Matching the Color and Texture of Architectural Terra Cotta

December 2, 2013

Terra Cotta Restoration

Architectural Terra Cotta Restoration- Matching Color and Texture

When it comes to the building restoration process, structures with terra cotta facades require special attention and care. The primary challenge is often matching specific details from the original design, including color and texture.

Uses for Architectural Terra Cotta

In the United States, architectural terra cotta is a common architectural element found on many buildings. Terra cotta was often used on buildings constructed during the Historic or Beaux Arts architectural period. It was also part of the Chicago School and the High Rise styles from the late 19th century until the 1930s. These architectural styles commonly used terra cotta to create the rich ornamental details used on buildings during this time period.  Terra cotta was used because it was a relatively inexpensive solution for wall and floor construction.

However, after this time period, other materials were preferred and the cost of terra cotta increased. This left many of these buildings to deteriorate over time. Now back in vogue, these buildings are being lovingly restored across the country.

The Challenge of Matching Color and Texture

One of the primary challenges for terra cotta restoration is matching color and texture. One reason is terra cotta is one of the most diverse architectural products in terms of available colors and textures used over the years.  The color of many terra cotta structures is determined by the color of the clay used in the making of the terra cotta. This makes it hard to reproduce the exact color in terra cotta because the specific clays can be difficult to find.  Depending on the extent of the deterioration, it can be difficult to identify the original color and texture.

Sometimes, deterioration is so bad that the only way to determine the original terra cotta color is with old pictures of the structure.

Architectural Terra Cotta Products

However, there is a solution for these challenges. TerraGlas® is an architectural terra cotta product that is flexible, cost-effective, and easy to install.  The material is a molded architectural terra cotta composite that has been reinforced with fiberglass.  This feature means that it can be molded into any shape or decorative design.  TerraGlas can also match any flat or glazed color and texture, including those found in classical, Art Deco, and Art Nuevo architectural styles.  Additionally, TerraGlas has the durability, high-impact resistance, and reinforcement capability to ensure the terra cotta replacement lasts for years, withstanding weather, anchor rest, and glaze failure.

Additionally, TerraGlas® has the durability and reinforcement capability to ensure the restoration pieces last for years to come and withstand weather, anchor rest, and glaze failure thanks to its higher impact resistance.  Yet, it is a lighter weight than traditional terra cotta, which means that the installation process is not complicated by large equipment.  Used primarily as a cladding application versus structural material, TerraGlas® is ideal for such architectural terra cotta elements as column facades, molding and other decorative elements.

Restoring Your Architectural Terra Cotta

Stromberg Architectural Products and TerraGlas have been helping contractors and architects with numerous historic building restoration projects. The level of experience, skill, resources and expertise can create the perfect match for you, saving on costs and shortening the project timeframe.  Contact us now at 903.454.0904 or email us at [email protected] to receive a bid and learn more about the value-added advantages of working with TerraGlas on your next architectural terra cotta restoration project.


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