Removing the rot from this well loved church
St James’ Church in Pollok, Glasgow was the first church designed by H E Clifford and was built in 1893-1895 originally as Pollokshields Titwood Church in Glencairn Drive. However between 1951 and 1953 the church was dismantled by Thomson, McCrea and Sanders and moved to its present position on Meikelrig Crescent in Pollok.
Like many buildings of this type and age, the owners face a constant battle to keep the building in good condition and in this instance defective roof coverings had caused dry rot. Peter Cox has considerable experience working to maintain churches and we were delighted to be able to use our expertise and play a part in preserving this well used building.
Fixing the source of the trouble
Melvin Niven from Peter Cox Glasgow said: “This church is in a Gothic style with tall windows and some lovely stained glass. It prides itself on being open to everyone living in the community and is much used and well loved.”
The surveying team observed how rainwater ingress due to defective roof coverings at the parapet gutter to the main pitched roof has had caused decay by the dry rot fungus (serpula lacrymans) affecting four large projecting trussends and 26 rafter feet.
Melvin said: “Active Dry Rot mycelium has a 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.”
Peter Cox removed the support timbers and decking to the full length of the parapet gutter and the sarking boards were moved back 1.5m from the parapet wall. The trussends and rafters were cut back by 1.0m to allow the team to renew them. All contact surfaces were coated with a bituminous solution and capped or laid on a PVC DPC membrane while all exposed timber was treated with the Peter Cox fungicidal fluid.
The four truss-ends were repaired using an epoxy resin splice detail and the rafters repaired with an in-line detail, using Splice Plates.
Melvin said: “Dry rot is capable of causing considerable destruction to timbers within buildings and it is vital that it is dealt with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, in this case the water ingress had already affected various elements of the property, including ceiling plaster, wall plaster, wall fabric, doorframes and incorporated architraves, timber lining boards, skirting boards and pipe chases.”
The team carefully removed the necessary parts in order to expose the timbers that needed to be treated. The masonry was “sterilised” by applying a fungicidal fluid to staggered holes, drilled to the mortar joints, together with a surface application to the exposed masonry.
The relevant timbers were renewed using the same process we had in previous areas.
Future protection against the elements
“When re-plastering affected walls it is vital that they are treated strictly in accordance with our standard specification incorporating the DryWall Coating System,” said Melvin. “This will prevent salt contamination to the finished wall plaster. The original “cause of attack” has been identified and addressed, to ensure that the building is now waterproof.
“It is hoped that thanks to our work, the church can continue to play a major role in the local community for many more years to come.”