(469) 766-1167 alan@alanpettingale.com


Wednesday, February 28, 2024 12 Noon

Place: Reata Restaurant

Address: 310 Houston St. Fort Worth, 76102

Investigating Existing Masonry

Presented by:

Mr. Alan Pettingale


Specialized Masonry Restoration’s Alan Pettingale has thirty years of professional experience in masonry repair systems, site assessment surveys, forensic testing and implementing a wide range of remedial strategies for masonry stabilization.  Alan’s expertise is in the application of masonry restoration for schools, churches, colleges, historical, residential and commercial buildings in the United States and England.

He has co-authored papers on cavity wall tie corrosion investigation and lateral restraint anchors.  He also has a continuing education Historic Masonry Workshop available at The Masonry Society.

Mr. Pettingale serves on the Existing Masonry Committee of The Masonry Society.

Presentation Description:

Identifying masonry veneer anchorage concerns and specifying remedial wall tie systems

·         Appraisal of existing construction

·         Choice of repair strategy

·         Options for remedial tying systems

·         Repair techniques

·         Troubleshooting

Identifying stability concerns with unreinforced masonry structures and specifying remedial stabilization

·         Lateral restraint anchors for stabilizing existing brick walls

·         Post-installed mortar joint bed reinforcement

·         Cementitious vertical installed anchors in Historic facades

Masonry Restoration vs. Masonry Preservation: Sustaining the Legacy of Texas’s Historic Downtown Squares

Masonry Restoration vs. Masonry Preservation: Sustaining the Legacy of Texas’s Historic Downtown Squares

As we meander through the charming downtown squares of Texas, we’re enveloped by a sense of history. The steadfast brick facades of these buildings are more than mere structures; they are enduring narratives of the Lone Star State’s vibrant past. However, time and elements conspire tirelessly against them, leaving us with a pressing conundrum: Should we restore these monuments to their former glory or strive to preserve their current state for future generations?

For those who hold a torch for historic societies, who guide the Main Street program, sit on the board of the Texas Historical Commission, or otherwise invest heart and soul into the preservation and appreciation of Texas history, this dialogue is not some idle chatter but a rallying cry to action.

The Heart of the Matter: What Distinguishes Restoration from Preservation?

Restoration and preservation – these terms may seem interchangeable to the uninitiated, but they are the bread and butter of any dedicated historic preservation enthusiast, local architect, structural engineer or seasoned contractor involved in the safeguarding of our historical heritage.

Masonry Restoration: This calls for a meticulous reinvigoration of historic structures to their original state. Restoration breathes life into the old bricks and mortar, often requiring the delicate replacement of damaged materials with identical or carefully replicated substitutes. The devil is truly in the details here.

Masonry Preservation: On the flip side, preservation aims to protect and sustain the existing materials, ensuring longevity while embracing the patina of age. Preservation keeps the passage of time visible, allowing each imperfection to tell its story, safeguarding the authenticity of the structure.

Why Does It Matter?

Why should one care about the granularity of masonry work on antique brick facades? For starters, each brick, each plastering of mortar is intrinsically linked to the identity of Texas’s small-town squares. These are the same blocks that have stood witness to the footfalls of our ancestors, the surge of industries, the fire of independence, and the whispers of decades-old secrets.

Each decision to restore or preserve carries implications for public safety, architectural integrity, and historical accuracy. It reflects our commitment to maintaining our community’s narrative integrity and the very soul of Texas history.

The Case for Restoration: A Return to Origins

When one gazes upon a successfully restored building, it’s as if the myriad layers of time have been peeled back to reveal the edifice’s true essence, precisely as it was intended by the masons of yore. There’s an undeniable allure in witnessing history restored to its pristine state – a powerful connection to our roots.

Experienced contractors, armed with tools and knowledge, embark upon a restoration journey that requires a dedication to authenticity and a passion for re-creation. With restoration, the historic downtown squares can serve as both vibrant centers of communal life and immersive gateways to our shared past.

The Argument for Preservation: Honoring the Aging Process

But let’s turn the page and consider preservation. To preserve is to accept the wear and tarnish as part of the building’s evolving character. Structural engineers and safety officials know well that preservation can also mean enhanced stability and integrity for future visitors traversing the historic pathways.

Historic societies and preservation enthusiasts champion these projects that ensure the longevity of the masonry while allowing the history to remain palpably real, tactile, and visibly aged yet appreciated in its current form.

What’s at Stake for Texas’s Historic Downtown Squares?

Imagine, if you will, the downtown square minus its aged bricks and mortar. What tales would remain untold, what culture would dissolve, what identity would we lose? This is the weighty responsibility shouldered by our Local Architects, Main Street managers, and all who value Texas’s history. The choice between restoration and preservation of these masonry facades is a defining factor in the conservation of our legacy.

In Conclusion: The Road to Future Generations

Where does your allegiance lie in this crucial debate? Will we answer the call to restore these relics to precise historic outlines, or do we choose to preserve and protect their longevity, allowing history to display itself in every nick and weathered joint?

Let this be a clarion call to all Historic Preservation Enthusiasts, Main Street Managers, and any who hold dear the spirit of Texas’s small towns: Engage with passion, decide with care, and act with respect for the tales etched in every masonry joint.

