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Front Facade Restoration
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Facade Restoration

We approach each facade with sensitivity and the experience required to make the decisions needed for preservation. Our single goal is to find the best set of conservation techniques in order to preserve the brick or stone facade. We often have to consider the building's built era, materials and original construction techniques in order to properly remove sections for restoration.

We often see this common example on houses built during the late 1800's in old Toronto neighbourhoods. This damage is usually a combination from layers of paint, sandblasting or damaged from incompatible material used in previous repairs. Most of these houses were painted for a reason in order to cover up a mess. If the front is soft painted brick and requires paint stripping, we have to consider the amount of brick replacement and whether or not the cleaning may further damage the entire facade. In the worst cases where more that 50% of the brick surface is damaged beyond repair and the front is single veneer, we have found it safer and more effective to record all detailing and remove all the brick and stone. The damaged brick is then checked for salt and flipped in order to clean the reverse side. Often the back of the brick on single veneer, ballooned framed houses from the late 1800's contains less salt and minerals than those found on double brick houses. By utilizing the back of the brick, we can simply clean the carbon off with low pressurized water. The new front facade is then rebuilt with a cement-free, lime mortar and we either combine reclaimed brick or brick sourced from England that matches in size, shape and colour. The advantages to this type restoration over paint stripping and selective brick replacement are numerous:

- Building wrap is applied to provide an air barrier.
- Rusted horse shoe nail ties are replaced with a modern galvanized version.
- Old rotted wood sills are replaced with hardwood or square-cut Indiana limestone.
- The previous painted surface will now breath and perform as it was intended.
- By recording the existing arches and design elements the front facade charm will remain intact.
- Opening up large sections of the single veneer facades can be unsafe and cause damage to the surrounding brick structure.
- By using a cement-free, traditional lime mortar we are adding long-term durability to the brick.
- The new facade will age in the same way it was intended and guarantee at least another century of life as a preserved victorian era Toronto home.
Tuckpointing Preserved
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Preserved Tuckpointing and the Process

The photo on the left is an example of tuckpointing on a house in Toronto that is well preserved. Most houses with this style show a faint reminder of the painstaking detail that went into this craft. We are capable of recreating tuckpointing with the same tools originally used. A red/orange mortar is placed into the recessed mortar joint. This hydraulic lime mortar will blend in with the brick and provide a backing for the 4mm lime putty bead. We then place the "tuck" on a scribed line and eventually cut back the excess.
Tuckpointing (UK Version)

We recently worked on a house that was built in the 1880's in the Toronto Annex neighbourhood. We focused our attention on replacing all damaged brick, foundation repointing and complete front facade Tuckpointing.
Tuckpointing was a highly skilled art that originated in England in the late 1700’s. At the time it was fashionable to build with very tight precise joints. Tuckpointing was born out of this style and was a way of achieving a similar effect using cheap irregular bricks. The front façade, including mortar joints, was stained with a red clay natural pigment that created an illusion of a solid wall of red clay. The mason then “tucked” a white lime putty bead ranging from 4mm to 6mm onto a line that was scribed onto the mortar or brick. This white line, called a “tuck” was very measured and accurate giving the impression that the house was built with very tight joints. Tuckpointing allowed masons to build with speed and trick the eye into thinking the work was built with precision. You can find remnants of this style in older neighbouhoods like Cabbagetown, Parkdale and the Annex.
Masonry Cleaning
Masonry Cleaning

Cleaning either brick or stone requires a sensitive approach and an understanding of the materials and products on the market. Harsh acid based cleaners are commonly used to clean atmospheric carbon off brick and stone. Our soft clay brick combined with a lime (or alkali) mortar stand no chance to high concentrations of hydrofluoric or hydrochloric acid and high pressure. We prefer to use products from Prosoco or Keim and in particular, EK Restoration Cleaner. This cleaner does not contain hydrochloric acid and will not harm soft brick and lime mortar.
We now are working with a hot steam/water system that can remove years of carbon and paint. This does require extensive preparation and waste water containment and proper disposal. Using hot steam and water allows us to use less chemicals which are better for the masonry and environment.
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Here is a very good article written by Prosoco, a leading restoration and masonry cleaning product manufacturer, on the 10 commandments for restoration cleaning. Many other articles and information can be found on their site as well.
Custom Cut Stone
Custom Ordered Stone

Going straight to the quarry gives us more options in terms of matching existing materials and dimensions. (Credit Valley Stone)
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Cut-Stone Replication

We have the capacity to take your design to plans and then have them cut and carved in stone. Indiana Limestone is being used here for jamb stones, transom with carved numbers and hood moulding to match. This Tudor style house in Toronto has Credit Valley sandstone along with the cut stone pictured here. Also included to download is an example of plans and measurements used to cut the stone featured above. HHM has the capacity to record, cut and install stone that would match the original.
Lime Mortar
The Mystery Behind Mortar...

