Filling in the Cracks: Terracotta Repairs at Washington High School

Photo of terracotta repairs at Washington High School in Portland, OR

No doubt, Washington High School is a striking and magnificent piece of architecture.  However, upon close examination, it has clearly suffered from abuse and neglect over the years.  It is particularly sad to see the amount of chipped glazing from its terracotta detailing because the terracotta is a big part of what gives this building its richness and grandeur.  The damage is worst at the ground-floor level, particularly on the fluted columns and on horizontal surfaces that are inviting to skateboarders.

Photo of damaged terracotta at Washington High School in Portland, OR.

You can also see in this photo above that pollution and graffiti have taken their toll–giving the originally-off-white terracotta a gray, hazy patina.

D&R Masonry will be doing the restoration work at Washington High School.  They’ll start by giving the terracotta a good cleaning, followed by patching all the chipped areas of glazing.  They provided us with a mock-up last week and we’re really impressed with how it turned out.  Here’s a photo of a section that hasn’t been repaired yet.  Lots of chips caused by skateboards.


Here’s a photo where they filled in the chips and cracks with a “Thin Fill” product.  This product is sandable, so they were able to blend it in with the edge of this bench on the west elevation.


Once they created a smooth surface, they painted the patched areas with a latex paint–complete with black speckles–to match the existing glaze.  You have to look really close to discern what is original and what is the repair.

_DSC0022No doubt, this work is going to help return Washington High School back to its former architectural glory.