University of Vermont
HISTORIC PRESERVATION PROGRAM
HP 203 Conservation Techniques for Historic Structures


2000 Lab Project Assignments

Projects    Assignments

1. Mortar sampling

 

 

 

 

 

Select an historic building with some masonry in fair condition. Obtain permission from the owner to take several small mortar samples. Remove three samples of the same type of mortar from different locations, each about the size of a fingernail. Place each sample in a sealable poly bag and label with the following information: sample number, building name, building location, sample location, date of sampling, your name.

2. Simple mortar analysis

 

 

 

 

Perform a simple mortar analysis on two samples from your building. Summarize the results of your analysis in a short professional report with text, graphs and images that characterize the mortars with sufficient detail to enable a mason to duplicate the samples. The particle size distribution of the aggregate should be presented as a graph. Save your third sample for future reference.
Link to sample mortar analysis.

3. Mortar matching

 

 

 

Based on your analysis from lab project 2, reproduce a mortar that matches your remaining mortar sample from project 1 and has an appropriate hardness for the location conditions of the sample. Submit both your sample and your cured reproduced mortar in labeled clear poly bags. Present a short written report that summarizes your findings from Project 2 and Project 3.
 4. Bricks   You will each receive a brick for analysis. Analyze the brick and report your findings with sufficient detail so that another brick could be procured that matches the color range, surface texture, size, and surface absorbency.
 5. Rising Damp You will each be assigned a surface area in Wheeler House where rising damp may be present. Record the temperature of the surface and the temperature and relative humidity of the air close to the area. Survey the surface are visually and note evidence of rising damp. Record your findings on a grid map elevation of the area. Survey the relative subsurface moisture levels of the area with a moisture meter. Record your findings on a second grid map elevation of the area. Diagnose and report the sources of any rising damp. Present your findings in a short report with separate acetate overlays for the visual evidence and for the subsurface moisture meter findings.
 6. Concrete, parging, terrazzo, terra cotta, tile Select an area of concrete, parging, terrazzo, terra cotta, tile, stone or brick work in a UVM building.
Document its composition and condition.
Provide treatment recommendations for its maintenance and conservation. Submit your findings in a brief written report with illustrations.
 7. Plaster Select an area of flat or ornamental plaster in or on a UVM building.
Assess its condition. Provide treatment recommendations for its maintenance and conservation. Submit your findings in a brief written report with illustrations.
 8. Wood Assess the condition of the sample of wood that you will be given, inluding determining its moisture content. After preparing an area for treatment, use appropriate consolidants and fillers to conserve a section of deteriorated wood. Leave some of the sample untreated for comparison. The work should be smoothed and primed so that it is ready for finish painting. Submit your conserved sample with a conservation treatment report the documents the initial conditions and the treatments and materials that you applied.
 9. Paint sampling   Select an historic building with some historic finishes in fair condition. Obtain permission from the owner to take several small paint samples in obscure areas. Remove two paint samples from different locations, each between 1/8 and 1/4 inch square. Be sure the samples go entirely to the substrate. Place each sample in a sealable poly bag and label with the following information: sample number, building name, building location, sample location, date of sampling, your name.
10. Finishes analysis Perform a microscopic analysis of the cross sections of each sample to determine the number of layers of finishes. For each layer, describe the color and the closest Munsell color match, and test for the presence of lead carbonate pigments. Also test each layer to determine whether the layers are oil based, latex or distemper, or shellac or varnish
11. Paint assessment   Select an area of paint deterioration in or on an historic building.
Assess its condition. Provide treatment recommendations for its maintenance and conservation. Specify the actual products and procedures to be followed. Submit your findings in a brief written report with illustrations.
12. Window survey   Conduct a window survey of an historic building. Assess conditions of all window components for all windows in the building. Diagnose the causes of deterioration. Provide treatment recommendations that comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Properties. (Consult the National Park Service, Secretary of the Interior's Standards Electronic Rehab Course and the NPS Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Structures.) Present your findings in chart form. Key your chart entries to sketch drawings or scale rectified photographs.

©2000 UVM Historic Preservation Program
Email contact: Prof. Thomas Visser