Terra Cotta Columns and Capitals

GFRC columns

Perfectly detailed columns and column caps from Stromberg Architectural, the makers of TerraGlas.

Replacing Old Terra Cotta Columns and Capitals

A beloved architectural feature that goes back through history is the column used by Romans and Greeks to draw attention to the size and scope of a building. The use of columns and capitals always evokes a structure of monumental size, adding grandeur and awe to an exterior or interior of a building. Even today, all types of commercial and residential structures have incorporated the column and capital as a way to invoke power and beauty. When it comes to older structures, however, these elements may have been made of terra cotta and are now beginning to show their age. This blog post provides a solution to help restore those crumbling columns and capitals through an innovative material known as TerraGlas®.

Getting to Know Columns and Capitals

First, while a column may be a fairly familiar type of architectural element, you may not be as sure about a capital. The column comes in various styles that reflect the different architectural orders, so they can be round or square in various shapes and decorated to varying degrees.

The capital is an architectural element that is actually part of the column. It appears at the topmost part of a column and sits between the column and the building load that comes down onto the column. It is broader in size than the column, which allows it to offer a supporting surface.  The capital is often concave, convex, or scrolling, depending on the architectural order of the column that it is supporting. If there is ornamentation associated with the order, it is most often found on the capital.

The Effects of Deterioration on a Terra Cotta Columns and Capitals

Like all other architectural features made from terra cotta, columns and capitals can suffer the effects of deterioration over time, especially if they are exposed to extreme temperature changes, rain,  weather and even earthquakes.  Because terra cotta does break down when exposed to water, it can start to crumble and disintegrate to the point that pieces of the capital or column fall off. This can be small pieces but it can also lead to larger chunks loosening due to corrosion of the metal pieces used to attach it to the building. Often, any ornamentation is lost as it disappears in the crumbling terra cotta.

Eventually, this deterioration can become a safety hazard as many columns and capitals are actually used to carry the building load. Once this support is compromised, major damage can occur, leading to injuries or even fatalities.

Restoring a Column or Capital with TerraGlas

Instead of restoring a column or capital with the same terra  cotta material, which can be hard to do because matching the color and the design can be nearly impossible, there is an alternative solution found in TerraGlas®. It can be created to match any color, design, or detail as well as texture or pattern.

Beyond creating a perfect match for a restoration project, TerraGlas has many more long-term benefits for a building owner or architect to consider. Because TerraGlas is much lighter than terra cotta in terms of weight, it is easy to work with, transport, and install while also not putting any additional stress on the existing building load. Yet, despite its lightweight nature, it is stronger and more durable than terra cotta.

TerraGlas® has undergone rigorous lab testing and has been exposed to all types of wind, weather, temperature, water, fire and seismic tests. The results have been phenomenal with TerraGlas® passing these tests with flying colors and surpassing what terra cotta can withstand. This means that it will last longer and reduce future costs associated with building restoration.

Replacing or Adding a Column or Capital with TerraGlas

Stromberg Architectural Products and TerraGlas® have the solution you need for your column restoration project. Contact our team now to learn more or get a free estimate.  Our team of experts is available at 903.454.0904 or through email at: info@terraglas.com.

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