Restoring Mt. Vernon’s Upper Garden Wall

Mt Vernon's Flower Garden

by Debra Grube and Samantha Horvath

LimeWorks.us is providing a custom blend of our Ecologic™ Mortar for the restoration of Mt. Vernon’s Upper Garden Wall.

Mt. Vernon was built in 1735 by George Washington’s father, Augustine, and George acquired Mount Vernon in 1754.  It began as a one and one-half story farmhouse, and over the next 45 years the building was slowly enlarged to create the wonderful 21-room residence we see today.  Washington personally supervised each renovation, selecting architectural features that expressed his growing status as a Virginian gentleman planter and ultimately as the first President of the United States.

The gardens that surround the mansion, however, were just as important as the living quarters considering they sustained the food supply of the family and all the visitors that flocked to George Washington’s home every year.  Even when the Washingtons were not present at the mansion, Martha Washington made sure the gardens were well tended, to be sure of the supply and abundance of fruits and vegetables upon their return.  The upper garden was transformed into a pleasure garden, occupied by a myriad of beautiful flowers surrounding the remaining vegetable beds. Washington procured the pleasure garden, along with a green house, as an alluring keynote for his guests to admire the beauty and fragrances provided by his lush gardens.

In the attached video you will catch glimpses of the upper garden wall, which is currently being restored using LimeWorks.us’ Ecologic™ Mortar manufactured using St. Astier’s NHL 2 and a custom blend of aggregates and pigments to simulate the coloration of the historic garden wall. Although you will not see the actual mortar in use, these videos below share more about the Upper and Lower Gardens.

The Beautiful Upper Garden at Mt Vernon

The Lower Garden at Mt. Vernon

The information shared here has been taken from the Mt Vernon Website.  Further reading and in depth history and facts of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, can be found at their site.

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Restoring St. Patrick’s Cathedral

An Undertaking of Passion and Love

LimeWorks.us is a big part of helping to restore a prominent landmark in New York City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Cathedral was completed in 1878. Then in 1888 spires were added. The picture below is taken from near the top of one of one of the spires.

From the Spires of St Patrick's Cathedral
From the Spires of St Patrick’s Cathedral

The Cathedral is undergoing an extensive restoration project.

Restoration Announcement and to learn more St. Patrick’s Cathedral click here:

Workers are in the process of fully restoring the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This work includes cleaning and repointing all exterior stonework and repairing the stained glass windows. LimeWorks.us is supplying all of the lime mortar for the full repointing campaign using our Ecologic Mortar (SCG) F; that is made of St Astier NHL and sand. This work is necessary to ensure that this beautiful New York City landmark endures for many future generations!

Thanks to the gracious invite by Deerpath Construction, the contractor doing the work, who extended to those of our staff in attendance at APT NYC, we received a special tour up on the
scaffolding. It was an awesome view and wonderful to see our Ecologic™ Mortar based made with St. Astier NHL being used to restore this famous and very important building of the NY skyline.

For additional information, or to purchase:

Ecologic™ Mortar

St. Astier NHL

 

Click here to see a short video on St. Patrick’s Transformation

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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 LimeWorks.us. 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

 

Presented by LimeWorks.us
Phone: 215-536-6706

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How do Natural Hydraulic Lime Mortars Compare to Common Type-O Mortars Containing Portland Cement? by Randy Ruth

by Randy Ruth

For well over 30 years it has been common practice to prescribe the use of a Type-O masonry mortar for use on the conservation of masonry buildings. The most common formula of a Type-O mortar is 1:2:9, a blend of 1 part white Portland cement, 2 parts Type-S hydrated lime (most often dolomitic lime) and 9 parts sand by volume. In recent years there has been an increasing amount of research on similar mix designs and how they compare to Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) based mortars used in Europe to repoint historic masonry buildings. Just recently, a professor and two graduates of Columbia University published a research study on the same topic here in the United States. The results of this study can be found in the Association for Preservation Trades International bulletin Vol. XLIII. Their innovative approach to allow a real comparison between different mortar types used in conservation reveals some interesting results.
Petrographic thin section images courtesy of William Revie of The Construction Materials Consulting Group; Striling, Scotland

Petrographic thin section images courtesy of William Revie of The Construction Materials Consulting Group; Striling, Scotland

The innovative approach the research team had developed with their curing protocol of various binder types, established a relatively level field of comparison for various mortars in regards to the way each mortar uniquely cures. With this testing detail established, the 11 commonly used repointing mortars were tested at various stages on their splitting tensile strength, compressive strength, water absorption and water-vapor transmission.