Let's say like many people in Ontario you own a house that was built before 1930 and want to understand what makes up the mortar that was used in its original build. It was most likely Lime and sand. Lime has been used as a building material since the time of the Greeks and Romans. Portland cement or cement as we know it, came to North America in the late 1800's and found its way into Canada in heavy use during the 1940's and 50's. Portland cement in mortar increased production and changed the entire way buildings are being built. The era of cement in mortar still continues today and there lies the mystery or problem. It seems as though we have forgotten what 6000 years of building history has taught us. We only need to look back just over a hundred years to find our answers as to what makes up historic Ontario and the traditional building methods. Lime played a major role in the history of many buildings and now these same buildings need to be repaired. A century of misunderstanding is starting to be erased by people who are interested in preserving our built past and pushing for the use of natural lime in restoration.
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Mortar Analysis
Mortar Analysis and Replication:

Through a process known as acid digestion, we are capable of measuring the aggregate size, shape and colour as well as the quantity and ratio of the binder (lime). With this information we are able to understand the sand void measurement and if any additives were added to the original mix. After we put the sand through micro sieves, we can source sand samples that match the original gradation, size, shape and colour. The advantage to having this done, is that once the mortar weathers and the aggregate is visible, the original colour will expose itself with the help of the very fine sand particles (known as fines) present in the mortar. This mortar will not have to rely on additives and colouring agents. We currently have access to three Natural Hydraulic Lime producers and have a wide variety of sand samples that can match your historic mortar as closely as possible.
**Click on the photo for a great summary on
hydraulic lime mortar from the NRC.
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Reclaimed Brick
Reclaimed Brick Service:

Hunt Heritage Masonry can provide a reclaiming service to prospective clients who are considering demolishing either an existing wall or a century old house in and around Toronto. We will remove and clean the old brick for future use in our expanded reclaimed brick collection. By using brick from local sources we are recycling a valuable building material that would be otherwise thrown into a dumpster. Reclaimed brick also becomes a green solution by reducing carbon emissions that are caused by the production and transportation of new brick.

Using reclaimed brick that we salvage allows us to discard brick that has been damaged by salt, defaced by cement, or containing heavy soot and paint. We prefer to put brick back into your home or building that we can guarantee will not spall or produce heavy salt deposits after the job has been completed.

We now have hundreds of Cabbagetown orange, "J. Price" burgundy and yellow buff bricks to call on for use in our restoration projects.

Having a good source of local reclaimed brick and brick sourced from England combined with a cement-free, lime-based mortar gives us the added assurance that your job will be completed correctly.
**This photo is a beehive kiln that was used in traditional brick firing.
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Brick Sourcing
Brick Sourcing for Replacement:

When your brick has deteriorated to the point of the front face cracking and falling off, it is known as spalling. Once the outer surface of the weathered brick has failed, the only option is to replace the unit. Choosing a replacement brick is very important in terms of size, colour and texture. The replacement brick should be sourced from a reclaimer or new brick made to resemble the original. Thankfully, brick from
IBStock (England) and Skycon (Toronto) are readily available in numerous colours to match those of Ontario's past. With this great selection our job has been made easier in matching old and new. If you need lime or brick, Skycon is an excellent locally based supplier that can answer all your needs. Both John and Al are very knowledgeable and can direct you to the right product.
Click on the truck photo for more info.
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Breathable Brick Stains
Potassium Silicate Brick Stain:

We are excited to be using Eco-House inorganic mineral stains to further protect and help with brick matching to better restore any facade.

Silicate Dispersion Paint is also known as Inorganic Mineral Paint. It was developed in Germany in the late 1800s. Since then this type of paint has evolved into a first-class interior and exterior decorative, protective coating with out-standing technical quality features.

As an exterior wall finish on stucco, concrete, masonry and natural stone it is valued for it's:

- Durability
- Breathability
- Lightfastness and
- Resistance against acid rain on historical restoration projects as well as in new construction of residential, commercial and institutional projects.

Inorganic Mineral Paint uses a liquid mineral (potassium silicate) as the binder, which determines the fundamentally different attributes of Silicate Dispersion Paints. Unlike latex resins, Minerals do not not age. Silicate Paint does not form a film, but bonds by penetrating into the surface and by petrification into a brick-like micro-crystalline coating, which repels liquid water, but allows water-vapours to pass through. Therefore Eco-House Silicate Dispersion Paint can not blister or peel - guaranteed by the laws of chemistry.
**Click on their logo for more information.
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Restoration/Preservation Resources

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A more detailed list of Our Services can be found by clicking below.
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