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Masonry Solutions

Diamond Bar

News and Insights on the Masonry Repair and Maintenance of Institutional, Commercial, and Condominium Buildings in Eastern Massachusetts   

Vol.8 No. 7

      September 2016      

In this issue, our Case Study article describes Abbot's repair of the facade of a 4-story brick building used as a student dormitory at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. In our Masonry 101 article, we describe the protocol to assure accuracy in color matching mortar for repointing.  
We trust that you will benefit from the information provided in this publication. If you have any comments or questions, or would like an estimate on a masonry repair project, we can be reached at

617-445-0274 or at  




Michael Norman, President
Abbot Building Restoration Company, Inc.


Case Study 

Abbot Repairs Brick Facade of  Wentworth Institute Dormitory Building 
68 Louis Prang Street (before repair)
Abbot recently repaired the façade of a 4-story brick building used as a student dormitory by the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. After the owner observed settlement defects where bricks had dislodged in several areas above and below the windows in the front bay section, an investigation was performed and a plan developed to repair the defects. Abbot was awarded the contract based on its competitive bid and strong track record with previous masonry restoration projects at Wentworth over the years. 
68 Louis Prang Street  (after repair) 
Abbot erected scaffolding at the front of the building and removed all of the bricks from the center section of the curved bay area from the first floor to the roofline. Then Abbot repaired all of the defects in the second wythe of the bricks to provide a solid back-up prior to reinstallation of the first course. Defective bricks that could be salvaged were repaired and reinstalled, and cracked bricks were replaced with new matching bricks that were resourced to create a uniform appearance.  
Abbot also removed and replaced the bricks in the center bay section along the wall above the entranceway below the windows.
Finally, Abbot cut and repointed the balance of the façade so that the entire facade blended naturally as if no work had been done.

Masonry 101

Mortar Color Matching Protocol 

In our Case Study article, Abbot cut and repointed the brick facade using a color matched mortar. While matching mortar color may seem like a simple proposition on first glance, there is a lot more to this process than meets the eye. 

can make it nearly impossible to get an accurate color match for the repair mortar, and will likely crumble or cause deflection of the brick faces.

The recommended protocol for accurate mortar matching involves the use of mortar analysis. By testing samples of old mortar, the formulation of the old mortars and how they perform can be determined. A new mortar can then be prepared that matches the formulation of the existing mortar, and be adjusted to the color tones to create a perfect mortar color match.

During testing, the amounts of Portland cement, lime, and sand used in the existing mortar can be determined, as well as the color and size of graded particles in the sand. Sealers, pigments, or dirt and contaminates or fine particulates can also be found in the mortar that can affect the color or performance of the mortar. All of these details will effect the color, texture, performance, and appearance of the repair mortar, and will also determine the durability of the repairs.

The mortar formulation analysis can also determine the water absorption/deflection, compressive strength, and flexural strength of the mortar, and in turn, can determine if the repair mortar will bond to the existing mortar or carry the load bearing on the mortar.

Importantly, when mortar is not properly matched to the formulation of the existing mortar, it can cause more damage to the masonry than was present before the repairs.   
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Abbot Building Restoration Company, Inc.


28 Allerton Street, Boston, MA 02119
Tel: 617-445-0274  · Fax: 617-445-0277 ·  

Featured Articles  


Case Study 

Abbot recently repaired the facade of a 4-story brick dormitory building at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.  


See full article below 


Masonry 101

Color matching for repointing mortar requires a specific protocol. 


 See full article below


Abbot recently extended its range of masonry repair services to include the restoration of brick Victorian homes

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