Turret Frieze? Facade Decoration? How to restore?

marlowe55September 12, 2010

I'm restoring an 1892 house, and on one side of the house is a turret that rises three stories. Under the roof of the turret is a decorative frieze that goes around the turret, quite large. It's mostly intact, but beginning to deteriorate in spots. We can't figure out what it's made out of. It's not tin. It's not plaster. Some of the spots that peel off seem to be made out of a flaky deteriorated paper, which doesn't make sense.

What is this made out of and what's the best way to restore it and preserve it? Just another another coat of paint? Inject silicon into the open spots?

Here is a link that might be useful: Photos of frieze

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You may want to research anaglypta.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 3:30PM
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It's probably "compo" a sawdust/glue mixture that was pressed into a mold. If you pick all of the paint off of it, and that doesn't appear to be too difficult, you can put an oil primer on it and paint. If there is real water damage, I'd recommend applying an epoxy consolidant like Abatron's "Liquid Wood".
You will have to detail it somewhat after priming to smooth out the roughness. And who knows, you may find that there was quite a polychrome paint scheme on it originally.
I did some conservation work on this huge plaster pediment a few years ago:

The carved exterior ornament on this house was cast plaster, including the capitals, and the interior decor. was compo.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 4:55PM
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In the time frame those houses were built there was a thriving industry in all sorts of composition wallcoverings made of everything from asbestos pulp to linoleum, paper, wood pulp and cork. I didn't pick up on this being exterior, but some of those embossed and relief fabrics were of material substantial enough to be used for exterior work if they were treated or covered with the proper material. That's why I didn't elaborate on the link I put in. At the end of the section on anaglypta, there is a small discourse on other embossed and relief fabrics and the materials of which they were made.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 5:07PM
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Casey, what excellent work!

You're more than welcome to stop by any time and "practice" all those skills here! LOL

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 12:34AM
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