The refurbishment of an old hotel on Eastbourne’s sea front, ready to be reopened as part of the Travelodge chain, has included a detailed contract for the national repair specialist, Plastic Surgeon, with four of its highly trained Finishers involved in restoring a series of badly weathered stone balustrades flanking the building’s frontage.
Plastic Surgeon was called in by Willmott Dixon Interiors, the specialist fit-out division of the top flight contractor for which the Finishers have worked many times in the past. While Willmott Dixon was well equipped for carrying out all of the internal reconstruction work, together with the rebranding on behalf of Travelodge, the very poor condition of the segmental stone balustrade presented a particular challenge.
Following the successful execution of repairs to one of the worst affected balusters, whose profiles curve in three dimensions, Plastic Surgeon was awarded a contract for 20 days attendance on site. The short time frame before the hotel was due to reopen, unfortunately ruled out the possibility of ordering and employing moulds for reshaping the ageing sections, and it proved necessary to execute all the repairs freehand, in a process almost akin to sculpture.
Working from scaffolding, the team of Finishers utilised Plastic Surgeon’s acrylic modified, cementitious exterior mortar system that is built up in a series of thin layers in order to restore the stonework to its original shape. In most cases the operatives would address three or four units together, so that the mortar had time to harden before they returned to apply the next coat.
A variety of tools and measurement devices were used to help achieve the required profile before they underwent final smoothing, making them ready for reassembly and to receive their final coat of paint
Commenting on his firm’s involvement with the contract, Managing Director of Plastic Surgeon, Rob Mouser said: “Our research and development team has developed a diverse range of repair options over the years, able to deal with almost any type of damage that occurs to brickwork, natural stone masonry, concrete, render, stucco and even the more intricate of embellishments you find on period properties.
“In this instance it was unclear what the original stone was, though it had suffered very severe deterioration due to weathering and the exposure to the marine environment; with a large proportion of the balustrade’s profile having been eroded. Thanks to the skill of our Finisher’s however, we were able to provide the client with a highly effective alternative to completely dismantling and replacing the original stonework, which was in a very prominent position.”
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