Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 30 seconds
Levco was contacted by the building owner when a car inadvertently jumped a parking bumper and struck the building soundly near the back entrance. The impact pushed the wall in, dislodged the brick wall and ruined several doors.
The collision was the unfortunate result of pushing on the wrong pedal at the wrong time. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
This building was nearly 50 years old and the bricks were of a very specific type that is no longer made, (a raked brick with variegated color.) The one caveat that the owner had for me was that I “put it back the way it looked prior to the accident, with the exact same bricks!” The equivalent in my mind to being challenged to a duel.
The fixing of the internal wall, including the framing, electrical, painting and door replacement were typical run of the mill things we do, but the brick matching problem was going to be a real challenge.
That got me excited, I had to be on the hunt for a needle in a haystack. Where would I find such a brick, we only needed a dozen or so. My first thought was to steal a few bricks from an inconspicuous place but there just weren’t any on this building.
Where to Look?
My first thought was the brick supply houses, after running around to a few, I realized that this was futile, the new models have next to nothing in common with the vintage ones except size and shape. Perhaps we could hire an artist to harmonize the color?
My next thought was to call around to my masonry contractors. They suggested I look at a used building material places or scrap yards. Having no luck at Second Chance, (our local vintage building supply) I decided to look at a place where we often take extra dirt and pick up gravel or mulch called Diamond Recycling out by the airport.
Upon pulling up I explained my peculiar request as I clutched my precious sample. Surely some wise mason decided to bring some old bricks to the recycler rather than the landfill.
As I wound around the maze of separated material piles, I pulled up to the lonely mound of bricks. I was filled with cautious optimism, surely I would find what I was looking for among all of these rejects.
As I approached with trepidation, a very loud jet passed overhead. I wandered around and stumbled at the base of the mountain, I got one, then another, I quickly gathered my booty of about a dozen nearly new identical matches worthy of consideration.
I loaded up the truck and sprinted to the checkout booth where I was met by a fellow who said, “I’m glad you found what you were looking for, now beat it.” “Thanks, me too, I said, “but I haven’t paid for my bricks yet.” “At 10 cents each it is not worth me writing a receipt.” he told me so I put it in gear and slowly pulled out of the lot.
As I drove way with a giddy grin, clear that I had overcome the challenge set before me, I realized that I was a part of a team that doesn’t let little things detour us from being successful. I also reinforced Levco’s “We always win!” theme of problem solving.
Post Script: If bricks have any sort of sole or ancestry, I’m sure there is a big ol’ reunion going on at my project as we brought long lost relatives back together for the holiday season.
I cannot thank the folks at Diamond Recycling enough for having the space to store these relics or the wisdom to consider it a wise business decision. There is no doubt in my mind that this interaction and supreme customer service experience will bear fruit for them as much as it has for me.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
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Brilliant Story and example of orchestrating ‘unreasonable’ service.
Thanks Howard I couldn’t wait to tell the story. This the sort of thing that makes remodeling fun for me.
Just read this story after reading about your basement adventures. Dont hesitate to call me when you are looking for something you cant find my friend. I just may have it.
Thanks for the comments Loraine, funny how we have taken parallel paths to repurposing and salvaging.
My comment on basements is some of them hold extreme Treasures others scarey spiders. I have a guy who always checks the basements for me. After about the 20th basement in Meridian in 2007 and the spiders they held I couldn’t do it. A guy whom has worked with me from the beginning gets that job.
Any subterranean places are ripe for the arachnids in the area. I pretend that they aren’t there then I plow forward, until I hit one of those industrial strength webs. Lord knows I’ve pissed off a few spiders in my day. I can hear them now, “Oh shit, here comes Joe that wrecking ball of a contractor, now were going to have to rebuild as well”