When promoting its brick tinting and colouring service as offering considerable cost savings compared to the highly disruptive and labour intensive alternative of rebuilding brickwork areas that have been condemned due to colour issues, Plastic Surgeon has always been on safe ground. Now, however, the time saving potential could easily be counted in months rather than days or weeks.
This is because the UK’s brick manufacturers are still struggling to get back up to full capacity after the years of recession, which has meant developers and contractors being quoted delivery periods of 20 or more weeks on many types of facing brick: with certain colour options now completely unavailable.
Amongst the situations where Plastic Surgeon’s help might prove invaluable then are when the customer has underestimated the quantity of bricks required to complete a project: or if a proportion of the original order has been damaged or stolen: or where a customer wants to extend a structure built using a brick type that is no longer being produced.
In addition to such problems as frost damage, mortar staining and the various substances which can get spilled over finished elevations on site, Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers also often get called out by site managers when otherwise high quality brickwork has been disfigured by efflorescence.
This problem – characterized by large patches of powdery white deposits on the face of the bricks – is caused by an excess of lime in the mortar leading to migration of the salts which then appear as a ghostly bloom; often covering a large proportion of an elevation.
Another avoidable issue, but again one which is very difficult to remedy without ripping down and rebuilding the walls concerned, can occur when the brickwork sub-contractor has failed to pick and mix the bricks used from a variety of different pallets. Therefore instead of an attractive “blend” of hues derived from varying positions in the kiln, or even successive batches, the brickwork is disfigured by patches or blobs of mono-colour.
Thanks to their rigorous training in colour matching as well as other skills, the Finisher involved will mix a number of the basic dyes which Plastic Surgeon has developed, in order to replicate the desired shade. Where the brick concerned is a ‘multi’ or perhaps a rustic type, then several different colours may be required.
The Finisher then applies the stain to the face of the bricks using detail brushes to provide an enduring appearance which even the manufacturer would struggle to distinguish from the real product. Combined with Plastic Surgeon’s techniques for repairing or replacing physically damaged bricks, the tinting service can often offer the only viable means of completing brickwork to deadline.