Learn how to Restore Brownstone Facade

Want to restore brownstone yourself?

“Brownstone” is the common name for a variety of brown, red, and pink sandstone widely used as building materials from the mid-1800s until the early-1900s. In fact, it was so common that the word became synonymous with “row house.”
Brownstone is found in buildings as early as the 1600s, but it truly emerged as a dominant American building material in the mid-1800s, when popular taste in literature, art, and architecture embraced a romantic return to nature. Its rich, earth-toned color and variety of surface textures expressed this ideal perfectly. To nineteenth-century builders, the softness of brownstone was an ideal quality. The material lent itself perfectly to the rapid carving of moldings, brackets, consoles, bas-relief, pediments, architraves, enframements, and many other architectural devices that decorated roughhouses of this period.
During the period of its greatest use, brownstone was central to the look and feel of American architecture. It is found not only in row houses and individual residences, but also in religious, industrial, commercial, and public buildings. Brownstone use was most common in the Northeast, close to the principal quarries

Almost as soon as sandstone became prominent as a building material, it became known for its tendency
to decay. Unfortunately, its layered composition and high porosity means that brownstone deteriorates
easily. It is especially susceptible to the action of water, salts, freeze-thaw cycling, air pollutants, and similar factors. In the Northeast, the local climate consisting of wet winters with daily temperature fluctuations has proven to be particularly hard on the material. Consequently, brownstone presents significant maintenance and repair problems for many owners of historic brownstone buildings.

Do you want to protect and maintain your building?

Building owners and stewards can avoid many problems commonly associated with brownstone through proper maintenance. A regular maintenance program can remedy water infiltration and slow the rate of decay. Deteriorating stone often can be protected, and repair and replacement costs can be reduced. A responsible building owner can carry out most of the following basic maintenance procedures at a very low cost:

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