Bricks are commonly found throughout Capitol Hill, in streets and especially in our buildings. Sometimes, modern methods are the best way to maintain and restore these structures, and sometimes historical knowledge provides excellent direction.
Learn more at this month’s Capitol Hill Restoration Society m(CHRS) Preservation Cafe, when Gary Barnhart will present Restoration Tools and Materials of DC’s Historic Masonry Buildings at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 20, at East City Bookshop (645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE).
The District has one of the highest concentrations of historic brick buildings in the United State and preserving the historic value of our masonry makes good sense in more ways than one. In May 2019 the Washington Business Journal estimated the building portfolio in this city is worth more than $250 billion. Real estate values may go through their ups-and-downs, but it is easy to see why proactive preservation and preventative maintenance are worth the investment.
Methods for preserving masonry usually depend on the type of building material used, whether it is brick, cement, stone or something else. Unfortunately, few local masonry workers are familiar with historic restoration and misnomers and misunderstandings about the trade abound.
Capitol Hill mason Gary Barnhart will discuss these in addition to some interesting lesser-known materials that local residents may find less familiar. He will also describe the historic tools he uses, and those that the industry has reproduced and invented.
Modern tools can speed things up, but they can also cause irreparable damage if used improperly, Barnhart will show that in some cases there is no good substitute for the tools masons and bricklayers have used for centuries.