A Monumental Challenge
Peter Cox has built an enviable reputation as the market leader in the repair and preservation of historic properties and so when our Glasgow team were asked to work on a 19th century villa which featured elements from world renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh we were both delighted and a wee bit nervous!
Stopping the rot
Surveyor Charlie Wilson said: “We were asked to investigate problems at Craigie Hall, a two storey renaissance historic mansion set within extensive private wooded grounds close to Bellahouston Park. The original house dates from 1872 and was designed by John Honeyman with a later extension by John Keppie and fittings from none other than Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It was a great honour to be able to look at the unique features close up and we had to ensure that our work did not compromise them.”
The Peter Cox team challenge was to treat rising damp and fungal decay and we first noted that the roof coverings and lead flashings were in poor condition with water staining to the rainwater downpipes which indicated leaking. This meant that excess moisture has been allowed to penetrate the building fabric and been absorbed by the adjacent timbers resulting in the germination of the spores of the true Dry Rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans).
This had brought about the breakdown of timbers to the wall framing, floor joists, floorboards, door standards, lining boards, wall plates and timber safe lintels on both the ground and first floors.
Charlie said: “Active Dry Rot has a fresh white or greyish appearance and its relatively impervious outer layer, together with an unusual alkaline tolerance, allows it to survive in the mortar layers within masonry and walls. It is potentially capable of considerable destruction.”
“Thankfully the new owner recognised the urgency and was determined to stop the rot in one of Glasgow’s most impressive buildings.”
We applied a surface application of fungicidal fluid to the brickwork and wire brushed the surfaces before mass irrigating the walls with a fungicidal fluid and treating timber safe lintels adjacent to areas of dry rot. We also treated the wall plate within the roof space. We found rising dampness to certain walls which was due to the absence of an effective damp proof course. Areas of plaster were generally in poor condition and so our team installed a chemical damp proof course incorporating our own Peter Cox DryWall Diffusion Process.
“Our damp proof course can be installed in solid walls from one side only of the wall to be treated, causing the minimum of disturbance,” said Charlie. “This is particularly useful in historic buildings like this. We also advised the client that in order to prevent problems in the future, those walls we treated must done so strictly in accordance with our specification for our Dry Wall Coating System.”
A Brighter Future
Thanks to the building work being carried out, Craigie Hall and and its numerous features which include an enclosed winter garden, billiards room, library and a music room with a pipe organ mahogany case designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Art Deco light fittings, Art Deco mirror fireplaces and stained-glass windows will be saved.
“This was a lovely building to work in,” adds Charlie. “We are delighted to have been given this opportunity and to play our part in helping to maintain Craigie Hall.”