The tests reveal that for a splitting tensile strength the NHL/sand mortars are most comparable to traditional pure lime/sand mortars made of High calcium lime and dolomitic lime, while Type-O mortars were more than twice the splitting strength of NHL mortars. Although anecdotal, the cases where historic pure lime mortar has been used to repoint soft brickwork and has eroded causing a need for repointing, Type-O mortars could be consequently be too rigid for use a repointing mortar.

Compressive strength data shows that although NHL mortars have higher values than that of high-calcium lime mortars (with the exception of NHL 2 being less in strength than dolomitic lime) when compared to Type-O mortars their values are nearly half.

When mortars were measured for their water absorption, initially all NHL mortars significantly out-performed other mix designs. The most comparable mix was that of the Type-O mortars that ended up with similar characteristics to NHL mortars and still outperformed both pure lime mortars.

Water-vapor transmission results indicate that all NHL mortars process water vapor at much higher rates than dolomitic and both Type-O mortars, with values comparable to High-calcium lime mortars.

Although the results from the laboratory study are not entirely representative of values that are obtained in field work, they do represent what specifiers and conservation masons are attempting to achieve in real world situations. By eliminating variables, that can give anecdotal results and margins of error, the data suggests that NHL\’s are indeed appropriate when specifying a historic repointing mortar or a new construction mortar used for masonry mortar, plaster or stucco applications.

In conjunction with this study and the new ASTM C1713Standard Specification for Mortars for the Repair of Historic Masonry, Natural Hydraulic Lime clearly proves its self as an alternative to mortar mix designs that have been used widely in the United States for many decades and have shown, for one reason or another premature failure.

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Phone: 245-536-6706

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Yes, We Can Save The Frank Furness 19th Street Baptist Church

by Sean Maxwell 2012

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This beautiful church was designed by Frank Furness and is located at the corner of 19th and Titan in South Philadelphia.  It almost went the way of many Furness structures; due to neglect and time the church leadership is under pressure to begin repairs or plan for it to be demolished due to unsafe conditions sited by the License and Inspections Department of the city. Under the leadership of Reverend Vincent J. Smith and in partnership with the Greater Philadelphia Preservation Alliance and some volunteers, stabilization efforts have finally begun.

As the morning sun crept over the skyline on the last Saturday of April, Randy Ruth, mason and the laboratory technician from  LimeWorks.us volunteered to lead a workshop with a team of a few other volunteers to complete some small but crucial repairs on the north facing wall of the 19th Street Baptist Church.

The church has been in need of serious repairs for a number of years as observed and documented in a 2000 University of Pennsylvania report, Thesis by Molly Anne Sheehan, which show that the conditions of the church and the exterior Serpentine Stonework have continued to deteriorate steadily.

Under Randy’s supervision the team of volunteers used a lime mortar donated by LimeWorks.us for doing some in-kind repairs to stabilize the failing back-up walls behind the Serpentine stone. This lime and sand mortar reflects what would have been used originally when the church was constructed in the late 1800s. Ecologic® Mortar contains NO harmful Portland Cement and allows the building to breathe and process water as it did originally.  At some point in time, a hard and brittle Portland Cement stucco was placed over a significant part of the building, trapping moisture and leading to further deterioration of the soft, sedimentary serpentine stone and contributing to mold issues that the church basement still has to deal with today.

This was the first step in saving the most colorful building ever designed by Furness… A true master plan is needed for the next step in partnership with strong fundraising efforts to truly bring this sacred place back to its original glory.

Other stories about the 19th Street Baptist Church…

HiddenCityPhila.org

Plan Philly

Gallery photos  ©SeanKmaxweLL.com

LimeWorks.us
Phone: 215-536-6706

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Tadelakt Plaster Application At the Bucks County Designer House & Garden

LimeWorks.us was commissioned to complete a Tadelakt plaster application at the Bucks County Designer House in Doylestown PA. Tadelakt is a very traditional plastering technique which originated in Morocco.  It’s especially applicable for bathrooms due to its resistance to water. Using a natural hydraulic lime based plaster, Randy Ruth spent a few days completing the plaster application.  His approach included a three coat application using TAKCOAT™ as the base and a custom blended scratch and finish coat consisting of “color: #008000;”  in a base of Ecologic® Mortar and Natural Hydraulic Lime.

Take a few minutes to look through these progress photos.

BC-Designer-House-15 BC-Designer-House-34 BC-Designer-House-33 BC-Designer-House-32 BC-Designer-House-31 BC-Designer-House-28 BC-Designer-House-27 BC-Designer-House-26 BC-Designer-House-25 BC-Designer-House-24 BC-Designer-House-20 BC-Designer-House-14 BC-Designer-House-13 BC-Designer-House-10 BC-Designer-House-9 BC-Designer-House-7 BC-Designer-House-6 BC-Designer-House-4 BC-Designer-House-2 BC-Designer-House-1

All Photos © Sean K Maxwell

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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.

 

 

 

Back Camera
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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