Historical Masonry

Masonry Construction Inc’s specialty is historical masonry restoration and preservation.  Historic buildings, historic masonry (and all old buildings, especially vernacular buildings should be view as historic) should be allowed to look their age; should be allowed to grow old gracefully and with dignity.  Repair is an essential part of this object but restoration of any significant kind as most certainly extensive or excessive restoration will rob an old building of precisely that of which we value it. 

The primary purpose of repair is to restrain the process of decay without damaging the character of a building, altering the features which give them their historic or architectural importance or unnecessarily disturbing or destroying historic fabric.  Repair techniques should be compatible with the existing materials and methods of construction, in order to preserve the appearance and historical integrity of the building and to be sure the work has the appropriate life.  Exceptions should only be considered where the existing fabric has failed because of defects of design or incorrect materials. 

Don’t let any unqualified person or company without masonry restoration credentials work on your masonry project.  Your building could be left in worse condition if inappropriate mortar or materials have been installed. The ideal way to select a masonry contractor is to get recommendations from owners or architects who have had projects recently restored.  Then ask qualified contractors for a list of projects they have completed.  Always insist on masonry restoration contractor to have a minimum of 5 years experience in historic masonry restoration. 

When preparing an estimate for your masonry restoration project we will perform the following:

Make a visual assessment of the building for the causes of the masonry delamination Evaluate the causes of mortar and joint deterioration by inspecting gutters, leaking roofs, parapet copings.  Identify the source of water penetration around opening such as windows and doors. 
Analyze the original mortar content.  Determine how much repointing needs to be done. Do not remove and replace original mortar if it is sound. Determine if the mortar is too hard and could be damaging the masonry. 

Determine what masonry can not be saved and must be removed and replaced.  Can the brick or stone be matched?  

Inspect stone, brick and terra cotta for the appropriate masonry repair mortar. For stone and brick we use Jahn M70 Mortar Patch.  For terra cotta repair we use Edison Coating Products.Visit our Terra Cotta Repair Page. Our historical mortar of choice is Ottobein 3.5 Naturally Hydraulic Lime.  Please visit our Mortar Repair page

Our ongoing historical masonry restorations include the following buildings. 

Antelope County Courthouse - Built 1894 - Romanesque Revival Style - Brick and Sandstone Restoration Neligh, NE.  

On this historical courthouse we stabilized the brick walls and removed and replaced historical lime mortar, we also repaired sandstone faces and removed and replaced historic brick.

Valley County  Courthouse - Built 1919-1921 - Beau Arts Style- Terra Cotta Restoration Ord, NE.  
We are currently in our fifth year of restoration on this elaborate terra cotta building. We are removing and replacing a hard mortar and repointing a softer lime mortar.  We are repairing spalled, cracking and crazed terra cotta surfaces and installing a new glaze.

Gage County Courthouse - Built 1890-1892 - Richardsonian Romanesque Style - Sandstone Restoration Beatrice NE.  

This masonry restoration includes hot water pressure washing for removal of a silicone based deep penetrating sealer and removal of hard portland mortar joints and repointing with a hydraulic lime mortar.  The building was repointed with a hard portland based mortar and these hard mortar joints have spalled and delaminated many of the faces of the sandstone. Our masons are rebuilding the faces of the sandstone with Cathedral Stone -Jahn Patch M70.