Revealing the scale of the problem
St. Luke’s Church, in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, was built in 1884 and was originally a Free Church, constructed for a breakaway congregation with an unusual fondness for church music. The church is cruciform in plan and features stained glass by Morris and Company in the apse.
Our Dundee office was called in to inspect fungal decay which was observed just above the timber panelling to the wall. Surveyor Steve Parker said: “Our initial examination confirmed Dry Rot and we were asked to find out just how far the outbreak had spread. If left untreated it can cause considerable damage.”
A Prudent strategy
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. Our team removed several sections of the panelling trims inside the church and found evidence of a Dry Rot outbreak.
“Peter Cox is always conscious of client budgets and so although we found a large mass of mycelium, which has a cotton wool like appearance, to the back of the oak timber panels and wall plaster surfaces, because oak timber is a durable hardwood, we were able to simply clean the mycelium off and re-use the timbers” said Steve.
“Neither had the outbreak affected the floor joists and floorboards and so we didn’t have to carry out replacement works to these items which was good news for the client.”
However, the softwood battens and the softwood section of the panels had broken down and required replacement. The outbreak had also reached the adjacent oak timber panel which needed to be removed for repairs and treatments.
In order to rectify the problem, the team carefully removed the affected timber panel section and set aside. They removed the entire exposed sub frame from the wall and hacked off all the exposed wall plaster behind the panels removed.
The masonry was sterilised and we removed all fungal growth. Next, holes were formed at 450mm staggered centres in the walls and fungicidal fluid applied to each hole together with a surface application. We applied Probor 50 fungicide paste to the exposed floor joist sections and the uplifted floorboards and refitted the floorboards, ensuring no contact with the masonry walls.
Saving The Day
The same process was applied to the timber panel sections which were then rebuilt and the softwood timber sections replaced as required. We also refitted a new pressure treated sub frame for the wall panelling, and refitted the mouldings and skirting boards.
Steve adds: “The client was delighted with the end result and was especially pleased that we did not have to replace as much of the panels and floor joists as had first been thought.”