations to come.

Additional Resources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newport_Tower_(Rhode_Island)
http://www.unmuseum.org/newporttower.htm
http://www.thenewporttower.com
http://www.neara.org/images/what/Newport__loose_threads.pdf
http://www.newporttower.org

Presented by LimeWorks.us

Phone: 245-536-6706

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A Green Portland Cement Alternative, FAQ Friday with Randy Ruth

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You might ask yourself… How is Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) a green building material? The simple answer would be that it releases about 80% less CO2, pound for pound when compared to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) during the manufacturing process. But why is this so? Well that requires a bit of understanding on the manufacturing of the two very different products.

Both NHL and OPC are made from limestone, although not necessarily the same kinds of stone and are fired in a kiln. NHL is produced in Vertical shaft kilns, which is like a big chimney, with natural gas or clean coal at a low temperature. While OPC is burned in a rotary kiln fired at nearly 2,500 F. The amount fuel used to maintain such a high temperature is by far greater than the relatively low firing temperature of NHL. Often hazardous waste is used as a fuel, which can emit toxins into the atmosphere. During either process CO2 is driven off into the atmosphere. Even though NHL production drives off less CO2, the benefits don’t stop there.

When the NHL is ready to be mixed as a mortar right out of the bag, it’s hungry. NHL wants the CO2 that was pumped into the atmosphere back all for its self, in its natural process to turn back into a limestone. As different grades of NHL are produced their whiteness and density change. On a scale from lightest to heaviest and from whiteness to grayness, NHL 2 is Light and white while OPC in heavy and grey. Since mortar is mixed by volume in the field, less lime is used per pound to make up the same volume of mortar using OPC.

For more info and to purchase visit us here: limeworks.us/nhlmoreinfopage.php

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Lime Paint Brush (Natural Bristle) vs other paint brushes? FAQ by Randy Ruth

Often when applying Lime Paint the surface texture may be rough, such as that of a brick, stone or stucco. A good brush for Lime Paint should be made of a high quality, durable natural bristle. What would be the most distinctive difference is the size. The wider thicker ferrule allows for more bristles and allows for a greater painting efficiency, due to its greater capacity to carry the thin paint.

Lime Paint Natural Bristle Brush
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standard-paint-brush

Regular Paint Brush

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Restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue in New York City with Ecologic™ Mortar

Eldridge Street Synagogue
Eldridge Street Synagogue


In the heart of what is now Chinatown on the Lower East Side in Manhattan lives the Eldridge Street Synagogue. A very important Jewish Synagogue built in the late 1800s, it was the first synagogue to be built by the Eastern European Jews emigrating from Russia, Romania and Poland. The synagogue flourished for its first 50 years and was revered for its gorgeous vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. But the membership began to dwindle following the great depression and was abandoned in the 1950s. Harsh city life ate away at the building, it became home to flocks of pigeons and other critters. Leaks developed and the stairs became unstable, the remaining members retreated to the basement where they remained for almost half a century.

The rescue effort of the Eldridge Street Synagogue began in the late 70’s when volunteers and the Friends of the Eldridge Street Synagogue initiated efforts that led to an $18.5 million dollar repair campaign. This campaign included repointing work of the facade using Ecologic™ Mortar from LimeWorks.us.  Additional repairs to the ceiling, wallpaper, paint and almost every aspect of the central room was restored returning it to its original glory. The final element was set during the fall of 2010, the stained-glass window commissioned by Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans is the only 21st century element inside the historic space.

More details of the Eldridge Street Synagogue restoration can be found in the following issue of  Traditional Building.

LimeWorks.us

Phone: 245-536-6706

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Chalky Finish With Lime Paint, FAQ Friday with Randy Ruth

Q: I want to use Lime Paint as a finish of my basement walls but am worried about it chalking. What can I do to prevent or fix this?
A: When used as a finish over any sort of acceptable masonry, Lime Paint can create a beautiful durable finish when applied appropriately. Chalking of a Lime Paint can be reduced when it is applied in numerous very thin coats as always recommended. Although it will not be eliminated, it will certainly help for the longevity of the coating. Now if chalking is of the upmost concern there is a simple solution. By applying one thin coat of PrimaSil, (potassium based “water glass”) almost all chalking is eliminated. The color of the finish may change slightly depending on the absorbency of the background and Lime Paint. Typically, this is so slight that it is inconsequential.

Click here for more information on our Lime Paints

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Checking up on the Lithomex Repairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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A team from LimeWorks.us recently ventured up to NYC. While there, they took some time to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art where a repair campaign in 2005 used St. Astier Lithomex to do a number of repairs on the Fifth Avenue street facade. Lithomex is a Natural Hydraulic Lime based stone and brick repair material that is environmentally friendly and a more suitable product for repairing sandstone compared to modern epoxy or Portland cement based repair materials. During the preliminary phase, it was discovered that the museum had suffered significant damage due to the use of Portland cement based mortars with relatively low porosity in earlier repair campaigns.

Lithomex has been used throughout the country for stone repair on historic brownstones, sand blasted brick buildings and decorative masonry. Because of its Natural Hydraulic Lime base, it’s an environmentally friendly and LEED qualifiable product.

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Total Repointing, FAQ Friday

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Q: What is the correct method for total repointing?

A: Correct total repointing requires removing the joint to a depth of approximately 2-1/2 times its width and then using a compatible mortar in relation to the final p.s.i. and both the liquid and vapor transmission rate as that of the remaining joint and brick. High lime content pointing mortar is compatible with the soft and absorptive nature of historic brick which rely on their “fired skin” to protect themselves and the building from rain intrusion. If high concentrations of Portland cement were in the repointing mortar instead of lime, when moisture in the brick were to expand and contract during freeze/thaw cycles, often the unyielding mortar forces the softer face of the brick to exfoliate thus leaving a vulnerable unburned “salmon” center of the brick exposed to the elements.

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