Selecting a Terra Cotta Supplier

December 9, 2013

Tips and Hints

Old Parkland Hospital restoration done by TerraGlas.

Terra Cotta restoration by TerraGlas

Selecting the Best Terra Cotta Supplier for your Project

To ensure the terra cotta material used on a building restoration project or a new build meets quality and durability standards, it is important to partner with a terra cotta restoration supplier that can meet these expectations as well as deliver experience, knowledge, and personal service.  Listed below are some of these key factors to assess for selecting a terra cotta supplier.

Seasoned Experience and Expertise

Restoring, replacing, or re-creating terra cotta is a complex task, especially on older buildings where many of the details may have been lost or are only available in an old photo. Developing an exact match in color and texture may seem impossible but locating a terra cotta specialist who has been doing this successfully for years is not.  Look for a terra cotta supplier that can provide numerous examples of completed projects illustrating excellent replication of details.

Beyond just being great at matching, this terra cotta supplier needs to understand architecture as well as the build and restoration process. They must be familiar with different styles, environments, materials like GRFC and GRFP, and components to ensure a perfect fit. This level of experience and expertise goes beyond just book knowledge. The ideal terra cotta supplier can speak the language of the skilled restoration contractor and architect. They exhibit a true love and respect for architecture, design, and craftsmanship. It is this level of passion that reinforces the experience, expertise, and matching capabilities.

Technological Know-How

While craftsmanship is a vital factor in selecting a terra cotta supplier, technological know-how is also vital because it helps to create these exact matches and finite details. Make sure the supplier can offer advanced molding technology.

A supplier that has its own in-house research and development lab to create the custom colors and textures also speaks to the depth of technological capabilities the supplier can offer. Also check that they can show you CAD-generated comprehensive drawings of what they will be molding for you to ensure it meets expectations.

Range of Quality Materials

The complexity of some restoration and build projects may require more than one type of terra cotta material to complete an architectural project. While a terra cotta supplier may have a great product that does most of the project, it is not effective to have to turn to more than one supplier for a project.  Ask the terra cotta supplier if they have:

  • A material that can provide the look, shape, and feel of historic terra cotta without the brittleness;
  • A material that is available in flat or glazed colors;
  • A material that reducers the weight load on the structure;
  • A variety of materials, including TerraGlas®, GFRC, and GFRP;
  • Impact-resistant terra cotta materials that are resistant to hurricanes and seismic loads; and
  • Materials that are resistant to water, weather, and frost or that will not burn.

If the terra cotta supplier can meet all these guidelines for a range of terra cotta materials plus deliver the benefit of cost effective solutions, then they are the best choice for your project.

Design, Ordering, and Installation Process

It is one thing to be able to provide terra cotta materials, but what a contractor really needs is someone that can partner with them throughout the entire restoration or build process.  This means that the project can be facilitated by a terra cotta partner that offers:

  • A range of design and material solutions;
  • Accurate reproductions;
  • Faster lead times;
  • On-site recommendations and assistance; and
  • Simplified installation.

Partnering with Stromberg Architectural Products and TerraGlas

Stromberg Architectural Products and TerraGlas have supplied contractors with architectural terra cotta materials for some of America’s most beautiful terra cotta restorations. Our unmatched experience, knowledge, and skill with terra cotta restoration makes us the ideal partner on your next project.  To get a free quote on your next terra cotta restoration or new build project, please call us at 903.454.0904 or send an email to [email protected]. Our team of terra cotta specialists is available to answer your questions, provide a quote, or take your order.

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