Commercial property preservation in Morpeth Railway

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Morpeth railway station - rising damp case study

The station was designed by Benjamin Green and opened in 1847. It still retains the original station buildings which are regarded as one of the finest examples of Victorian railway architecture on the East Coast Mainline. Work has been carried out to give the station a new lease of life, with a £2.2 million scheme set up to repair, restore and redevelop the Grade II listed station. 

The stand out features of the building will be retained and restored, while travel conditions will be improved for passengers, the station will also be given a viable future through the creation of a business enterprise centre.

Morpeth railway preservation work

Survey findings

From the initial survey there were signs of rainwater penetrating from external defects in the pointing, flashings, guttering and external joinery. The survey highlighted visible signs of dampness caused by rising damp, indicating the lack of a damp proof course. The absence of an effective damp proof course correctly finished at the wall/floor joint intersections led to ground moisture permeating up through the floor construction, creating a damp environment.

The survey also found evidence of a dry rot outbreak (Serpula lacrymans) in window linings, lintels, and flooring timbers. Every floor in the building had traces of dry rot spores, which will germinate and grow in timber with the right moisture content. The dry rot fungal threads (hyphae) digests cellulose in timber and spreads in search of more timber to attack, even travelling through masonry. This can leave timber cracked and brittle to the touch, and can lead to severe structural damage.

repairing floorboards

First floor joists were repaired and new floorboards fitted.

Damp and dry rot treatment

Damp proof courses were required extensively on the ground floor of the building, which were installed from the inside only, causing minimum disturbance while protecting the external facade. It was recommended that plastering capable of preventing hygroscopic salts affecting the wall surface should be used.

Due to the condition of roof coverings, guttering and pointing, excess moisture had penetrated into the building fabric. Water from these leaks had caused the outbreak of dry rot, providing a source of moisture. The successful eradication of fungal decay is dependent upon the prevention of further entry of moisture into the building.

The moisture in the building has been absorbed by adjacent timber raising the moisture content above 20%. This resulted in the germination of spores of dry rot fungus causing severe damage to timber wall plates, rafters and trusses.

Morpeth railway northumberland commercial property services

A damp proof course installed in the solid brick wall.

Timber repairs and treatment

Extensive timber treatments were carried out to the roof, first floor and ground floor due to the dry rot outbreak. This included cutting out and renewing timber wall plates, cutting back rafter ends and repairing roof trusses. Partially damaged rafter ends timber with dry rot were cut back 300mm, repaired and treated with fungicidal fluid.

Fungicidal fluid was applied to brickwork to prevent dry rot spores in the masonry from infesting the area again. First floor joists were also repaired and new floorboards fitted. The dry rot outbreak had also damaged dado rails, cupboard door frames, skirtings and door frames.

Both the rising damp and dry rot treatments come with a 20 year guarantee protecting the building against the recurrence of the issue where work has been carried out.

repeaired wooden joist

Contact our commercial team

Our commercial projects team are the leading property preservation providers for large scale commercial projects in the UK. If you are in need of our damp proofing, wood rot, waterproofing or timber repair services then give us a call on 0800 633 5712 or complete the contact form below and out team will get back in touch with you.

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