How Polymeric Companies Contribute to the Preservation of Landmarks

Preservation of landmarks, monuments, and historic sites, carries a significant role for the local communities, people and nations. Historic preservation provides a link to the roots of the countries and their people.

Hence, historic preservation goes beyond a simple patching of cracks and holes, or a new coat of paint. Preserving history means leaving a legacy for the future generations.

Unfortunately, preservation of landmarks typically takes a passive and reactive approach. Only current maintenance issues are addressed and mostly with the most affordable materials available in the market. They may solve an immediate problem, but will they provide a long-term solution?

A more proactive approach to preservation of landmarks

A more proactive approach to the preservation of landmarks will ensure cost savings in the long run. Industrial grade materials designed to withstand harsh operating conditions may help protect the historic assets from the environmental impact, fluctuations in ambient temperatures, unique geographical characteristics.

In this post, we present a few examples of preservation of landmarks using polymeric materials.

The City of Baths – Budapest

Some of Budapest’s most famous historic sites have been repaired and protected with Belzona over the decades.

Throughout this stunning spa city, known as the ‘Paris of the East’ and ‘City of Baths’, one Belzona roofing membrane is showing its versatility. In particular, it has been used on several high-profile buildings around the city to keep their skylights and roofs in good condition. 

The Problem

In three instances – the Museum of Fine Arts, the Technical University of Budapest and the Academy of Sciences – glazing bars needed repairing and protecting. It was necessary to seal the skylights’ bars as the seams between them and the neighboring glass was beginning to deteriorate. In the worst cases, this damage was leading to water leaking into the buildings, meaning a fast-acting repair was necessary. 

The Solution

The one material chosen, suitable for all of these applications, was Belzona 3111 (Flexible Membrane). This liquid-applied material is easy to use with just hand tools.

Belzona 3111 bonds strongly to even damaged substrates and cures quickly. And, this makes the repairs on roofs problem areas (such as glazing bars and general deterioration) fast and easy. 

The added benefit

An added benefit to the system is that it is solvent free, meaning it won’t experience any shrinkage. And, the liquid membrane fully encapsulates the roof providing a seamless and watertight finish. As a result, because of the flexible nature of the material, it moves with the substrate, keeping the roof well protected for the long term. 

This was the case with these skylight and roofing repairs which have been in operation for many years without any problems. The roofs of these famous buildings have been well protected and leak free. 

Historical Landmark in the heart of Kansas City

A property management company that facilitates the lease agreement between the building’s owner and Kansas City Museum is very keen on preserving the original architecture of the building. Whilst realizing that some repair work is inevitable, the company’s main objective is to maintain the historical significance of the property. 

The Problem

The original built grand staircase, made from pre- 1920 cast-iron, had suffered from severe corrosion and multiple failures. And, although the appearance was a testament to the history of Kansas City, it had both lost its original beauty and presented a safety concern once open to the public. 

The Solution

For the restoration of stair nosings, the crew used Belzona 1211. The facility required a slip-resistant surface for the stairs, Belzona 5231 (SG Laminate) in combination with an aggregate fulfilled the requirement. The crew applied Belzona 5233 as a top coat for the surface protection and UV stability.

Belzona Scope of Work

Due to the heavy foot and vehicular traffic on the busy avenue of Broadway, Downtown Kansas City, controlling dust and ensuring safety were both crucial concerns during restoration of the historic grand staircase. The crew built a custom-made containment area around the staircase. And, they used a media blasting to clean the staircase and to take cast-iron to bare metal. 

Belzona salutes with the preservation of a Naval National Monument

AESSEAL South Africa (the Belzona Authorized Distributor in Southern Africa), was extremely excited to be part of a group of volunteers, in particular retired WOIC SA Naval Museum (Harry Croome), to assist with a solution to corrosion issues on a 150 year old naval gun. The structure overlooks Simon’s Town in Cape Town.

This 9-inch Rifled Muzzle Loading (RML) gun is one of a kind and is the only one in the world that is still fired.  It was declared a National Monument in 1989.

The gun has a rich history to it – manufactured in 1865, at the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich, England, this gun has travelled the world.  Its journey started in England, then onto Halifax (Nova Scotia) in Canada, then off it went to Bermuda, back to England in Sheerness and it finally found its final resting place here in Simon’s Town in Cape Town, South Africa in 1896.

The Problem

The gun last fired on April 27th, 1903 (and struck off charge on September 19th, 1906).  The Gun Shop at the South African Naval Dockyard restored the gun, carriage, slide and mounting during the early 1980s.  And, a few decades later our Belzona team in SA had an opportunity to do their magic with serious corrosion and pitting at the base of the gun (with some of the pit sizes averaging 25 – 40mm in diameter).

Our team completed an initial site inspection to ensure they identified all risks and job specifications.  Next, they started with the surface preparation by using a bristle blaster to remove excess rust and to give profile to the surface.

The Solution

The team used Belzona 1111 to fill in the pinholes. Then, they applied the first coat of Belzona 5811 on top of the Belzona 1111.  The rebuild thickness measured at 400 microns.  The first coat was left to set, and once cured, the second coat was applied.

After the final coat, the team performed a final round of quality inspection tests that the compliance and the correct finish were achieved. The final Dry Film Thickness (DFT) test for the coating measured at 800 microns.

Belzona Repairs Roof at one of the World’s Oldest University Libraries

The Problem

The poor condition of the roof and gutters meant various areas were leaking directly into the reading room below where the students did the reading daily and the library stored its valuable books. The facility had strict requirements for the repair of the roof. First, the use of a solvent free, low odor roof coating system was of high importance as the main reading room has many windows and vents opening onto the roof. Another requirement was that the repair must take place with minimum disruption as students would be studying directly underneath. Finally, the library only wanted to use a liquid material that could be applied without hot work.

The Solution

Belzona rose to the challenge and specified the fully reinforced Belzona 3111 (Flexible Membrane) System which is a single component, solvent free, microporous coating for the long term repair and protection of all types of roofs. This versatile material provides outstanding weather proofing and waterproofing properties with excellent protection against infrared and ultra violet radiation and lends itself to application onto complex contours.

These are just a few examples of how Belzona solutions were utilized for the preservation of landmarks. Belzona is not just a product manufacturer but can provide a complete supply and apply package through its contracting network specifically created to provide clients with direct access to Belzona’s quality products, specialist application services, inspection services and supervision from a single source. It is Belzona’s mission to meet specialist repair and maintenance needs in its target industries and markets worldwide.

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