Damaged glazed brick repair project
This early 20th century former laundry building in central London, originally the premises of Loud & Western Ltd, which had also served as a community centre, was undergoing extensive renovation and structural alterations to convert it into four shell units. Modifications included a rooftop addition, and the installation of modern timber windows to improve the property’s energy performance, while striving to retain the listed building’s original architectural styling.
The latter included not just the very visible name of the old laundry business above the door and beneath the parapet level, but also the restoration of extensive areas of glazed brickwork across the faceted façade which runs around the Broughton Road junction.
The main contractor and a previous client of Plastic Surgeon, called in the repair and restoration specialist to undertake repairs which were beyond the capabilities of either bricklayers or most stonemasons.
Given the age of the structure and its exposed situation, large areas of the old brickwork were very badly weathered, with the faces to many individual bricks having been eroded away completely. Many more that remained were so brittle and friable that pieces could be broken off using just a fingernail.
The elevations also featured an unusual bond pattern with a third, smaller brick size interspersed amongst the headers and stretchers, while the cill areas beneath the new fenestration also utilized cant bricks in stepped courses.
All of these affected sections had to be remoulded by hand using Plastic Surgeon’s proprietary two-pack exterior grade filler: the Finishers involved employing trowels and filling knives to shape the material as well as timber profiles to shutter some edges.
Not only did the original brick colours and the glaze require reproducing, but the aged appearance of the surviving bricks also had to be matched.
With work commencing on site during November, much of the restoration had to be undertaken in very cold, wet and windy conditions.
Over a period of 60 days Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers – working either alone or as a team with one prepping areas – reconstructed thousands of the old glazed bricks to restore the listed elevation. The operatives made use of the main contractor’s scaffolding, coordinating with other trades and observing full health & safety guidance for the site.
The Finishers matched the red, yellow, green and black colours using mixes of sand, cement and the special pigments they carry in their van stock, and spraying the surface with the repair specialist’s System 20 exterior grade paint product. The glazed effect was achieved by applying two coats of gloss lacquer, which itself was tinted to create the aged or weathered appearance seen in surviving areas of brick.
KEY OUTCOMES FOR CLIENT
- The work was completed within schedule and to a very high standard under difficult working conditions: replicating a non-standard brickwork bond pattern where matching materials were not available from either reclamation yards or any manufacturer’s current product range.
- Plastic Surgeon’s repair techniques proved to be economic for the client and fully acceptable to both the project consultants and the local heritage officer; helping to save a listed local landmark which had survived the air raids of World War Two.
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