As Columbia Station DC transitioned from a neighborhood rail stop to a venue for local artists and performers, we knew we would need to provide those performers a beautiful piano that always produces crisp, clear sounds with every note. Unfortunately the beautiful baby grand piano we had ordered for our venue did not arrive in time for our first scheduled concert!
To the rescue was McLean Piano Tuning by PianoCraft! The experts at McLean Piano Tuning by PianoCraft allowed us the use of one of their newly restored pianos for the interim, while we waited for our own piano to arrive.
In working with McLean Piano Tuning by PianoCraft, we learned a bit more about piano restoration itself. Much more involved than tuning and repair, piano restoration is needed for pianos so severely damaged that they are not usable, and for which simple repairs of certain parts is insufficient. Piano restoration might involve replacing many of the moving parts under the piano lid while also rebuilding the piano body, either replacing sections or reshaping warped and misshapen areas.
Piano restoration is an extensive project but an excellent choice for heirloom or specialty pianos, such as valuable brands and models. The investment in piano restoration ensures your beloved instrument is in good condition and usable once again, while also looking its best!
Piano Tuning and Care
While not all instruments need restoration, every piano needs regular tuning and care! The experts at McLean Piano Tuning by PianoCraft helped us understand what would be needed to ensure our newly purchased baby grand would stay in good condition and sounding as it should for years to come.
One important tip they noted is that a piano needs to be played regularly. While it might seem like playing a piano would put it out of tune sooner than letting it sit, hammers striking piano wires and their resultant vibrating action actually keeps them in position and in tune, more so than wires sitting idle. The longer a piano goes without being played, the more out of tune it gets!
Of course, regular piano tuning is also needed for pianos in consistent use, to readjust those wires. Piano maintenance also ensures proper repairs to hammers, pins, dampers, and keys, as well as other parts. Tuning and maintenance are quite different, as piano tuners typically don’t make repairs; they might alert you to damaged felt on hammers or other such issues, but repairs are then performed separately than tuning.
Proper climate control is also vital for pianos. Wood bodies and all those wood parts under the lid absorb moisture and then expand, and then shrink as they dry out. Not only will those wood parts potentially warp or split from this process but note that they pull wires and other moving parts with them as they go through this expand-shrink cycle!
While a casual piano player might simply keep their home at a relatively consistent temperature and humidity level, anyone who has invested in a quality piano and who wants to ensure it sounds perfect with every performance would do well to choose a piano climate control system, as we soon learned. These systems automatically cycle on a heater, fan, humidifier, dehumidifier, and other appliances as needed, according to the temperature and humidity in the space around them. They’re an excellent choice for ensuring your piano is always in good condition, without having to constantly monitor the temperature and humidity of a room manually.
The piano tuning pros at McLean Piano Tuning by PianoCraft were incredibly professional and personable throughout the entire process of providing us with a restored piano from their shop, and in ensuring we knew how to take good care of our own instrument. Everyone at Columbia Station DC is grateful for their help and we look forward to working with them again in the future!
One beautiful aspect of the authentic architecture here at Columbia Station DC is our plaster! Columbia Station DC boasts old-world plaster walls and ceilings, complete with gorgeous medallions and crown molding, the design and style of which are difficult to recreate with drywall and other building materials popular today.
While plaster is an amazing material for architecture and its soft texture during application allows for easy formation of decorative details, it does require the services of a professional for repairs and new installation. Fortunately we were recommended New Jersey Plastering, some of the best plaster repair professionals in the northeast.
Why a Structure Needs Plaster Repair
Before plaster repairs began, the pros at New Jersey Plastering explained why a structure needs plaster repairing in the first place, so we could better understand the work involved. One thing we learned is that plaster is applied in layers, over what is called wood lath. Lath refers to strips of wood, designed to give plaster stability and strength as it dries and sets.
One main cause of cracks along the surface of plaster is damage to that wood lath. While plaster itself is very water-resistant, water leaks or excess humidity in a structure might soften that wood lath, allowing it to crack. In turn, sections of plaster then shift out of place, also cracking.
