Setting Porcelain Photographs

How to set a Porcelain Photograph

Porcelain photographs have been around for many decades. When visiting old cemeteries around the country many of these portraits have come from Europe. Europeans have long captured their loved ones on porcelain discs and when settling into the Americas they have continued to place these beautiful porcelain portraits on their grave stones.

Traditionally these portraits where mainly Black and White and have lasted the test of time. Many of these were set into granite using a concrete base mortar or setting compounds and are still in place today a hundred years later.

Today we see the variation of porcelain to carbon steel backed portraits. These carbon steel portraits will corrode over time when edges chip and become exposed to moisture and may not outlast the traditional porcelain portraits. Metal backed portraits today are typically set using RTV silicone glues. Silicone will release acetic acid when curing and can under the right conditions start to corrode metals adjacent to it.

To preserve the test of time using porcelain portraits it is important to use a proven custom blend mortar. These custom blends offer excellent shear strengths in excess of 700 psi whereas non custom blends yield around 250 psi and may not be suitable to hold tiles over time. Custom blends also provide high compressive loads to prevent cracking when equipment run over your photographs and they offer crack prevention for horizontal movement up to 1/8”. The key is to fill all voids when setting these photographs on to the granite.

Companies using porcelain portraits just need to use professional setting techniques and custom blended mortar when installing these timeless works of art on to granite stones. They will be around for the centuries to come.

The beauty of having a portrait set with mortar cannot be replaced with a ring of RTV silicone rubber.

The Author

Richard Rapozo