Appreciating Our History

It is often said that space is the final frontier, as big a mystery as our deepest oceans but infinitely more vast. And yet, what is the one thing that every traveler to space can’t help but do? Turn their eyes to earth and think about their lives. In fact, one might argue the whole point in breaking out of the atmosphere at all is to better appreciate gravity.

This paradox isn’t reserved for space only — each time we take a moment to look at historic masonry, we are getting that same lesson. To see a monument standing for centuries or millennia only serves to give us a greater appreciation for the magnitude of time, the true final frontier.

The Necessity of Building Restoration

Gravity and entropy might be the greatest laws in the universe but we still fight to break them each day. Of the two, however, time is the toughest. This is why Abstract Masonry’s restoration work in Salt Lake City and elsewhere is so vital: to simply give up means losing out on those crucial lessons our buildings are trying to teach us. 

The process of restoring historic buildings begins with identifying the root cause of the issues. In our experience, buildings most often suffer three types of damage: atmospheric, biological, and accidental. 

Atmospheric Damage

Atmospheric damage is the result of natural weather systems that work to erode historic masonry over years. Given enough time, water can turn a crack in the soil into a canyon and the same is true for our building materials. Brick, stucco, and terracotta are all highly susceptible to weather damage, which makes for plenty of work for those who oversee restoration in Salt Lake City.

If you discover cracks in the foundation of your home or your masonry crumbling, it could very easily be one of these common weather issues:

  • The freezing and thawing of water
  • Thermal expansion and contraction
  • Constantly saturated stonework (either from rising groundwater or splashback from the rain gutters)
  • Acid rain
  • Wind erosion
  • Earthquakes

Discovering that natural weather cycles are damaging your property can make a person feel powerless but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Consulting with our team about the problem will help put the issue into perspective as we decide together what is needed.

Biological Damage

When it comes to daily goals, plants and animals aren’t much different from humans; they want to grow and find a safe place to live. Unfortunately, this leads them to expand into our territory and slowly make it their own. Common biological problems include:

  • Plant growth
  • Pest infestation
  • Bird nests
  • Rodent burrows
  • The spread of mold and fungus

Like water, most plants just need a little bit of give — just a little crack or depression in the stone — on which to hang on and grow. Animals, on the other hand, will either find a space for themselves or they’ll carve one out. 

Accidental Damage

Accidental damage is fairly straightforward but covers a wide range of possibilities, from freak occurrences to lapses in judgment. Much like all the other types of damage in need of a building restoration, accidental damage is, in many ways, inevitable. The most common types include:

  • Using an inappropriate masonry sealer
  • Failure to repoint mortar joints after the first signs of crumbling
  • Incorrectly formulating repair mortar
  • Renovating with materials of lesser quality
  • The crashing of a foreign object into the building structure

With decades of experience doing restoration work all over Salt Lake City and elsewhere, we at Abstract Masonry have seen it all. If any structural damage does occur, for whatever reason, don’t hesitate to call us for a consultation so we can get the monument or building restored to its perfect frame.