Choosing Stromberg for Historic Terra cotta Restoration
How do you go about selecting the best source for replacement elements for architectural terra cotta?
With projects around the world and across the USA, no one can offer the experience and expertise in historic preservation and restoration that Stromberg can. We have been producing products for historic restoration for 30 years, and with our continuous improvement process we learn with every project. Put our experience in custom fabrication to work for you.
When schedule is important you want a company with the capacity to get your project done. No one can offer you more capacity for production. With more than 100,000 square feet of production space, large jobs are no problem. We also have the equipment and skill set to handle the exacting process of precisely duplicating pieces for the most demanding restoration work.
We offer a full range of expertise in the widest variety of quality terra cotta replacement materials on the market. We can recommend the best material for your project and can help develop the best combination of approaches to meet your needs. We will scour the market to find just the right material to match your restoration project’s individual needs.
Repeat customers represent more than 80% of our business. We encourage you to speak with our clients. Give us a call or e-mail. Let us prove what we can do for you.
Terra cotta replacement materials by Stromberg
Depending on the application, the location and the degree of deterioration, terra cotta will either need to be repaired or replaced. Stromberg offers three ideal solutions for historical terra cotta restoration:
Our Terra cotta Track Record
At Stromberg, we have an extensive portfolio of completed projects and satisfied customers. We welcome you to take a quick tour through a few of our past projects; both in restoration and new construction. Let us know if we can be of any service to you in your future restoration endeavors or even new projects where the stylistic appeal of terra cotta is desired.
- D.A. Blodgett Home
- Monastery of St. John Chrysostomos
- Forsythe Mansion
- First Presbyterian Church of Idaho Falls
- St. Peter’s Church
- The Mansion
- Old Parkland Hospital
Architectural Terra cotta Services we provide:
- Custom CAD drawings and renderings from historical documents
- Art molds from existing terra cotta pieces
- Custom sculpting and recreation of missing pieces
- Site surveys, testing, inventory and consulting
- Engineering of terra cotta replacement connection methods and means
- Color matching and texture matching of terra cotta glazes
- Reproduction of terra cotta in GFRC or GFRP
- Turn-key replacement
What about quality?
Stromberg has worked on some of the nation’s leading historic landmarks. Stromberg Architectural Products has over a quarter century of experience in custom fabrication and has produced work for projects that are among America's finest architectural treasures. We know that restoration occurs only when someone treasures the building they have, so your project will receive no less attention to quality than the White House (which we’ve also produced work for).
The process for historic terra cotta replacement
Through decades of experience in working on restoration projects, the Stromberg team has developed a very efficient and streamlined process for completing terra cotta on time and on budget.
Terra cotta Survey
Upon request, a survey is performed of the existing terra cotta. Surveys may include:
- Historical Research for documents to determine the original condition of the terra cotta
- Inventory of existing terra cotta installed
- Survey of condition of existing terra cotta, sealant condition, flashing, anchorage
- Survey of missing terra cotta
Detailed shop drawings in CAD format are produced that catalog each piece of terra cotta, its location, and setting plans. These drawings include sections, connection details, jointing and hoisting. These shop drawings are submitted, along with material samples to the architect for approval.
Models and Molds
Models are created from the drawings and molds produced from those models. If examples of the original terra cotta masonry still exist, then the molds are produced from the original pieces.
Casting and Finishing
The composite material is cast into the molds and compacted. The molded piece is allowed to harden in the mold, then removed and sanded or finished. Framing can be incorporated into the finished product if necessary. To match the original terra cotta, the color is determined by cast in pigments and the aggregates, as well as glazes.
The replacement elements are then installed. A range of stainless steel and other non-corroding straps, anchors and attachments are available. The new elements can be designed to be installed one piece at a time, or as multiple elements preassembled and erected in large lengths or panels.
- (PDF) US National Park Service Preservation Brief: The Use of Substitute Materials on Historic Building Exteriors
- (PDF) US National Park Service Preservation Brief: The Preservation of Historic Glazed Architectural Terra-Cotta
Notes on Terra cotta Replacement:
Terra cotta enjoyed a long period of popularity in architecture. Beginning in the mid 1800s and, through the advent of glazed terra cotta, its popularity continued on into the 1930s. As a material for construction, it enjoyed more than a century of widespread use. From the brownstone buildings of the 19th century to the ceramic veneer that is still in use today, terra cotta has certainly made its mark on our industry. At Stromberg, we have a fond appreciation of the aesthetic appeal of this era in architecture, and have applied ourselves diligently in researching the latest and best technology for preserving these structures for future generations.
Unfortunately, due to design flaws and misconceptions about the material, terra cotta features in architecture are particularly susceptible to failure. Many structures with extensive terra cotta features have suffered from years of natural deterioration. While the use of terra cotta for fireproof cladding was a substantial improvement in safety, the flawed belief that terra cotta was a waterproof building option led many to design structures without the necessary protective features to prevent water infiltration and the result has been significantly destructive in some cases.Stromberg Architectural Products has seen it all when it comes to the condition of historic buildings in need of restoration. Through experience, we have developed a full understanding of the challenges associated with refurbishing these architectural treasures. Stromberg is the industry leader in the fabrication of quality architectural products custom-made to fit well into any style.
- When properly preformed, TerraGlas®, GFRC or FRP replacements of terra cotta should be virtually indistinguishable from the original material.
- When replacing glazed architectural terra cotta, all of the original deteriorated material should be completely removed. Do not try to replace a half block or part of a piece.
- Anchorage should be concealed.
- Visual compatibility should be a major consideration when choosing a replacement material.
- Re-anchoring deteriorated terra cotta units is practically impossible due to the anchorage method of steel straps, mortar and interlocking courses. If the terra-cotta in question is loose, deteriorated, or its structural integrity is in question, it is best removed and replaced.
- Always keep in mind the potential liability of a poorly done job. A piece of terra cotta can become lethal if it falls.