Masonry Solutions

Diamond Bar

News and Insights on the Masonry Repair and Maintenance of Institutional, Commercial, and Condominium Buildings in Eastern Massachusetts   

Vol.8 No. 5

      July 2016      

In this issue, our Case Study article describes Abbot's major restoration of the historic brick and concrete clock tower at the Schrafft Center in Charlestown, MA. In our Masonry 101 article, we describe the air and moisture barriers recommended for a properly designed masonry building enclosure. 
We trust that you will benefit from the information provided in this publication. If you have any comments or questions, or would like an estimate on a masonry repair project, we can be reached at

617-445-0274 or at www.abbotbuilding.com.  




Michael Norman, President
Abbot Building Restoration Company, Inc.


Case Study 

Abbot Restores Historic Schrafft Center Clock Tower 
Abbot recently completed a major restoration of the historic brick and concrete clock tower at the Schrafft Center in Boston's Charlestown section. Back in 2014, the owner awarded a bid to another contractor to perform a two-phase restoration -- targeting the east and south elevations for Phase 1 and the north and west elevations for Phase 2. The contractor began Phase 1 work in late summer of 2015 but was not able to complete the project before the winter.
Following a dispute between the owner and the contractor, the owner decided to rescind the contract for non-performance, and brought Abbot in to correct Phase 1 deficiencies and proceed with Phase 2 in the Spring 2015. Abbot had been working on various aspects of the Schrafft Center for over a decade and, in this case, the owner decided not to seek other bids and came back to Abbot due to Abbot's familiarity with the complex and its strong track record in the industry.
The scope of Abbot's work included the following:
  • Concrete repair
  • Repointing
  • Replacement of deteriorated brick
  • Replacement of deteriorated steel lintels
  • Miscellaneous caulking
  • Coating of all precast concrete
Significantly, Abbot was most careful to protect the historic clock on the west elevation from potential damage during the scaffolding and entire restoration process.

About the Schrafft Center:
The former Schrafft's Candy Factory, with its distinctive neon sign, has been a Boston landmark since 1928. Located on the shores of the Mystic River along the scenic Boston Harborwalk, the 600,000 square foot building was converted by the Flatley Company into a mixed-use commercial property in 1984.

Masonry 101

Air and Moisture Barriers 

Protecting buildings from unwanted air and moisture infiltration is an essential component of a proper building enclosure. 
Most modern buildings are constructed to maximize energy efficiency, durability, and overall occupant comfort. A key aspect of achieving this combination of features is proper building enclosure design and overall wall system performance.
It is important to understand that the building enclosure needs to be designed in such a way as to provide environmental separation. Through the proper placement and installation of control layers within the wall assembly, the building can be protected from unwanted air and moisture infiltration.

These control layers are comprised of a water control layer, air control layer, thermal control layer, and vapor control layer. The layers can either be a single product or a combination of materials.
Water Control Layer

The water control layer is a critical part of the building enclosure and is designed to reduce the wetting potential due to moisture intrusion. This layer should allow for deflection of the water away from the structure and drainage of water that enters the structure, The materials used should provide waterproofing protection.

Air Control Layer

The air control layer should be designed to address this uncontrolled air movement, whether it is unconditioned exterior air, or the conditioned interior air. Additionally, control of air flow can help restrict heat flow and, ultimately, control dew point temperatures* to avoid condensation.  

Vapor Control Layer

The vapor control layer should reduce the movement of water vapor as a result of differences in relative humidity and temperature. This layer may or may not be required, based on climate and wall design. However, if this layer included, proper placement is important to avoid moisture problems.

Thermal Control Layer

The thermal control layer should resist thermal transfer through the building enclosure. This layer not only provides occupant comfort, but allows for temperatures within the enclosure to remain above the dew point temperature to avoid condensation. With the changes in building codes across the country, the use of continuous exterior insulation now is being incorporated to address this issue.

*The temperature at which the air becomes saturated

Information for this article was derived from "Detailed Air Barriers" published in Masonry Magazine, February 2016, by Russell Snow. 
abbot logo

Abbot Building Restoration Company, Inc.


28 Allerton Street, Boston, MA 02119
Tel: 617-445-0274  Fax: 617-445-0277



Featured Articles  


Case Study 

Abbot recently restored the historic brick and concrete clock tower at the Schrafft Center in Charlestown, MA. 


See full article below 


Masonry 101

In a properly designed masonry building enclosure, a series of layers must be incorporated to prevent air and moisture penetration. 


 See full article below


Abbot recently extended its range of masonry repair services to include the restoration of brick Victorian homes

To Find Out More Visit