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Archive for February 2016

Laser Cleaning – A Cutting Edge Approach to Cleaning Historical Exterior Surfaces

Driehaus Museum - After

Driehaus Museum – After

Driehaus Museum  - Before

Driehaus Museum – Before

Jefferson Statue - Lincoln Park

Jefferson Statue – Lincoln Park

Historical Restoration being one of our main specialties as painting and decorating contractors in the Chicago area, we look to stay current with new technologies, methods and practices. Belonging to trade associations is how we stay connected with the happenings in the industry. Last week, we attended a meeting held by the Western Great Lakes Chapter of APT (Association for Preservation Technology). The meeting was hosted by CSOS. The topic was on the applications of the laser cleaning technology they have developed, including a live demonstration of the cleaning process.

Being new to this technology, I was fascinated by the range of potential applications, the environmentally friendly nature of the process, all-the-while leaving the substrates in mint condition. CSOS has designed and manufactured their own state-of-the-art laser cleaning equipment. Another interesting aspect of this cleaning process is that it barely raises the temperature of the substrate.

One of CSOS’s success stories includes the cleaning of 25,000 square feet of the stone exterior substrates of the Driehaus Museum in Chicago.. The before and after pictures illustrate the dramatic result. This was the first building in the U.S. to be entirely cleaned with lasers. The other picture shows Jefferson’s statue, grander than life, normally resting in Lincoln Park. It will soon be laser-cleaned to its bronze substrate and prepped to receive its 24 carat gilded finish. It will be back in the Park this summer.

In our work as painting contractors, we take a custodial view towards our clients. It means that we try to think as the owner of the building. Because of the trust we establish with our clients, we are sometimes asked to put a team together (carpenters, metal fabricators, masons and now laser cleaning) to tackle the entire restoration project. This is why being knowledgeable in the restoration of other related substrates is an asset to our customers. Sometimes, it is about making our clients aware of different alternatives and levels of intervention, so they can make the most informed decision possible.