We didn't perform this project but it's a great introduction to this section. Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy is a major symbol of ecclesiastical architecture in a land replete with such icons. Even icons need care, however, and this process shot shows how something as simple as cleaning the surface can transform the visual impact of a structure.
This exterior shot of the Van Nuys Building in downtown Los Angels exemplifies the visual impact of our work. A dirty urban landmark is transformed via restoration techniques into a visual symbol of what can be achieved with appropriate means and methods. This can be a big shot in the arm to an urban area trying to re-create itself.
This structure is the Hearst Mausoleum in Colma Cemetary, south of San Francisco. It is a granite structure, including even the roof tiles. This cleaning project utilized a common cleaning agent used in the restoration trades, an acid-based solution that is applied and rinsed with pressurized water.
What a difference a day makes.....for this type of masonry substrate, acid-based cleaning solutions are usually the most cost-effective and satisfactory option.
This commercial facade in the Financial District of San Francisco was clad in a marble known as Rosso Levanto, and had lost its polish over the years due to acid-rain exposure.
In this case a simple light abrasive process known as honing allowed us to remove the outer layer of atmospheric pollution and etched marble surface and resulted in a matte finish which was then preserved using a water-repellent treatment that also had a bonus effect in the color-enhancement of the stone.
This is Kerckhoff Hall, at the center of the historic core of the UCLA campus. We did a lot of other work on this project (check out the 'Natural Stone' page), but the cleaning of the facade was one of the more dramatic steps taken in the restoration of the building.
This finish shot shows a very clean facade, that has weathered comfortably since the finish of the project. In the L.A. urban environment (even on the West side), it won't be long before a new cleaning project is warranted.
This bank facade had a beautiful polished green stone veneer, but in the 70s ("it seemed like a good idea at the time") the stone was covered with a brown ceramic tile veneer. Within a few years the tile began to fall off the facade, becuase no surface preparation was performed to ensure a good substrate bond. You can see in this photo the telltale swish marks of the notched application trowels where residual thinset mortar is still remaining.
Because we knew that this particular stone was not as susceptible to acid-based cleaning compounds because of its high concentration of non-calcite minerals, we were able to rinse the entire wall with an aggressive cleaning product that we would normally not use on calcareous (marble) surfaces. Final buffing of the restored surface gave us the product we wanted, at a much less expensive level that complete replacement.
Barstow Train Station - This shot of the newly re-installed brick and cast stone shows historic material that still needs attention. In this case, the cleaning medium was pressurized abrasive, to remove the cementitious haze.
Once the surface was thoroughly cleaned, the cast stone could be re-painted to complete the transformation.
This marble floor in a commercial space in San Francisco had been covered for years with a combination of leveling compound, adhesive, and carpet.
Resurfacing and sealing this material will produce a beautiful and durable surface.
Resurfacing can also be used on new installation, in imitation of the techniques used in historical marble installation, as here where the lippage between tiles in a new installation was deemed excessive.
Once finished, the surface will require ongoing polishing and maintenance to keep the final finish.
The Hallidie Building in San Francisco is the first and oldest glass-veneer facade in the western U.S. The marble floor had been covered in the 50's with wood parque using a particularly aggressive adhesive. Freezing sections of the floor with dry ice prior to removal prevented the marble substrate from being damaged as well.
Final polishing and sealing of the newly resurfaced Tennessee pink marble.
San Jose Museum of Art: Detail of a deteriorated sandstone capital prior to application of specialty repair mortar.
Completed sandstone capital repair.
Eastern Columbia Building: Typical terra cotta glaze deterioration at the upper tower area.
Complete terra cotta repairs at the tower area.
Concrete Spall: This is a typical condition in which we see only very slight indication of interior damage.
Prying with a rock hammer or screwdriver will easily expose the iron-jacked concrete failure and interior rusted steel re-bar.
1932 Olympic Swim Stadium: This is a typical condition once we have fully prepped a corner concrete spall.
The same repair completed and ready for application of the final coating system.
Flood Building, SF: Repair of deteriorated sandstone using cement repair mortar for a two-stage application process - base coat shown here roughened on the surface to receive later final layer.
The same row of column bases completely repaired and coated.
Huntington Gallery: This limestone sculpted figure had undergone numerous previous repairs as well as normal material decay.
Complete repair and surface rendering using specialty repair mortar.
Title Guaranty Building, LA: This terra cotta glaze had failed at many locations on the veneer.
The same terra cotta glazed surface after repair using water-based epoxy putty and UV resistant coating.
AMDA Building, Hollywood: The cast stone decorative trim had endured the same process of iron jacking.
Careful sculpting by hand using repair mortar restored the detail.
Huntington Museum: This limestone egg-and-dart trim had sustained significant damage from moisture.
Moldmaking techniques and the color-matched repair mortar allowed the detail to be accurately reproduced and installed.
This 1920's office building entry had been altered over the years and needed help.
Mold making expertise coupled with the proper casting mix and finishing techniques helped to make the entry more like it used to be.
The exterior side of this office building entry had also been partially altered.
Molds for the columns were taken from a matching entry on the opposite side of the building, and matching granite base material installed to complete the renaissance.
Old Christie Hotel, Hollywood: The lower level of this 1923 terra cotta veneer was ripped out or covered with stucco in a misguided attempt to 'modernize' the facade.
Using detailed mold-making techniques, we replaced the destroyed areas and restored any remaining covered details to reproduce the original facade, down to the new iron window components.
Rives Bldg, LA: This 1925 lobby had been many things, including a movie theater. Much of the original lobby detail had been covered or removed over the years, but just enough detail remained to model the reproduction and replacement decorative elements.
We were fortunate to discover some matching marble as well to complete the restoration.
Victor Clothing Co, LA : This is a typical older facade that has had multiple iterations of different facade changes, in which the upper terra cotta horizontal course has chipped back or removed to make room for a previous overlay of stucco or sheet metal.
Careful attention to detail and reproduction, both in the terra cotta elements as well as the glazed ceramic tile on the surround areas, helped to make this a successful restoration.
Sandstone repairs at an old house on the Mt. St. Mary's Campus in LA using reproduced pitch-faced stone veneer.
The same area finished and pointed.
Annenberg Center, Santa Monica - Julia Morgan Pool - Marble and stone components prior to restoration.
The same area completely restored, with new water-jet-cut depth markers to satisfy code requirements.
Santa Fe Depot, San Bernardino - Tile restoration in the main lobby involved reproduction of new matching ceramic tile for the window arches.
Restored tile with new matching ceramic arch units.
Administration Building, USC General Hospital, LA - Porcelain pennyround flooring prior to restoration. Note the cracks where substrate has shifted.
The same area after all work was completed using new matching porcelain tile custom-made for this project.
Nash Building, Hollywood - An older building facade after commerce has its way.
Back to the original surfaces, and looking vastly improved!
Raymond Theater Entry, Pasadena - Black marble wainscot and plaster wall surfaces prior to restoration.
Matching new stone alongside original material, with adjacent plaster surface restoration and painting.
Koshman Mansion, SF - Exterior Colusa sandstone veneer after many years of inappropriate repairs and coloration.
After careful cleaning with light-pressure water rinsing, the same stone has been returned to its natural appearance.
AMDA Building - Hollywood - Decorative cast stone sculpture figures before cleaning with water only.
After image shows a cleaned and painted surface.