June 2018 

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Brick Staining News

by Masonry Cosmetics: "The Brick Matching Experts"


Do not let this be you - "The bait-and-switch story"


An Architect specified the color of brick he wanted for a High School located in Kentucky.  The brick had a very slight or tight range to them.  But shortly after the brick were installed and cleaned, the Architect could see dark brick scattered throughout the wall in different areas around the building.  Dark brick in the range that should not be there.  The Architect rejected the wall and now the Brick Dealer and Manufacturer are faced with a complaint.  There was no dark brick represented in the sample panel or the approved field panel.  The Architect was faced with two options (accepting it the way it is, was not an option); cut out the dark brick and replace them with the correct color or have them stained to closely match the brick around them for the tighter range that was specified.


Masonry Cosmetics was called in like Superheroes to save the day.  They walked the job, quoted the job, showed they have a Proven Masonry Stain which is the right product to stain brick. The staining was approved, MCI was getting ready to do the job, when at the last minute the competitor who does not have a Proven Masonry Stain was called in who just happened to have a cheaper price.  MCI originally quoted $3,700.00, but was asked to re-quote the project and if they could go lower in price while doing the same amount of work.  MCI held the price and thanked them for the opportunity. MCI had given the best price up front, so that was the end of that.  The other stain company got the job that does not use a Proven Masonry Stain but a Paint-Like Stain Product with a creative name.  


Here is the before picture taken in 2014 of the Dark Brick that was rejected in the wall.

Now we jump ahead to 2018 and the Dark Brick that are no longer Dark.  The Architect is on site planning an addition and to his disappointment a problem (that he thought was fixed) has come alive again, and in fact, is now worse.  The first thing they do is call Masonry Cosmetics and say to get out here and fix their mess.  But it was not their mess to fix, because at the last minute, for a few dollars less there was a bait-and-switch.  Another Stain Company came in and did the job.  The staining looked good when first stained except, when you got close up to the wall, you could see what brick were stained which is also very apparent when it rained.  But the School sealed the brick, which greatly helped the stained brick, because the whole wall now repeals the water instead of it just being the stained brick repelling it.  


Here is the 2018 picture where all the stained brick turned real light.

This is a new complaint again and is not going to be any easy fix.  What are the options?  Cut the now Light Brick out, and replace it with a color that hopefully matches.  Who pays for it?  The Stain Company cannot or should not try to reapply their product over a failed product.  The wall had also been sealed so that needs addressed too.  With what sealer, at this moment we do not know.  So if the sealer needs removed, can they get it 100% off, unlikely.  Then there looks like a remnant of the failed stain still on the brick, does the sealer remover take that off too?  


Does the sealing of the brick just wave any warranty?  Did the Stain Company give a Warranty?  Not all brick are good candidates for a warranty, to be perfectly fair here.  Maybe this Stain Company did not offer a 25 year warranty for this project.  

Here is another 2018 picture taken closer, there still seems to be a remnant on the brick left over from the stain.

Masonry Cosmetics quoted $3,700.00 to color correct the Dark Brick on this project.  Lets say they saved a few hundred dollars by using this other company who uses a different process.  That sure does not help anyone connected to this project now.  Especially the School or the Architect.


Two points come to mind.  First you cannot just hire anyone to show up to a job like this and apply a Proven Masonry Stain.  It is not a paint and a Proven Masonry Stain cannot be applied with paint like thinking.  Masonry Cosmetics Inc invests a lot into training, in fact hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to have trained people to travel all over the country to take care of problems like this.  MCI has to carry 5 Million Dollars in Liability Insurance, have employees OSHA 10 and 30 certified, just to name a few things.  All very costly.


When looking at Paint-like Stains with well thought out and unique names, the obvious concern is that they are products that do not last the test of time.  If anyone wants cheap or less expensive options they could hire any Paint Company out here (there are thousands of them throughout the country) and have them just paint it.  They could have probably even saved more money.  We would not recommend that at all.  In fact, you should never apply a coating that can hurt a brick.


Secondly, everyone in the masonry industry has a responsibility to do this right.  When the brick Dealer (the one who brought MCI to this project) found out that there was going to be a bait-and-switch they said they would wash their hands of this project and that the contractor and manufacturer would be on their own if a call back came. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way.  Who do you think the unhappy owners call?  Yes - the brick dealer.  Now 4 years later the brick dealer is back with an upset Architect and disappointed School that is planning a future addition.  Having the cheapest price was not the responsible choice.  This is another visible scar on our industry.  How do you make it right?  How do you fix the bad taste the Architect has for our industry?