Details in Historic Terra Cotta

February 25, 2014

About TerraGlas, Tips and Hints

Terracotta roof tops.

Terra cotta style roof tops provided by TerraGlas by Stromberg Architectural Products.

Historic Terra Cotta Details

The original terra cotta detailing process was very different than what is possible today. This blog explores how terra cotta was once anchored to a structure and why today’s new technology, like TerraGlas, solves many of the challenges of the historic process.

The Original Terra Cotta Detailing Process

Original terra cotta was often cast as blocks that were open in the back like a box so that it could be attached, depending on the type of building system. For example, there are traditional load bearing systems that only require limited anchoring and then there are cladding systems that require extensive, complex anchoring devices to hold the heavy terra cotta in place.

In both cases, these metal anchoring systems can deteriorate and create other problems as buildings age.  Often, this deterioration is overlooked until it is so extreme that the terra cotta pieces begin to fall off of the building. This creates a serious safety concern for historical building owners.

This means that when it’s time to replace terra cotta as part of a renovation project, another material may need to be used. However, it must be a material that can be added without affecting the historic significance of the building and that would seamlessly blend with the rest of the structure.

The Benefits of Using TerraGlas

TerraGlas is much easier to work with than the original terra cotta process, which was cumbersome and time-consuming. TerraGlas solves all of these issues and more.  As a lighter weight material that is more flexible to work with in terms of shapes, colors, textures and finishes, TerraGlas is an effective solution.

TerraGlas provides its clients with shop drawings and individual recommendations for each building project they assist with, including clear indications of step-by-step installation. This includes how to attach the lightweight material to a framing system by using stainless steel or corrosion-resistant screws, hangers, or adhesive.

Large TerraGlas attachments are anchored to a structure by using a cast in metal frames that are made of metal studs or tubing. Then these tubes or studs are attached to the TerraGlas skin through the use of flex anchors.  These large units require hoisting equipment but are still easier to work with than heavy traditional terra cotta pieces.  Then, smaller TerraGlas unites only require a cast in straps, inserts, or wires and can be easily installed by hand. This greatly reduces the amount of installation time compared to traditional terra cotta.

When time is reduced, a construction company can save money, lowering the overall bottom line while also meeting construction deadlines. There have been examples where building restoration has even been completed ahead of schedule by using TerraGlas because it was so fast and easy to install.

Helping You Create the Architectural Detailing

Stromberg Architectural Products and TerraGlas have the custom solution for your restoration or construction project.  TerraGlas has already been proven to work on hundreds of projects around the world.  Get a free estimate by calling 903.454.0904 or sending an email to:  [email protected].

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