Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures
Restoring Metal Leaf On Plaster
National Capitol Region Specifications
Lath & Plaster
Restoring Metal Leaf On Plaster
RESTORING METAL LEAF ON PLASTER
A. This procedure includes guidance on restoring metal leaf
on existing plaster surfaces and includes cleaning and
repairing damaged metal leaf.
B. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
cover the following sections:
1. Safety Precautions
2. Historic Structures Precautions
4. Quality Assurance
5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
6. Project/Site Conditions
7. Sequencing and Scheduling
8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
Preservation Officer (RHPO).
A. Product Data: Submit manufacturer's product
specifications and installation instructions for each
material, including other data as may be required to show
compliance with these specifications.
B. Operation and Maintenance Data: Submit written program
for each phase of restoration process including
protection of surrounding materials on building during
operations. Describe in detail materials, methods and
equipment to be used for each phase of restoration work.
1.02 PROJECT/SITE CONDITIONS
A. Environmental Requirements:
1. Monitor environmental conditioning throughout
construction period. Notify owner if environmental
conditions vary beyond minimum or maximum allowable
2. Dispose of by-products from cleaning and paint
stripping operations by legal means and in manner
which prevents damage to other surfaces.
B. Existing Conditions: Protect surrounding surfaces from
damage resulting from chemical cleaning and paint
A. Liquidtex, Inc.
NOTE: Chemical products are sometimes sold under a common
name. This usually means that the substance is not as pure as
the same chemical sold under its chemical name. The grade of
purity of common name substances, however, is usually adequate
for stain removal work, and these products should be purchased
when available, as they tend to be less expensive. Common
names are indicated below by an asterisk (*).
A. Protective Coating for Metal Leaf: Varnish designed
specifically for finishing decorative paintings, such as
"Soluvar" (Liquidtex, Inc.), or approved equal.
1. Use a finish to match existing.
2. Thin varnish with paint thinner - one part varnish
to three parts thinner.
B. Paint thinner such as mineral spirits or turpentine
1. A petroleum distillate that is used especially as a
paint or varnish thinner.
2. Other chemical or common names include Benzine* (not
Benzene); Naphtha*; Petroleum spirits*; Solvent
3. Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
4. Safety Precautions:
a. AVOID REPEATED OR PROLONGED SKIN CONTACT.
b. ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when handling
c. If any chemical is splashed onto the skin,
wash immediately with soap and water.
5. Available from construction specialties
distributor, hardware store, paint store, or
printer's supply distributor.
1. Typically used as a solvent and thinner.
2. Potential Hazards: TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.
3. Safety Precautions:
a. Work in a well ventilated area.
b. Observe safety rules as turpentine is
flammable, and the fumes can trip an
ionization smoke detection system.
c. Store soiled cloths in a metal safety
container to guard against spontaneous
d. Available from hardware store or paint store.
B. Metal Leaf Solvent Cleaner: 1,1,1, trichloroethane
C. Metal Leaf Sizing: Fast-tack sizing designed specifically
for installation of metal leaf
D. Gilding: Tissue booklet of metal leaf - available in
"patent" leaf (secured within a book) or "loose" leaf
E. Japan Color: Yellow ochre or other color pigment in a
varnish base to match desired color
F. Clean, soft cotton balls
3.01 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
A. At locations indicated, clean and conserve existing gold
or silver leaf on existing plaster surfaces.
B. Saturate a rolled cotton ball with solvent cleaner and
squeeze out excess.
C. Gently rub metal leaf surfaces to remove accumulated
dirt. Replace cotton ball frequently.
D. Continue rubbing as required to produce effect
established by mock-up in a uniform manner over entire
E. Repair missing or damaged areas by installing new metal
1. Clean surface and sand where required to create a
2. Apply a coat of Japan color over area.
3. Apply a thin coat of sizing to the surface.
4. Once proper tack of sizing is reached, position
5. Smooth leaves and remove excess with a soft brush.
Fill in small spots where leaf did not stick.
6. If gold color is required on silver leaf, apply two
coats of orange shellac to surface of silver leaf
to tint similar to adjacent surface.
7. See also 05010-27-R for guidance in applying metal
F. Apply two coats of protective coating to surface to
comply with manufacturer's instructions.
A. Upon completion of this work, all floors, walls, and
other adjacent surfaces that are stained, marred, or
otherwise damaged by work under this section shall be
cleaned and repaired and the adjacent areas shall be left
in clean and perfect condition.
B. All completed work shall be adequately protected from
damage by subsequent building operations and effects of
weather. Protection shall be by methods recommended by
the manufacturer of installed materials and as approved
by the RHPO.
END OF SECTION