Brownstone Facade & Stoop Repair
The homeowners of this brownstone in Brooklyn were in a jam when they came to us. They were being required by the city to make changes to the building's stoop and facade to bring them up to code, but they were also on a strict budget. While we are normally staunchly opposed to the use of Portland cement when restoring or renovating old buildings, in this case, we were forced to use it to give the homeowners a quick (but temporary) fix for as little money as possible. For this brownstone, our focus was on the exterior of the building, the most important part of that being the restoration of the stoop, window lintels and sills, and the foundation facade so that it could all be brought up to code.
Chiseling away the old brownstone from the steps (click to enlarge)
The first order of business was removing the old brownstone. While care must be taken, the process is anything but delicate. Chiseling, hammering, scraping, knocking; these are all methods we employed to aid the removal of the old masonry.
Applying the scratch coat (top left) and the finished scratch coat on the stairs (top right). The window lintels also received a scratch coat (bottom) (click to enlarge)
While the chiseling and hammering is necessary to remove as much of the old material as possible, it leaves a sharp, craggy surface which is unsuitable for new material application. To create an even surface that we could then apply material to, we laid down a scratch coat that levels the surface but still has enough texture for the new material to adhere to.
Getting ready to mix (click to enlarge)
To have the new brownstone be as close to the original as possible, we carefully matched it to what had previously been on the building and then mixed it on site.
From scratch coat to topcoat (left). The finished window sill (right) (click to enlarge)
The new brownstone mixture was applied and then molded by hand onto the stoop, lintels and foundation of the building.
Painting the facade (click to enlarge)
The finished foundation (left) and the complete facade (right). Note the beautiful new window sills and lintels (click to enlarge)
To complement the new brownstone elements, we also applied a fresh coat of paint to the entire facade. The work that we did should last the homeowners for at least the next decade, after which the Portland cement will be replaced with a more brownstone-friendly lime mortar.
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