October 2017 

Brick Staining News

by Masonry Cosmetics: "The Brick Matching Experts"

Many of you are involved in trying to match a new addition to an older original building, but have you ever wanted to change the outdated color of brick on the original building to match a new brick addition?

Pictures taken in 2016:

If you have ever been on the University of Notre Dame’s campus, you most certainly have noticed the beauty and elegance of the campus.  From old to new, the buildings bring on a look of always belonging.  The brick range of color and texture call out to you.  Maybe it calls out to me, but I would like to think that I am not the only one that thinks this way. The professionals at the University of Notre Dame take great care in deciding not only what structures need built and what their function is, but also the very brick that clad them.

The University of Notre Dame’s Power Plant has had a lot of additions over the last 80 some years and as you drive on Holy Cross Drive, either going east or west, you will closely pass by the Power Plant that sits on the north side of the road.  The additions included a variety of brick that had familiar color ranges and blends, but some of the brick’s textures varied throughout the wall.  Here is a close up of one such example:

Over the years, as I drive by the Power Plant, I would think about the difference that Masonry Cosmetics could make on this building by color enhancing it and would mention it to the university’s design team every so often.  I even suggested that Masonry Cosmetics could color enhance/stain the brick on the Power Plant to match some of the newer looking buildings like the Hammes Mowbray Hall, located just east of the power plant.  

I believe that our offer to help with the project was appreciated but staining was still a fairly new and unfamiliar process to most. As years have gone by and so many other projects have been successfully completed, this option is now a viable one.

Eventually, the University of Notre Dame contacted us to color enhance the lower two-story section of the building that runs parallel to the street. Sadly, for me, it was not my suggestion to match the Hall next door but a new three-story addition they were putting on.  A few days later, I was also contacted by Jay Harwood, owner of Rose Brick and Materials, who had been working with the university architects on creating a special blend of several different brick. Their goal was to create an overall range of color that would complement the different blends and range of the current power plant itself.  They came up with a range that would work great.

This was not a major color change. I believe they were trying to keep the overall look of the building intact. We were never asked to stain/color enhance the upper sections of the Power Plant, but staining the original two-story section was still challenging enough with the different brick textures. It’s also important to note, the mortar needed to be stained as well to closely match the new three-story addition. This was a project that we really appreciated the opportunity to work on.

This is the before:

This is the after: