Hollywood American Legion Post 43 Terra Cotta Repair
Hollywood, Los Angeles County,
The building housing Hollywood American Legion Post 43 dated from the 20s and the decorative terra cotta panels representing various military units had deteriorated to the point that they needed intervention.
Click on images below to enlarge.
The building was constructed in the 20s to honor veterans of the Great War and the military organizations in which they served.
The poly-chromed terra cotta medallions along the parapet were highly colorful, but their glazed surfaces had failed to withstand the moisture from within, probably due to previous roofing issues, since repaired.
Closer inspection shows that the inner bisque body of the material had failed in certain locations and taken the glaze coating with it.
The damage is typical for this material and usually occurred on the lower portions of each medallion, a sign of water matriculation through the inner matrix as it worked its way down.
If allowed to proceed uninterrupted, these wonderful examples of the ceramic arts would have eventually posed a public hazard.
Our first step, after the mandatory general cleaning to remove surface dirt, was to rebuild the areas of loss using a water-based epoxy repair mortar. This material is excellent for this application due to its inherent stability and resistance to moisture.
The base repairs were then coated with a UV-resistant color-matched acrylic coating, also chosen becuase it is formulated to be UV-resistant.
The level of detail for refinishing this decorative glazed surfaces was relatively high for exterior terra cotta, normally a single color overall.
As with so many things involving restoration of historic surfaces and builidngs, the trick is to not over-do the work if possible. Hence the slightly stained area towards the bottom of the image was cleaned but otherwise not disturbed or repaired, allowing a slight 'patina' to remain.