Over the holidays my family experienced a masonry disaster. The culprit: weak mortar. A bit of chaos ensued, but fortunately there was a conservator in the house to help stabilize the situation.
You see, on Christmas Eve my sister and her kids made a gingerbread house. My niece and nephew had a great time decorating their gingerbread house with candy and frosting. Their house looked beautiful! And they were so proud of their creation.
Following the obligatory photo shoot, the adults retired to the living room when suddenly there was a crash!
And a scream!
And two sad little whimpers. (Followed by giggles, naturally.)
The gingerbread house had collapsed!!! (Dun dun dun)
Fortunately, an architectural conservator who specializes in masonry construction was on hand. She rushed in to try to assess the situation. She found that the mortar was too soft for the large slabs of masonry. It simply didn’t contain enough cement support the heavy roof structure.
We knew that specialized contractors would charge triple on a holiday, so the conservator did the best she could to piece the house back together. The result was a stabilized ruin, complete with an open roof and a bit of sagging ornament. Some ornament had to be removed from the ruin, as it was too damaged to be reinstalled. And sadly, a looter (aka grandpa) scavenged a few choice pieces. But the conservator did such a good job that the ruin stood true for several hours until the house was devoured by marauding giants (aka my niece and nephew).