We have been privileged to work in historic landmarks and homes all over Northern Virginia. Historic landmarks like Mount Ida in Alexandria, Woodlawn Plantation in Mount Vernon, and the Hibbs & Giddings building in Old Town Manassas. Along the road, we have also restored historic homes in cities such as Old Town Alexandria, Old Town Manassas, and Washington D.C.
Historic masonry requires specialized care that differs greatly from modern masonry practice. The wrong mortar can ruin otherwise fine brick or stonework. Shenandoah Restorations has experience with traditional masonry materials and can match the appropriate mortar to blend seamlessly into your existing brick or stonework. We can also repair or rebuild any damaged masonry infrastructure.
Using The Right Masonry Materials:
The correct mortar is especially important when working with antique handmade bricks. Traditional brick walls are designed to breathe through the mortar joint. Modern Portland-based mortars are too hard for soft wood-fired bricks, forcing moisture into the bricks themselves. Without a flexible mortar, absorbed moisture will cause the bricks to expand and crack. Moisture will also dissolve sulfites inside the brick, which can crystallize into efflorescence, causing the faces of the bricks to spall.
Factors to Consider When Restoring Old Masonry:
- Mortar Color
- Mortar Type (strength)
- Masonry Units (material)
- Pointing Style
- Matching Mortar Color and Texture
Recent Historic Restoration Projects:
“It has been said that old buildings do not belong to us only; that they have belonged to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false…we are only trustees for those that come after us” – William Morris