Historic Brownstone Restoration With Breathable Natural Hydraulic Lime

This beautiful late 19th century 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 Ecologicâ„¢ 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.

The building is located at 38 N Union Street in Middletown, PA. It is the home of The Alfred’s Victorian Restaurant. The brownstone building was originally built in all its opulence for the purpose of demonstrating the Victorian era extravagance and wealth of the owner at the time. Construction was completed in 1888 using Hummlestown brownstone from the famous nearby quarry. Unfortunately, before the year 1900 it was repossessed from the owner by the Middletown National Bank and subsequently sold to its second owner for $6,600.00.

While the interior went through many renovations, the exterior remained mostly untouched. Over the years, the brownstone weathered and many of the beaded mortar joints cracked and wore down flush with the stone. For this repair campaign, Ecologicâ„¢ Mortar in color code DGM BLACK was used to repoint the missing or damaged joints. Where historic black-colored lime mortar was intact in all of its beaded profile, but only the original lamp black pigmentation faded out, QuartzGuard Silicate Paint, which was made to match Ecologicâ„¢ DGM BLACK Mortar, was applied over the joints to blend the colors of the old and new together for a beautiful and striking contrast to the chocolate colored Hummelstown Brownstone. The custom shade of Lithomex was formulated so that the Hummlestown Brownstone elements which eroded away could be rebuilt. This included the ornate egg and dart details which were re-carved by the deGruchy Masonry Restoration team over the windows and at pillars and other locations.

Here are a few photos of the restoration process. If you live nearby, stop by Alfred\’s Victorian and say hi. The food is great so plan to try one of their delicious locally grown, organic meals.

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