Case Study: Grafton Historic Building Restoration

by | Sep 20, 2022

Technique Used: Non-destructive specialized removal process

Location: Grafton, ON

Service: Paint Removal

There are many reasons why people choose to restore an old building. Historic buildings are an important way of keeping history alive, and they can also be a great source of pride for their communities. Restoration techniques have been created to help return buildings to their original appearance.

Historic buildings, due to their age, must be treated with extra care while being restored. Restoration techniques have been developed to help return these buildings to their original appearance as much as possible. In some cases, older buildings, carbon stained from age, have been blasted with techniques that damage the surface.

Wickens Dry Ice Blasting was requested to help with a historic building, built in the late 19th century, where the masonry had been painted over in the past to cover the degradation of the original brickwork. To learn how we worked to restore this building, please read ahead.

The Situation

The current owners wanted to remove the paint to restore the look of the building and to return it to its original appearance as much as possible. They wanted to use non-destructive paint removal techniques to ensure the longevity and preservation of the building.

The owners decided to remove all paint, which did expose the brick in its many stages – some areas had been repaired, and thus had several different colours.

The Solution

In many cases, cleaning companies will use sandblasting to clean bricks that have become greyed from carbon staining caused by age and the atmosphere. Sandblasting is an abrasive cleaning method that will cause damage to bricks and masonry.

When bricks are fired a hard surface is created on the outside, which protects the bricks from the elements. Sandblasting removes this protective hard layer and creates a rough profile that allows the elements into the brick. As rain, snow, and ice enter the brick, the integrity is lost and bricks eventually become damaged and the surface further degrades.

After examining the quality of the brick, which was covered by multiple layers of paint, we created a specialized technique to clean the building safely. We didn’t want to use any process that could damage the surface or integrity of any of the bricks.

Non-destructive techniques including fine-particle dry ice blasting and high-temperature steam were used in different areas, dependent on how much paint removal was required to bring the brick to a clean look.

The property is used as an annex to the main hotel for accommodations and special events on the weekends. Wickens ensured a full clean-up prior to each weekend to ensure it could still be used while the paint removal process took place.


The Results

Wickens worked on and created a custom plan to clean this historic building and restore its appearance to show its unique character and history. The owners were pleased with the results and were very satisfied with the work done.


Wickens Dry Ice Blasting tackles the toughest jobs across Ontario, offering fire restoration, mould remediation, asbestos abatement, lead paint abatement, and more. If you’re interested in paint removal or other restoration services, contact us today to see how we can help. We’ll work with you to come up with an optimal plan to ensure the longevity of your property while cleaning effectively


Roger White