April 27, 2000

Mr. Robert A. Mastriana 4M Company
4251 Glenwood Avenue Boardman, Ohio 44512

Mercer County Courthouse Sandstone

Dear Mr. Mastriana:

I have performed the testing of the sandstone at the above captioned facility with the
following findings.

RILEM Tubes, that simulate an 88 mph wind driven rain, were attached to four pieces of stone on the southern facade. The stones were a minimum of four feet above the grade line. Common sandstone will absorb 1 1/2 to 2 mls. of water during a 20 minute test period. The tested sandstone had a near zero absorption rate. This is an indication of an extremely dense sandstone that I have seen only once before in my 28 years of experience.

Tests were conducted with a moisture meter and one square foot pieces of clear plastic. The moisture meter gave positive readings at all locations. The plastic sheets were attached with duct tape to several locations where there was no visible surface water. After 48 hours, these plastic sheets were found to have substantial condensation between the stone and the plastic, an indication of significant moisture evaporation taking place. This structure shows all of the signs of active rising damp.

The water repellent used on project is a siloxane type water repellent. These products depend upon the ability to penetrate below the surface to set up an effective water repellent barrier. Due to the extreme density of this sandstone, there was little or no opportunity for penetration. This is one cause for the water repellent failure. Any subsurface water will also prevent penetration and cause a failure of the water repellent. Since both situations exist on this structure, there is no possible way for any long-term performance for this type of product.

This is an extremely rare set of circumstances that would not normally be found on an average structure. Neither the siloxane water repellent nor the chemical rising damp control can be successfully used on this sandstone. I would suggest the reconsideration of the use of the MIRACOTE Colorbond material for color correction on the West Portico. With the degree of subsurface moisture that is present, this product will discolor and separate from the surface where active evaporation is taking place.

Beauty Of Masonry Can Not Be Appreciated When Covered With Decades of Dirt


April 27, 2000

Mercer County Courthouse Sandstone

I hope that this explanation is understandable. There is no way that these circumstances could have been predicted without extensive pre-testing of the stone.  If phase two is to go ahead, there are some alternatives that can be considered. We can discuss this at a later date if there is an interest.

Thomas E. Auel
Manufacturers Representative
Masonry Consultant

Architects   Planners   Construction Managers    Real Estate Developers
 4251 Glenwood Ave.    Youngstown. Ohio 44512   330/783-0504

June 20, 2000

Mr. Louis J. DeJulia, Director
Facilities Management
7 Mercer County Courthouse
Courthouse Square
Mercer, Pennsylvania 16137

Dear Lou:

   As you know, tests by the stone specialist (ARCON) have been concluded on the west portico and enclosed is a copy of their test results. Their analysis shows that the surface of the stone would not absorb the water repellant (siloxane). With siloxane not being able to be used, it is ARCON's opinion that the use of the colorbond material (miracote) for color correction on some of the stonework on the west portico would be ineffective and therefore should not be used.

Therefore, in as much as no party is to blame for the inability to correct the previously existing discoloration of the stonework, we are hereby recommending that the funds due Wallace Builders ($27,384.43) be released and paid to them.

Enclosed too is our final invoice for the architectural services we provided in regard to the restoration work that was performed on the north and west porticos.

Thank you, Lou, for all your help and assistance to date. We look forward to working with you as the Courthouse restoration project continues.

Respectfully submitted,
Robert A. Mastriana, A.I.A.


PC: Mr. Richard Boggs
        Mr. Doug Wallace


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