Brownstone was a wildly popular exterior material for houses for several decades in the 19th century but proved susceptible to acid rain and other pollutants in the 20th. Shown here is a detail of the Morse-Libby Mansion, better known as the Victoria Mansion, completed in 1860 in Portland, ME and opened as a museum in the 1940s. Several approaches to brownstone restoration have been undertaken on the mansion’s exterior.
At right is an unrestored area of carved brownstone showing the effects of acid rain erosion and delamination. At left is restoration work from the 1980s, when the eroded stone entry porch was removed and replaced with a mahogany replica with a sand-painted finish to resemble stone. This approach had been used for the original back porch of the house when it was built as a cost-saving measure. Above, restoration work on the tower in the early 2000s involved replacement in-kind with new brownstone and reattachment of loose carved elements.
The sand-painting process will be demonstrated at the museum as part of their Historic Trades Demonstration Day, on October 15th. See VictoriaMansion.org for details.
Brownstone restoration work on this building is used as an example in “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
Our shop also carries select preservation and restoration titles by other authors.
© Scott T. Hanson 2023.
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