Thompson Crowley Masonry Inc.

For Historic Foundation Restoration Call today 617-633-1896

Historic Home Foundation Repairs

 Here at Thompson Crowley Masonry our family has been working on first and early period homes in Massachusetts since the 1960's. We have experience working on thousands of foundations from the 1600's, 1700's, 1800's and early 1900's. We are professional stone and brick masons who only work on masonry foundations. Masonry foundations consist of stone, brick and cement block. Historic homes built in Massachusetts prior to the 1900's used primarily lime mortar mixtures. Lime is still present in modern mortars but not as the main bonding agent. Today's modern cement and mortars uses portland cement as its dominant ingredient with different aggregates. Portland cement and current commercial mortars do not bond well with existing lime and often will quickly dry out and cause cracks and damage to 1st period soft kilned bricks.


Beyond materials our company has decades of experience repairing and restoring lime based foundations. Restoring NHL natural hydrated lime foundations is a process of removing soft flaky joints, knowledge of what can be removed and what is structurally sound. How to treat the walls prior to mortar applications and sealant is a key factor. At Thompson Crowley we used period correct mortar mixes, hydrated and hydraulic lime putty, bricks, stone and modern specified restoration products.

First Period Construction 

Early construction of stone foundations started in the late 1600's. Massachusetts oldest timber house is the Fairbanks house in Dedham. Built with native lumber and bricks from England in 1641.  

 In 1629 Salem, Massachusetts first manufactured kilned bricks to meet builders demand. First period homes such as the Pickman house in Salem were built in 1664 with local stone and local manufactured brick. The Pickman house is located on Charter St. behind the Peabody Essex museum, the oldest continually operated museum in America. The house abuts the Witch memorial also next to Americas second oldest burying ground. Historic homes in Salem along Broad St. are some of earliest examples in America of stone and brick foundations.

 Builders relied on European Masonry traditions to construct these homes. Lime and sand were mixed to make mortar. Lime coatings were added to waterproof and plaster "whitewash" basement walls.


 Massachusetts has excellent examples of fine stone and brick work from this period. The John Whipple house in Ipswich built in 1677 has intricate foundation and fireplace work with ornate chimneys all constructed with local brick, stone and lime mortar. The Peter Tufts house in Medford built in 1677-1688 is well known for its detailed brick work and Flemish bond used to create style in brick laying. The Spencer-Pierce -Little farm constructed in 1690 in Newbury is another great example of European masonry with brick and stone construction and lime coatings.


All of the first period homes had one thing in common. The use of brick, stone and lime mortar.

 Lime mortar was used throughout Europe and brought to America for construction in the 1600's has not been used in foundation construction since the advent of concrete block and poured foundations.

​When our grandfather came to America in the 1960's he was already trained in England as a mason and the uses of lime as mortar and plaster.

 The North Shore of Boston with its thousands of early homes in Salem, Danvers, Beverly, Ipswich and Newbury area our Grandfathers training was quickly met with masonry success.

 Growing up in the 1970's we were shown first hand by our grandfather and father how to work with hydrated, lime, sand and masonry cement. Coating and repairing historic foundation walls was some of our first task as young apprentice masons.  

 After years of lumping materials and making masonry cement we were shown how to chisel and clean out failing mortar joints. How to set stone in foundation walls so they did not rely on mortar to hold it in place.

"A properly set foundation stone will rest on its own, if you rely on cement to hold it in place a crack will eventually appear " Cracks in foundations leads to leaks and structural concerns.

 Having the benefit of first hand professional masonry training and foundation training we were fortunate to learn brick laying, stone setting in regards to foundation load pressure and back pressure. Building and repairing stone foundations requires knowledge of mortar, water pressure, lime mortar, hard and soft bricks and load pressure.  The weight of the house and bearing points is vital in stone foundation repairs.

         For three generations our family has been working on stone and brick historic foundations in Massachusetts. We've worked on countless historic homes and buildings. We work with property owners, builders, Architects and Historical Societies.

We are not a large company we are a small family owned business that still operates today as it it did fifty plus years ago with a mason and a mason's tenderer, bricks, stone and masonry cement. We repair your foundation exactly how it was built with sand, lime, NHL lime putty, masonry cement, bricks and stones.  Complete re-pointing and sealant for accurate restoration. No magic materials or systems just honest masonry. We've had the privilege to work on countless first period homes in Massachusetts homes from the 1600's and early 1700's particularly in Boston, Newton , Wellesley  and the Salem , Ipswich area. 

                  For stone foundation restoration contact us today 617-633-1896

stone foundation repairs