Case Studies

Victorian vintage ceramic repairs

10th April 2019
Victorian Vintage ceramic repairs

A gentlemen’s toilet within an historic railway hotel had remained closed for a number of years due to serious cracking having occurred along the bottom channel to the urinal: a very substantial ceramic structure dating from Victorian times. Liquid had leaked through to an unused space below the toilet and all previous attempts to seal the crack, had failed until the hotel management and its consultants called in Plastic Surgeon to solve the problem.

The challenges

Vintage ceramic basin repairAlthough the interior fittings to the property in Newcastle-on-Tyne were not listed, the hotel’s management and their design consultancy – Ryder Architectural – were keen to maintain the authenticity of the building.  Given the size of the urinals and the fact that they were very likely to have been specially commissioned for the hotel meant there was no chance of obtaining suitable replacements.

Not only was the crack serious and centred on the metal drain insert which had expanded through corrosion, but the porcelain was also badly discoloured. Plastic Surgeon was duly tasked with carrying out a repair which would be able to permanently stop the leakage: while having to address a constricted work area.

The highlights

Two of the company’s most experienced Finishers began by carrying out a deep clean of the entire installation: dismantling the steel drain outlet and removing all of the grout which filled all the joints between individual porcelain components.

The six metre long crack subtending the trough was then cut back to create a tapered V-notch and the surfaces abraded to create a good key. This was then built up using layers of the Ultra-Premium filler and smoothed back to restore the concave profile to the urinal.

The Finishers completed the restoration of the vintage toilet porcelain by mixing and spraying Plastic Surgeon’s System 20 paint pigments: to achieve a carefully matched shade of white, before a new drainage outlet was installed.

In addition the Finishers repaired and repainted a large number of the mottled blue wall tiles in the room and old ceramic sinks.

Key outcomes for the client

  • Both the Maintenance Manager and the Hotel Manager declared themselves to be very satisfied with the outcome of the contract which was completed on time, and to budget.
  • The work was completed within 1 week.
  • By restoring a piece of virtually irreplaceable, vintage sanitaryware, Plastic Surgeon enabled a valuable facility to be brought back into use at an affordable cost.
  • With the specialist repair company being well used to operating in both public areas and bedrooms for major hotel chains, as well as other occupied premises, there was no disruption caused to either guests or staff.

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