Historic Masonry Restoration

Historic restoration is the practice of restoring properties to their original historical character. Restoration on historical buildings focuses specifically on maintaining and preserving the original condition of the building. New restorative work should blend seamlessly into the existing structure. Milwaukee Wisconsin has numerous examples of beautiful historic architecture, which require attentive care and restoration to ensure longevity.

All masonry deteriorates over time, so having your historical property inspected periodically by a skilled mason will help preserve its original condition. A skilled mason with experience in historic restoration, attention to detail, and a commitment to researching the original structure are recommended for quality work. Proper repairs will restore the building long-term, maintaining the integrity of the structure. Find more information at Wisconsin Historical Society, including funding opportunities, and tax credits for historical building rehabilitation.

Identifying the Problem

The initial step when restoring historical masonry buildings, is to identify the root cause of the deterioration. This could include leaking roofs or gutters, settlement of the building, or extreme weather exposure.  Identifying these problems first, before completing any restoration work, can save a significant amount of time and money in the long run. For historic buildings located in Wisconsin’s harsh climate, it is not uncommon to see deterioration due to extreme weather exposure.

Deterioration & Spalling

The most severe deterioration of historic masonry buildings in Wisconsin, is often associated with freeze/thaw cycles. Moisture from various sources can become trapped in or on the surface of the structure. Water in freezing temperatures can damage the brick or stone, along with the mortar joints, due to the expansion of water during freezing.  This results in the crumbling or flaking of the surface, called spalling.

Using the Correct Mortar

Finding an appropriate mortar match is critical for preserving the original character and physical integrity of a historic structure. Thorough examination is important to finding the new mortar, which must match the historic mortar in color, texture, and tooling. Having a skilled mason who has knowledge and experience pertaining to historical masonry, is beneficial for an accurate match. In some cases, it may be necessary to have a laboratory analyze a sample of the historic mortar, to ensure the best possible results. While matching the aesthetics of the mortar is important to preserving the historical character, using the proper strength of mortar when repointing is equally important. Mortars for repointing should be softer than the brick or stone to prevent unnecessary damage. Differential movement, which is unequal movement of the masonry structure, must be relieved by the mortar, rather than the brick or stone. If differential movement is instead relieved by the masonry units, it could result in cracking or spalling, which can not be easily repaired.


Tuckpointing is the process of removing old, deteriorated mortar, and replacing it with new mortar. When preserving a historical building, this step of the process requires a skilled craftsmen with attention to detail.  An unskilled mason can damage the brick or stone while removing the mortar, which could result in unnecessary damage to the historical building.

How We Can Help

Monahan Masonry has a considerable amount of experience and knowledge pertaining to historic masonry buildings. We have been serving Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin for over 25 years. We are appreciative of historical restoration, and able to repair and maintain properties to their original character. Monahan Masonry offers historic masonry restoration services in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan , Fond du Lac, and Dodge County.

If you are interested in a free consultation and estimate for your historical restoration project, contact us at (262)-483-5355, info@monahanmasonry.com, or visit our contact page and fill out our form.