Architects, engineers and construction managers, including officials from New York City agencies are getting lessons in turning back the hands of time on aging building structures during stone restoration workshops from Cathedral Stone Products Inc., hosted by the International Masonry Institute (IMI).
More than 60 attendees at workshops last month in Queens, N.Y., and at IMI’s John Scola Training Center in Long Island City, N.Y., received hands-on training in applying restoration mortars, as well as an in-depth overview in stone restoration systems.
“Masonry reflects the history and character of a place. Those who attend our workshops are preserving New York architecture for the next generation,” says presenter Steven Cortazzo, director of sales of Cathedral Stone Products.
Some common problems of aging stone and masonry include: Fractures, displacements, bond separation and voids, and facades that need pinning or reinforcement. Quality materials and specialized masonry procedures are essential throughout restoration projects and help bring architectural details and buildings to their original form and splendor.
“In the New York area, we see a lot of deterioration on historic buildings and even on much newer structures. Limestone, terra cotta and marble are soft stone and prone to staining and discoloration. Mortars, as well as cast forms and concrete surfaces are usually the first to show the combined negative effects of freeze-thaw cycling and airborne contaminants,” he says.
The company’s systems have been in use for 35 years and were instrumental in restoring landmarks, such as the Empire State Building, the Javits Center, Ellis Island, the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument. As a general rule, restoration is generally less expensive than replacement if at least 50 percent of the original stone or masonry structure remains. It also may be the best or only option over large areas or where access is difficult or limited.
“Credited workshops like these help keep BAC Local 1 members informed and proficient,” says John Bachenski, IMI director of industry training and technical development. “Historic buildings and older masonry structures may have been built with materials or methods that are no longer readily available. So repairs require a systematic approach, beginning with an understanding of the past and future function of the entire building envelope,” he says.
IMI is a strategic alliance between the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and the contractors who employ them. Member training, certifications and continuing education is provided by the International Masonry Training and Education Foundation (IMTEF).
Restoration systems from Cathedral Stone Products include surface preparation products, masonry restoration systems and mineral coatings, masonry restraining systems and tools, as well as technical support, laboratory testing and custom color matching services.
Founded by Dennis Rude in 1982, Cathedral Stone Products is well known for its line of Jahn restoration mortars that can be custom blended for a specific project, as well as for potassium silicate mineral coatings that mechanically bond to masonry and create a breathable surface that resists airborne contaminants and will never crack or peel.