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July 6, 2009 7:20 AM CDT

Case Study: Color Blending Masonry

Henry Medical Center Facility Expansion


Henry Medical Center opened it doors to Henry County, Ga., in 1979.
Henry Medical Center opened it doors to Henry County, Ga., in 1979.
Henry Medical Center opened it doors to Henry County, Ga., in 1979. In a rural county of only 35,000 residents the medical center was capable of serving the needs of the surrounding communities for several years. With the close proximity of Atlanta, growth was exponential for Henry County, expanding to more than 160,000 residents by the new millennium. Keeping up with the needs of the community meant expanding with a five-story tower expansion project to add an additional 202,000 square feet of enhanced medical space.

The brick was matched as closely as possible to the available brick selection offered by today's brick manufacturers. Different colors and textures are common in multiple batches of brick, especially when an addition is constructed years later using brick from a different manufacturer. It is nearly impossible to match brick from different years, runs and even from geographical regions of production.

Masonry staining can help match the intricate color ranges often found in the surface of brick. The manufacturing processes often create a multiple pattern of color that can be re-created with brushes, rollers and sponges. A stain was specified on the hospital's new addition to try and get even closer to matching the older brick without masking any of the surface texture.

Access was not interrupted to the hospital during the staining. All areas of the hospital were protected during the masonry cleaning and surface preparation the color treatment, and the clean up afterward. Pedestrian safety zones were created utilizing OSHA required warnings and barriers. Work had to be completed with as little interruption as possible. Low VOC content and a water-based stain allowed for an even further low-key application process.

About the Product

Masonry stain has been developed as a dual-purpose product. It will add color to masonry and will repel water from significantly penetrating the vertical masonry surface. This is done with a one-step application process, which is described on the package label. Masonry stain protects masonry against deterioration caused by airborne chemicals, including acid rain, while allowing moisture vapors to escape. This helps to prevent promoting spalling and similar failures, due to moisture trapped in the vertical wall.

Environmental and Safety Concerns

NWRT-91 is environmentally friendly, water-based, non-flammable and complies with VOC and other appropriate government safety standards, legislation and regulatory requirements. Spatter or spills can be easily cleaned with water.


  • Verify that walls, masonry, concrete, stucco, block (split faced/fluted) and mortar that have been treated with any form of chemical/acid wash are neutralized

  • Verify that masonry, concrete, stucco, block (split faced/fluted) and mortar units in existing building are structurally sound and fully intact

  • Before application, ascertain that the masonry walls have a neutral ph level

  • Alkali or efflorescence should be treated with proper neutralizing compounds as recommended by masonry supplier before application can begin

  • Application of NWRT-91 is possible in temperatures of 30º F to 110º F; Masonry surfaces ideally should be dry before work begins
NWRT-91 can be applied by two methods, either a labor-intensive process involving hand application, ensuring a precise application of color and artistry to each individual unit, or by spray application when complete coverage is desired.

Nawkaw Water Repellent Treatment, (NWRT-91), is a water-based, color-penetrating water repellent in a hydrous, multiple-polymer formulation of resin solids, color pigments and specially formulated tint base to give a wide range of colors. It is designed to exhibit the overall characteristics of being light fast, UV resistant, penetrating, aspiratory, quick drying, and mold, fungus, mildew and water resistant. This product is for use on above-grade vertical masonry surfaces.

The Results

Staining of the brick and mortar was completed in just three months and consisted of cleaning, light restoration work, and brick and mortar color application. A total of three crews were required, and Nawkaw provided everything from beginning to end to complete the building in time for a scheduled Grand Re-Opening Gala for the hospital. The groundbreaking took place in 2004, and work was completed nearly two years later. The new construction greatly enhanced the appearance of the facility, so much so that stain was later chosen as a viable solution to color match the concrete parking deck to the newly stained masonry expansion.

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About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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