This plaster damage also happens when a structure settles and shifts over time. Soft soil or excessive vibrations often cause a building’s framework to shift slightly or suffer minor damage. As a building shifts and settles, sections of plaster also start to sag or get pulled out of place, leading to cracks and other such damage.
Plaster Repair Process
Once we understood a bit more about the reason for needed plaster repairs, we knew what to expect from the repair process. The experts at New Jersey Plastering started with ceiling repairs and actually cut out a bit of plastering around the damaged area. This wasn’t to create more work for them but was so that they could inspect the lath behind that damage!
This was a necessary step to take, as the plaster repair contractors at New Jersey Plastering noticed some splitting and other damage along those wood pieces. After replacing them as needed, damaged plaster was rebuilt with fresh layers of stucco.
The work didn’t stop there, however! Cracks along the surface of our structure’s plaster ran right through several areas of its beautiful crown molding and ceiling medallions. We wanted those details to be saved, as they are a significant part of why our building is so authentic and charming!
Fortunately New Jersey Plastering was up to the task. Their plaster repair contractors took meticulous molds of those designs and were able to recreate the details in fresh plaster. Damaged sections of the molding and medallions were removed and replaced with that fresh plaster mix.
Once all repairs were completed and fresh plaster dried, New Jersey Plastering applied fresh paint, choosing a color and tone that recreated the antique look of our structure perfectly. The pros at New Jersey Plastering also applied a gold leaf paint finish to several areas of our ceiling medallions, making them stand out and command attention!
Everyone here at Columbia Station DC is grateful for the fine work and expertise offered by New Jersey Plastering. New Jersey Plastering performed plaster repairs that not only restored the structural stability of our gorgeous building but which enhanced its authentic, historic look. We will definitely have them return in the future whenever we need additional plaster repairs or any new plaster installation for our facility.
Here at Columbia Station DC we understand the importance of well-maintained musical instruments, as even the slightest variation in tone or pitch can detract from any performance. This is especially true for pianos, as their sound often dominates a concert or recital and concertgoers are often very sensitive to the notes produced.
The importance of a piano in good repair is why we here at Columbia Station DC invest in services from the finest piano tuner in northern Virginia, Fairfax County Piano Tuners by PianoCraft. Their services are second to none and have always produced the crisp, rich sound our performers expect.
Why Call a Piano Tuner in Northern Virginia
As every piano owner knows, piano tuning is not a simple task! Piano tuning involves adjusting dozens of wires, restoring their tension so that they produce the sound expected. Some piano owners attempt their own piano tuning, perhaps with electronic equipment that reads sound frequencies, but there is no substitute for the “trained ear” of a piano tuning expert.
Here at Columbia Station DC, we have found that not every piano tuning contractor is alike, which is why we always use the best piano tuners in northern Virginia, Fairfax County Piano Tuners by PianoCraft. These pros have years of experience in performing as well as tuning, restoration, and repairs. During every visit, their piano tuning contractors take painstaking care to adjust every wire as needed, ensuring our piano provides crisp, rich sound with every performance.
Between Visits From a Northern Virginia Piano Tuner
While we’re blessed with visits from the best piano tuners in northern Virginia, we know that there is much a piano owner can do between visits from their piano tuning contractor, to keep their keyboard in good condition and sounds its best. One important consideration is to keep playing the piano regularly, as a piano sitting idle is actually likely to go out of tune faster than one used regularly.
Proper piano climate control is also needed, although this is a challenge for us here at Columbia Station DC! The unpredictable weather in the area along with our long, cold winters make it quite challenging to keep our station’s interior at a consistent temperature and humidity.
Fortunately the pros at Fairfax County Piano Tuners by PianoCraft are happy to help with piano maintenance and they suggested several piano climate control systems best suited for our area and interior spaces. Our climate control system reads both temperature and humidity and cycles