UVa – Weeks 1 and 2
July 22, 2010 by mikelauer
As previously mentioned, I was able to work for the University of Virginia while I waited for my official internship to start. During these two weeks I was busy repairing fireplace surrounds as well as wall and ceiling damage. I attempted to help the Facilities team skim coat the plaster walls with sheetrock mud, but quickly realized that my skills with plaster didn’t readily transfer to sheetrock mud. Though not surprised by the difference in tactile quality, I was shocked at the difference in its application. I knew that if I continued to work the way I had, my team members would have to follow behind me and repair my attempts, so I found other ways I could help the team. This technique needs to be revisited, for I know I will be encountering something similar in the future.
This is an example of how one of the nine fireplace surrounds looked prior to repair. The historic fire brick was taped for protection and a bonding agent was applied to the existing brick. Structolite was used where major repair was needed, followed by a finish coat.
This is one of the completed fireplace surround repairs. All of the straightedge work was done freehand. Repairing these wasn’t a complicated project, but I enjoyed completing them. Unfortunately, due to the location of the repairs, damage will continue to haunt these surrounds from normal wear and tear. I was surprised that these student dormitories still had working fireplaces and that the students were encouraged to use them.
This image shows the largest repair I needed to make to the dormitory ceiling. The failing of the plaster keys was likely due to water infiltration. A three coat plaster system was used to make the repair. An image of the completed repair is not included because… well, it looks like a flat ceiling—nothing extravagant or interesting. It was successful.