Diamond Bar
Masonry Solutions

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

Volume 11 No. 2
May/June 2019
In this issue, our Case Study article describes a recent masonry maintenance project at a three-story brick apartment building in Boston's Dorchester section.  Significantly, we were able to match existing damaged face brick from previous sub-standard cleaning with new face brick so precisely that even the trained eye could not detect the change.  Our Masonry 101 article describes how specially treated "face bricks" differ from common bricks.  
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 by telephone at 617-445-0274 or at our web site at www.abbotbuilding.com.

Michael Norman, President
Abbot Building Restoration Company, Inc.

Case Study

Abbot Performs Masonry Maintenance on Three-Story Apartment Building in Boston's Dorchester Section

Abbot recently completed a masonry maintenance project on a three-story brick apartment building at 455-457 Columbia Road in Boston's Dorchester section. Abbot secured the contract as low bidder in a competitive bidding process.
455-457 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA 
The scope of Abbot's work involved power washing, cutting and repointing brick, recaulking windows, and coating the stone headers and sills on all four sides of the building. Abbot also painted the ornamental metal coping at the top front elevation of the building.
Significantly, during the power washing process, it was determined that cleaning work previously performed on the face brick under the windows on the front of the building created blemishes that could not be removed during new cleaning process. To remedy the situation, Abbot suggested that all the brick on the front elevation be removed and replaced with a new matching brick. The workmanship was so precise that even the trained eye could not detect the change. 
Masonry 101

"Face Bricks" Versus Common Bricks

Building projects that involve brickwork have two main varieties to choose from: common bricks and "face bricks". Both are durable and graded on a scale to match the building material commensurate with your project needs. While there are differences between the two, the main difference is cosmetic. Face bricks are made with a smooth look. Common bricks are more durable, but do not have smooth sides.
Common Bricks Use Common Clay
Common bricks are made with basic brick clay, with no attempt at color control or special surface treatment. They may vary in color and texture within a single brick. Most are red, the color coming from iron content in the clay. Common bricks actually are a bit larger than average to allow for mortar joints to fill a 2-by-4-by-8-inch space. These dimensions will actually vary slightly, depending on the manufacturer, and may even vary within groups of the same common brick. Their sides are even but not completely smooth.
Face Bricks are More Attractive and Available in More Options
Face bricks are used when aesthetics are paramount as on the front elevation of this Victorian house. 
Face bricks are more attractive, and are typically used for projects that require the best look. Their sides are more accurately finished and smoothed. Their colors are more uniform, both within individual bricks and within brick lots in a shipment. Face bricks can follow common brick sizing but can also be produced in other dimensions for decorative purposes.  
Face bricks are also available in more color and texture options than common brick. Some face bricks have one rough or "struck" face to be placed on the outside or "facing" surface; others have a ceramic glaze on one surface. Colors can vary from white or cream to yellow to red or brown or even almost black. Many face bricks are pressed bricks, made with a technique that compresses the clay and forms very smooth faces, sharp edges, and perfectly square corners.
abbot logo

Abbot Building Restoration Co., Inc. 
28 Allerton Street, Boston, MA 02119 
Tel: 617-445-0274  ยท Fax: 617-445-0277