Stories From the Field, Page 15 of 16

Post: Wright Chimney Restoration

Tuesday March 15, 2011

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing was called out to this Frank Lloyd Wright home in Hyde Park to correct the significant deflection in this 80' tall chimney. Due to its historical significance the City of Chicago's Department of Preservation was consulted and provided guidelines for the work.

After scaffolding was erected and the building could be better evaluated, the chimney caps were determined to be one source of water infiltration and structural damage to the bricks below.

Years ago, an earlier repair of the chimneys consisted of a thin, sloppy and insufficient smear of mortar applied right over the original cracked and eroded mortar joints. Seasonal rains and snows continued to damage the chimney shaft to the point of the severe deflection.

Although the severity of the damage required that the chimney be dismantled, nearly all of the bricks themselves were found to be in very good condition. (This was fortuitous for the owners since bricks of this size, color and texture are no longer produced.) As the chimney was dismantled, the condition of every brick was evaluated. Structurally sound and visually pristine bricks were cleaned of excess debris to ensure proper mortar adhesion (new mortar will not bond well to bricks with bits of old mortar still clinging to them).

With the chimney brickwork almost complete, the final step was to hand-pour a custom-sized concrete chimney cap.

Post: Lincoln Park Residential Restoration

Thursday September 9, 2010

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing was called to restore the masonry gangway walls of a 100-year-old Lincoln Park single family home. As we often find on structures of this age the bricks here were severely spalled (i.e., delaminated), the mortar joints repaired numerous times with thin (and ineffective) smears of improperly applied mortar, and the fill under the sidewalk had settled unevenly so that the concrete gangway pitched toward the house. (See photo 1.)

And look at the condition of the bricks and mortar joints around that roof drain! (See photo #2.)

Was it any wonder the finished basement chronically flooded?

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing carefully dismantled the outer wythe of the brick walls and in doing so revealed numerous abandoned chimney flues and windows that the developer covered over. (See photo 3.)

To match the old coal soot-stained Chicago common bricks and mortar remaining on the upper floors of the home, we utilized a darker "clinker" brick and left the texture of the mortar in a rough unfinished condition. (See photos 4 and 5.)

Post: Critical Facade Inspection Work

Sunday August 15, 2010

Working at altitude

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing was called out to perform a critical facade inspection of a 16-story century-old building in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.

Working in conjunction with an architectural/engineering firm, AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing's licensed masons identified and corrected the defects in the facade while riding swingstage scaffolding custom built to accommodate the unique features of the building.

Annually, AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing executes capital improvement projects and defect studies (for long-range budget planning) for dozens of condominium associations in the Chicagoland area and the suburbs. For an understanding of the inspection program required for your building, review the City of Chicago's Exterior Wall Maintenance Guidelines (PDF).

Post: Residential Chimney Rebuild

Thursday July 1, 2010

This residential chimney's bricks were severely deteriorated, causing a water leak and mold growth in the homeowner's attic. (Notice the face of the brick peeling away from the top left side of the chimney.) In addition, the TV antenna—no longer in use—created additional torque to the brick structure during windy days.

We dismantled and rebuilt the chimney, and in the process found cracks in the top 4 feet of clay flue tile. We determined this to be the primary contributor to the degradation of the chimney. We rebuilt the chimney using new bricks and clay flue tiles. The work was warrantied for two years against defects in labor and materials and the leaks have stopped.


Post: Vehicular Impact With Building

Monday July 20, 2009

A Chicago man suffered a fatal heart attack while driving his car, and smashed into a building occupied by the State of Illinois.

The building sustained extensive damage. Fortunately, the facility was closed for the evening and no one inside was injured.

Due to the timing of the accident and the tenant's inability to close the facility during normal work hours, AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing performed the restoration work on a Sunday for no additional charge.

AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing, Inc. will respond to your masonry emergencies day or night. Please call us at (773) 622-7300 (City) or (847) 491-9700 (Suburbs) for a free assessment and proposal.