“It takes a wide range of skills, patience, and personality in order to make it in historic restoration.” Mark Sauer of MSC Construction shared this, and much more with me in a brief conversation about his California-based construction business. And he should know, having been in the business for 32 years, he’s certainly learned a lot about what it takes.
Prior to starting his own business, Mark was a superintendent for another construction company, but he figured that with the hours he was putting in, he might as well be doing it for himself. He took a chance in 1986 and started MSC, and it was just a few years later that he took on his first historic restoration job in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.
Several of MSC’s projects have been a part of the Gaslamp District’s revitalization in San Diego.
Since then, MSC has completed hundreds of historically significant projects, including over 50 that involve properties that are listed on either the National or State of California historic register. Mark is a California native, and he feels a certain pride in being able to respectfully restore and preserve some of the properties that are uniquely important to his home state. Much of the work MSC does is on early California adobe and wood framed architecture. In fact- I reached out to Mark for more information when he shared some photos with ABATRON of the work he was doing at Mission San Diego de Alcala.
The California missions are some of the oldest buildings in the state.
Mission-style architecture was often adobe, which meant wood framed buildings with unreinforced masonry. A common feature on the adobe buildings was wooden rafter supports with partially exposed tails. These timbers would often extend slightly past the roof line, leading to inevitable deterioration after decades, or even centuries of exposure. MSC was introduced to Abatron’s LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® products when they were specified for a rafter tail restoration project at Casa de la Garza in the early 1990’s. MSC has been using Abatron products ever since because, “They work well and we’ve never had a reason to switch.”
LiquidWood and WoodEpox are applied to the mission rafter tails at Mission San Diego de Alcala.
I asked Mark about the appeal in working on historic buildings.
“It’s the overall process. It’s a challenge to make something structurally sound again while adding the artistic details that make it true to its period. It’s old meeting new and bringing them together harmoniously.”
The epoxy repairs will help extend the functional life of the roof for decades.
MSC does work throughout the state of California. Examples of their work and project information can be found at www.msauer.com.