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The Art of Restoration: Tips and Tricks for Bringing Old Items Back to Life

The Art of Restoration: Tips and Tricks for Bringing Old Items Back to Life - Reclaimed Brick Company

David Johnson |

The Art of Restoration: Tips and Tricks for Bringing Old Items Back to Life

Welcome to the Realm of Reclamation!

Situated in the vibrant city of Sheffield, UK, our reclamation company takes pride in reviving the charm of old items. Our specialty lies in restoration, guiding you to transform neglected gems into captivating masterpieces. From reclaimed bricks to ancient stones, we cater to all, offering nationwide delivery.

1. Understanding Your Material

Embarking on a restoration journey begins with a deep understanding of your material. Each piece, be it a brick, stone, or unique artefact, tells a story and possesses a distinct composition. When dealing with bricks and stones, it’s essential to consider factors like their age, previous usage, and any characteristic markings.

2. Cleaning and Preparing

The first step in restoration is a thorough cleaning. For bricks and stones, this often involves removing layers of dirt and grime to reveal the original texture and colour. Use gentle, non-abrasive methods to avoid damaging the material. Sometimes, a simple brush and mild soapy water can work wonders.

Although, as standard, we clean all of our bricks and stones prior to selling them to you.

3. Repairing and Replacing

In some cases, your reclaimed items might need repair. For bricks, this could mean filling in chips or cracks with a suitable mortar. When dealing with stones, look for any significant wear that might need professional attention. Remember, the aim is to preserve the item’s authentic character, not to make it look brand new.

4. Creativeness

One of the joys of reclaimed items is finding new and creative ways to use them. Think beyond their original purpose. Bricks can become part of a beautiful garden path, and stones might transform into a rustic fireplace surround. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Here are a few ideas:

5. Preservation Techniques

To ensure your restored items last, consider appropriate preservation techniques. This could involve sealing surfaces to protect them from the elements, especially if they are going to be used outdoors. However, it’s important to choose the right sealant that doesn’t compromise the material’s breathability.

outside  kitchen at the flower show

How to Seal Stone

Sealing stone is an important step in preserving its beauty and durability, especially for stone surfaces in areas exposed to moisture, stains, or heavy foot traffic. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to properly seal stone:

1. Choose the Right Sealant:
  • Penetrating Sealers: These absorb into the stone, providing protection without affecting the stone's appearance. Ideal for natural stone like granite, limestone, and sandstone.

  • Topical Sealers: These create a protective layer on the surface, enhancing the stone's colour and providing a glossy finish. Suitable for decorative stones.

2. Clean the Stone Surface:
  • Ensure the stone is completely clean before sealing. Use a pH-neutral cleaner to avoid damaging the stone.

  • Remove any dust, dirt, or stains. For outdoor stones, consider using a pressure washer for thorough cleaning.

3. Dry the Stone Completely:
  • The stone must be completely dry before applying the sealant. This could take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the environment and stone type.

4. Test the Sealant:
  • Before applying the sealant over the entire surface, do a small patch test in an inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t discolour or damage the stone.

5. Apply the Sealant:
  • Use a foam brush, roller, or spray to evenly apply the sealant on the stone surface.

  • Work in small sections to ensure even coverage.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding application techniques and the number of coats needed.

6. Allow It to Dry:
  • Allow the sealant to dry as per the manufacturer's instructions. This can vary from a few hours to overnight.

  • Avoid walking on or touching the sealed surface during this time.

7. Buff the Surface (If Necessary):
  • If you've used a topical sealer and desire a polished look, you might need to buff the surface once the sealant is dry.

8. Regular Maintenance:
  • Regular cleaning and periodic resealing (every one to two years, depending on the stone and the sealant used) will maintain the stone's appearance and protection.

9. Professional Assistance:
  • If you’re unsure about the process or have an expensive or delicate stone, consider hiring a professional to ensure the best results.

Remember, the type of stone and its location (indoors or outdoors, high traffic area, exposure to elements, etc.) will influence the choice of sealant and the frequency of resealing. Always follow the sealant manufacturer’s guidelines and safety instructions for the best outcomes.

6. Embrace the Natural Look

Part of the beauty of reclaimed items is their history and natural look. While restoration is about reviving, it’s also about embracing and celebrating these signs of age. These unique features are what make your reclaimed items truly one-of-a-kind.

Purchasing reclaimed materials is all about finding unique pieces, old pieces, and not buying mass-produced, perfectly manufactured materials 'that everyone has'. If you wanted that, you would buy from a high-street chain.

No, this is about buying something a bit different to make your home special and unique—a talking point. You know what we mean!

Reclaimed Brick Garden Wall

7. Expert Advice

Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice when needed. Restoration can be a complex process, and there’s no shame in asking for help, especially when dealing with historical or particularly delicate items.

Many architects (if you are using one) know about using reclaimed materials and may have incorporated it into their plans. Specialist builders may have worked with reclaimed materials before. So make sure you ask when searching for quotes if they have any experience if you are embarking on a building project.

If you are looking for one-off pieces or for a DIY project, then who better to ask than us? Our staff at the yard know everything there is to know about the products we sell, which should be the same for most yards you visit.

8. Enjoy the Process

Lastly, remember to enjoy the journey of restoration. It’s a process filled with discovery and satisfaction, breathing new life into items that once may have been forgotten. Each step you take in this journey contributes to preserving a piece of history.

At our Sheffield-based company, we’re not just selling reclaimed items; we’re offering pieces of history, ready for you to bring back to life. Whether you’re an experienced restorer or a curious beginner, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Happy restoring!

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