Restoration Tools and Materials of DC’s Historic Masonry Buildings

Posted on September 24th, 2019 by Elizabeth Nelson

Gary Barnhart will present Restoration Tools and Materials of DC’s Historic Masonry Buildings, Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 6:30 pm at East City Bookshop, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.


Washington DC has one of the highest concentrations of historic brick buildings in the United States, yet only a small portion of the local masonry workers are familiar with historic restoration.  It’s actually not a common sub-discipline of the trade. There are misnomers and misunderstanding abound in the trade of historic masonry restoration and just as many interesting accurate facets and details.  The portfolio of DC’s buildings is worth over ¼-trillion dollars. And much of the real property is built with historic masonry, so upkeep and maintenance of historic masonry has a value in terms of both preservation of history but also in hard dollars.

Proactive and preventative maintenance can actually save net costs and result in a positive return on investment.  Real estate goes through ups-and-downs, and building values change, but in DC, its easy to see why preservation and preventative maintenance are worth the cost.

Methods used for masonry preservation range, depending on the type of building material: stone, brick, cement, and many others.  Some of the materials mentioned are well known by the average DC resident, but there are some other interesting lesser known materials used as well.  There are also historic tools that are reproduced and used in modern times and some other tools only invented in recent years. In some cases the modern tools can speed things up but also can cause damage if used improperly.  In some cases there is no good substitute for the historic tools.

The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. No reservations needed.