We invite you, impassioned reader, to join in the dialogue—to share, to learn, and to take part in sustaining the legacy of Texas’s historical downtown squares. For it is only through our collective efforts that such treasures will be safeguarded for the awe and wonder of future generations.

What step will you take next in the story of Texas’s heritage? The choice to restore or to preserve is yours to make.

Brick Veneer vs Stucco on My Building: Who Wins the Battle?

Brick Veneer vs Stucco on My Building: Who Wins the Battle?

Are you caught in a dilemma between selecting brick veneer or stucco for your building’s exterior? Do you keep piling up knowledge on pros and cons of both materials without finding what suits your preference? Don’t worry, mate; you’re not alone. The great brick veneer vs stucco war has been on for decades, and there’s no definite answer. However, in this blog post, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to explore the two materials to help you make an informed decision.

Brick Veneer Vs Stucco: Which Material Best Suits Your Style?

Your building’s exterior heavily reflects your personality, and selecting the right material contributes significantly to your building’s general outlook and appeal. Brick veneer comes in various colors, shapes, and textures, making it highly customizable to suit different preferences and styles. From classic red brick to contemporary whites and grays, brick veneer provides a wide range of options that allow you to be creative and express your personality. On the other hand, stucco offers a more sleek and contemporary outlook and is highly customizable with various color and texture options. Suppose you’re looking for something that blends well with surrounding styles. In that case, Stucco provides a smooth and simple finish that allows for a wide range of exterior design options.


When it comes to durability, both brick veneer and stucco are highly suitable options. However, brick veneer edges out stucco slightly. Brick veneer is made by coating a less expensive and weak material with a more durable one, and it lasts for decades without deteriorating much. Stucco, on the other hand, is more expensive than brick veneer and requires more maintenance to keep it in good shape. While stucco is durable and fire-resistant, it tends to crack and chip- leaving your building looking worn and undesirable.

Energy Efficiency and Cost

Energy efficiency and cost are another critical aspect to consider when selecting the material for the exterior of your building. Brick veneer has a much higher thermal mass that aids in trapping heat; therefore, it provides better insulation, making your building more energy-efficient. In contrast, Stucco is less energy-efficient and requires more insulation to be added to be energy-efficient, making it a more expensive option. Additionally, Brick veneer is more cost-effective and requires less maintenance in the long run, making it a better option for budgets.

Environmental Sustainability

When it comes to environmental sustainability, brick veneer is a better option since it has a much higher thermal mass and provides excellent insulation, reducing power consumption and saving energy significantly. Brick Veneer is also recyclable, meaning it can be reused in a comparable project more environmentally. Stucco, on the other hand, is less energy-efficient, requires more insulation, and produces more waste during installation.


When it comes to longevity, brick veneer again edges out stucco materials for usage years in the future. Brick veneer can last 100 years since it’s a robust, low-maintenance, and weather-resistant material. Conversely, Stucco’s lifespan is significantly less and requires more maintenance, and it’s more susceptible to cracking and chipping.


After exploring the pros and cons of brick veneer vs. stucco, we still don’t have a clear winner. Both materials have their distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it essential to balance your preferences and budget before making the final decision. If you’re interested in long-lasting, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient materials, brick veneer is the best option. If you’re looking for a higher-end look that’s customizable and sleek, stucco is the right choice for you. The ultimate choice depends on weighing out the benefits against the budget you have set aside for the project and the overall design principles.

The Perils of Ignoring Periodic Maintenance

The Perils of Ignoring Periodic Maintenance

But why is masonry restoration so important? What makes it worth the time, effort, and cost?

As a consultant with over 30 years of experience in the industry, I have seen firsthand the value and significance of preserving brick buildings.

Brick structures hold a special charm, evoking a sense of nostalgia and history. They embody architectural glory that stands the test of time. However, this beauty and charm cannot be taken for granted. Without proper maintenance and restoration, brick structures can quickly deteriorate, losing their luster and structural integrity.

Unfortunately, the cheapest bids too often win in the construction industry. Owners looking to save money may opt for cheap materials or inexperienced contractors, leading to subpar restoration work that does not adhere to codes and standards.

But the problem goes beyond just cost-cutting. There are a lack of specific codes and regulations for historic restoration, making it difficult to ensure proper techniques are used. Additionally, there is limited guidance on seismic retrofitting, which is crucial for preserving brick buildings in earthquake-prone areas.

Moreover, there is a shortage of trained professionals in masonry restoration, with no upcoming workforce entering the industry. This means that there are not enough skilled workers to properly maintain and restore brick structures.

Public safety is an underestimated but crucial aspect of the conversation surrounding masonry restoration and maintenance. When brick structures are not properly maintained, they pose significant risks. These buildings may look sturdy from the outside, but hidden structural issues — such as weakened mortar, moisture damage, or seismic instability — can make them dangerous.

This is why masonry restoration is so important. It is not just about preserving the physical beauty of these buildings, but also their historical significance and sentimental value. We need to encourage action by calling for proper maintenance and preservation efforts and ensuring public safety. By neglecting maintenance and restoration, we risk losing a piece of our architectural heritage.

To hear about the urgency of ongoing renovations, listen to this podcast: