Mural Cleaning in Historic Building Construction – Project Changes – Being nimble, versatile, flexible… and “on it”!

We thought we were on a superficial mural cleaning and varnishing project! But its a bit more adventurous than that. In the jungle of scaffolding and working among an army of 1,500 demolition and construction workers and equipment we realize that we are the final “face” that the client will see. Everybody else’s work will be hidden behind walls but our work will be the outward final “look” of the project. So, when I came up with an unexpected cleaning spot on the murals this week, it prompted a gathering of all the chiefs to have a pow wow… since it was going to potentially throw this huge project off schedule IF they wanted to do the in-depth varnish removal cleaning and have major changes (for the better) in the appearance of the murals (brighter, original colors).Mural Restoration Scaffolding

Scaffolding to reach 3,800 sq. ft of murals

“Unexpected” is a funny word, you might say? Am I not the art conservation expert? Did I not do tests ahead of time as the mural restoration consultant? There shouldn’t be anything unexpected!

Well, as it often happens, the client asks for an estimate as they begin to plan the project and get bids. Its WAY ahead of the start date so the building is still in use. When you do the “walk through” with the client there’s no scaffolding, no in-depth tests, no opportunity to figure out all the possible problems and options. I did do a couple of very small tests, during that initial walk-through that showed that the varnish couldn’t be dissolved. But these walls needed exploratory surgery in order to figure out all the details, which I didn’t get a chance to do… until the scaffolding was set up and the location was closed to the public. But by then, the construction schedule and budget were set.

As I said, the varnish couldn’t be dissolved with solvents. This 50 year old varnish was grayish yellow and hard. But once we were given the time to figure it out, we discovered the varnish could be safely swelled, without etching into or dissolving the original paint of the murals. Once the client saw the cleaning tests and the wonderful bright colors of the historic original murals, they flipped with enthusiasm!

Shortly thereafter, the client changed the project’s scope from grime removal and superficial cleaning and varnish to the overall removal of the discolored varnish. Here is a short time lapse video of the cleaning test which reflects the process we ended up having to go through, which I think you will find interesting:

When a mural conservation project is part of a historic preservation and construction project there are timelines to consider and keeping in step with other subcontractors and their responsibilities. If one subcontractor is late, it affects everyone. In the case of this project, FACL, Inc. worked closely with the client’s representative and agent to:

* accomplish the highest quality art restoration treatments of the historic murals

* we are hired to also act as consultant to two artists who painted a new murals that blended with the historic murals

*We responded in a timely effort to abate water damage when a main water line in the ceiling of one of the murals rooms

Basically, FACL oversaw the quality control of all tasks having to do with the historic murals.

Mural paint water damage

Peeling paint from water damage

FACL and Scott M. Haskins is your expert for mural conservation, painting restoration, historic preservation, art conservation expert, mural restoration consultant. Let’s chat about your proposed project!

Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

See videos produced specifically for historic preservation experts, architects and contractors at YouTube Channel Bestartdoc (subscribe to the channel!):

Detaching and Removing murals --

Mural conservation/restoration services --

Varnishing murals --

About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at
This entry was posted in Historic Buildings - Construction Sites, Murals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Mural Cleaning in Historic Building Construction – Project Changes – Being nimble, versatile, flexible… and “on it”!

  1. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work
    and exposure! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve you guys
    to our blogroll.

  2. Thank you for another informative site. The place else may just I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way?
    I’ve a challenge that I’m just now running on, and I have been on the glance
    out for such info.

  3. I am in fact grateful to the holder of this web page who has
    shared this impressive piece of writing at at this time.

  4. Howdy I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by accident,
    while I was looking on Digg for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but
    I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be
    back to read much more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

  5. coconut oil says:

    Appreciating the dedication you put into your blog and in depth information you provide.
    It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t
    the same outdated rehashed information. Fantastic read!
    I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  6. coconut oil says:

    Thank you for another fantastic article. The place else may
    anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal approach of writing?

    I have a presentation next week, and I am on the search for such info.

  7. coconut oil says:

    Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this
    piece of writing i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible piece of writing.

  8. Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came
    to “return the favor”.I am attempting
    to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to
    use some of your ideas!!

  9. Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There
    are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any recommendations? Cheers!

  10. Oliva says:

    New charge card do I have to let employer know?
    I reported some fraud activity on my charge card to the lender and they
    blocked my card , my card has arrived but perform I have to
    let my employer know re wages as the brand new card differs sort code and account number.
    Assuming they also changed your account information…you should tell them ASAP.

  11. Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to
    put this content together. I once again find myself personally
    spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  12. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user
    friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a superb job with this.
    Also, the blog loads very fast for me on Firefox.
    Excellent Blog!

  13. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.

    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for
    about a year and am nervous about switching to another
    platform. I have heard good things about Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content
    into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  14. This post gives clear idea in support of the new people of blogging,
    that in fact how to do blogging.

  15. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  16. Excellent web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours these days.
    I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

  17. asdasdsadsad says:

    You are so cool! I don’t think I have read through a single thing like
    this before. So great to discover someone with original thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

  18. When some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she wishes to
    be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

  19. Giorgio says:

    Great article on this aspect of your services. You’ve made a good point.

  20. Lucia Roland says:

    Thanks for this info that is so hard to come by for contractors. We’ll be in touch.

  21. Darlene De La Torre says:

    Great info. Thanks for making your expertise available!

  22. I never knew these details of cleaning artworks. I’ll never try this by my own and let the experts do it for me. Thanks for such a informative blog post.

  23. Josh McCreery says:

    Doing mural conservation on a construction site looks like it takes a specific set of skills that are hard won. I had no idea that cleaning murals isn’t that easy or was so involved.

  24. Alan says:

    Is there anyway I can view the video that you provided Scott? It’s set as ‘private’


  25. Stephen Wenzinger says:

    Hello, I can’t tell you how important it has been on this project to have a quality control person as Scott for the historic art aspects. EVERYONE that has had interaction with Scott has been thankful he was on this project.He was instrumental also in helping to keep other subs on their timeline. It was a real pleasure working with him. I am so glad we have him in our “Go-To” now!

  26. Jason Fairbanks says:

    I’m from the Fairbanks family and the murals you worked on were done by my great grandfather and his sons. Thank you for working so hard to save them and make them look their best. Your great work is greatly appreciated by our whole family.

  27. Francesca says:

    We are so thankful to all of you that truly understand what QUALITY work we do! Scott is the best…….and most know this……but few understand how important it is! Keep believing in us, because we will continue to show you that quality control, expertise and professionalism is…….and it WILL be served on a silver plate…always.
    Thank you for trusting the best!

  28. Karl Haubrich says:

    Good points made for this post. While we do historic restoration projects as contractors, we have never contracted with someone that has this expertise and I can see the definite advantages. We will keep you in mind!

  29. Tim Storms says:

    “We would have been in big trouble and you made our navigation through the City (Dallas) and with the project’s architects streamlined and professional. Your quality services and reputation were cemented in our minds when we heard the inspector say they didn’t need to inspect your work for final quality – un heard of in our industry!” Tim Storms , Roberts-Obrien Construction, General Contractor

  30. Mark Garrido says:

    “Scott and his FACL staff of highly competent professional art conservators performed the critical salvage and restoration of a very valuable, irreplaceable historic mural in the main lobby of the Burbank, CA Police/Fire headquarters (as a sub to the general contractor for the City of Burbank). This restoration was a major component of a large water damage correction project that included replacement of the curtain wall system, stone flooring, planters and memorial monument in the middle of and surrounding the mural. Project scheduling was very tight and coordination critical and complex. Under Scott’s hands-on leadership, FACL’s restoration of the mural was flawless, their performance timely and seamless and their cooperation and team work exemplary. Without reservation, I give Scott and FACL my highest recommendation.” Service Category: Art conservation. Year hired: 2009 Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
    Mark Garrido, Project Manager for the General Contractor on the project posted the following on for Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.).

  31. Megan Delacroix says:

    Scott’s been working with us in part as a conservator on our very large historic preservation project (we are Historic Preservation Designer architects) and partly as a consultant who helps us keep quality control on an artist whose new mural work must blend with the historic mural work. THANK GOODNESS for Scott and that he is on our project!!! Scott’s problem solving, his attention to construction timelines, his immediate response when we had a water main burst and his quality work were extremely important on this project. I don’t think the artist would have ever “dialed in” his work without Scott. I’ve enjoyed working with him immensely and I am thankful he was with us on this project.

Comments are closed.