Masonry repair and restoration are two different services, just like stucco repair and remediation. It is important to understand the difference between the two, as choosing the wrong service could be a costly mistake. Repairs are relatively simple fixes, which restoration is a complete overhaul of the masonry.

If you hire a contractor for masonry repairs when what you need is restoration, you may be left paying for both the repairs and restoration not long after. And you don’t want to have restoration work done when more economical repairs would have been enough to fix your masonry.

This article will cover the differences between masonry repair and restoration and what to expect when hiring a contractor for each.

What is Masonry Repair?

Brick and Flagstone Steps

Masonry repair is a fairly straightforward service. It involves fixing (repairing) and replacing damaged sections of masonry. Despite how durable masonry is, it’s still susceptible to damage and wear over time.

Localized chipping, cracking, crumbling, and discoloration are all signs that repair is needed. While chipping, cracking, and crumbling can have many causes, masonry discoloration tends to result from moisture being absorbed into and staining the material.

Examples of masonry repair include removing and replacing a patch of damaged bricks and using caulk or concrete to reseal stone that has cracked. These repairs should be performed as soon as the damage is noticed to prevent it from getting worse.

Cost and Work Timeline of Masonry Repair

Compared to restoration projects, repair projects are both quicker to complete and less expensive. There are two main reasons for this: the extent of the work and the skill required to complete the work at an acceptable level.

Because repair work is only done on portions of the overall masonry, it does not take as much time for the work to be completed. Repairs could take a couple of days to complete depending on the extent of the repairs.

Masonry repairs also require less skill to perform than restorations do. This means that the work comes with a lower price tag. While training and experience improve the quality and speed of repairs, most repairs could be effectively completed as DIY projects with the right materials.

What is Masonry Restoration?

Masonry restoration is the complete reconstruction of the masonry to return it to a like-new state. This includes all of the masonry, not just patches that have been damaged or worn.

The goal of masonry restoration is to restore the masonry to its original appearance. If a building was originally constructed using certain types of brick and mortar, then those same types of brick and mortar will be used to restore it.

Restoration is about more than just fixing masonry, which can be done with modern materials that give the structure an updated appearance. It is about preserving the original appearance and character of the structure by utilizing period-correct masonry techniques and materials.

There are a few reasons for choosing restoration over repair. If there is so much damage that most of the masonry would need to be repaired, it may simply make more sense to opt for restoration. Additionally, there are times when the structure is too damaged for repair to be a viable solution, and so restoration is the only answer.

For historic buildings, restoration is a way to maintain the historical status and significance of the structure. Historic building restorations often require even more care and consideration than typical restoration projects to ensure even the smallest of details are accurate.

Cost and Work Timeline of Masonry Restoration

Masonry laying

Compared to masonry repair, restoration is more expensive and more time-consuming. Simply put, it is a more involved process and therefore takes more time to complete. Rather than taking days, it can take weeks depending on the extent of the restoration.

The restoration process includes three main steps: repointing, refinishing, and resealing. Repointing is when old masonry is removed and new mortar is laid down. Refinishing is the cleaning up of the new mortar. And resealing adds a protective coat to the new masonry to preserve its look and feel.

This more involved process also requires higher-skilled labor to complete. Masonry restoration providers often also provide repairs. But masonry repair providers don’t necessarily provide restorations. Restorations require much more attention to detail and experience.

In addition to the costs of skilled labor, the materials used in restoration projects may be more expensive than those used for repairs. Particularly for older buildings, it may be harder to find materials that match those originally used in the construction.

Hire an Experienced Masonry Contractor

Masonry repair and restoration are distinct from each other due to the scopes of their work, cost, and timeline. Repairs involve fixing and replacing damaged sections of masonry. Restorations involve completely rebuilding the masonry using period-specific materials and techniques to preserve the original appearance and character of the building.

Knowing which service you’re looking for before hiring a contractor like Jun Deegan will save you time, money, and a possible headache.