SUMC Exterior Waterproofing Project
Submitted by Don Tudor, Shandon UMC Property Committee, March 2022
Certainly, many of you have noticed the large lifts and work going on around the Betty Bruner Building and Sanctuary. This is an exterior waterproofing project being done by Watts Waterproofing. Work was started last spring with the brick walls and stones on the front of the sanctuary building (the side of the sanctuary facing Devine Street) and was continued on September 13, 2021, for the remainder of the sanctuary, bell tower and Betty Bruner building. Simply defined, this waterproofing project is designed to reestablish the protective surface of the exterior brick and stone to the levels provided by the original 1950 construction of the buildings by repairing and waterproofing the exterior. Over the last 70+ years the exterior brick, stone, bonding mortar, silicone and grout has weathered and the Church has been experiencing thousands of leaks. One leak example was when the senior minister, seated at his office desk, had rainwater from a summer storm come through the exterior brick wall and leak into his office. You may have also noticed water penetration in other areas of the sanctuary, bell tower and Betty Bruner building. Another example that can be easily seen is the water damage to the interior plaster of the walls in the sanctuary stair well to the balcony, west side. In the past few years the Church has repaired and painted these plaster walls several times; it once again needs repair from water damage in 2020.
This type of waterproofing is recommended every ten years; however, since this is our first time doing this work, the Church is behind schedule by sixty years. Our delays in doing this work have created damage to our exterior surfaces well beyond what would be expected after ten years.
The exterior waterproofing work started in the spring of 2021 with the sanctuary’s front (Devine Street side) walls and stone work. The front walls was chosen to be completed first to protect the new balcony organ pipes mounted on the inside of this wall. The success of this project prompted the Board of Trustees to begin the waterproofing work for the remainder of the exterior of the Betty Bruner, Sanctuary and Bell Tower building.
The scope of the work is very complex and includes seven steps.
- Step one – pressure wash and clean the exterior surfaces, removing all the lose mortar and silicone.
- Step two – remove remaining damaged/deteriorating mortar and silicone from the stone to brick intersections and replace with matching silicone/mortar. The color of the silicone and mortar are matched to existing silicone/mortar as close as possible.
- Step three – remove remaining damaged/deteriorated silicone from the outside perimeter of the glass panels protecting the stain glass and other windows and install new matching silicone.
- Step four – remove remaining mortar between bricks, tuck-pointing any damaged/deteriorated brick joints using type N mortar to match existing color as close as possible.
- Step five – remove remaining damaged/deteriorating coping joint material and install new silicone in all coping joints.
- Step six – complete a final cleaning of the building using a mild restoration cleaning solution via a pressure washing process.
- Step seven – apply a water repellant solution to entire area.
As a bonus, Watts Waterproofing pressure washed and applied a protective coating on the two short landscape brick walls in the front yard of the church. Watts is also assisting the church in the repair and cleaning of all window screens and attic vents.
The project has involved the use of two 65 foot lifts and from three to six workers on-site daily for the past 3 ½ months. In the next few weeks a larger lift, either 85 feet or 125 feet height, will be used to access the top floors of the Bell Tower and the chimney in the center of the Betty Bruner Building. While the work is being done to the Bell Tower, Watts Waterproofing will be accessing possible repairs that need to be made to the steeple exterior surface.
This project (costing $221,680) is funded by the SUMC Foundation Property Account, a trust account established by the Board of Trustees several years ago as a response to the SUMC Capital Facilities Assessment Program, which sets aside funds each year in the trust fund to grow and be available for projects like this. The project is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.
Below is a photo of a completed sanctuary window.
Photos of the lifts at work are shown below.
Scaffolding in the Betty Bruner Courtyard
Shandon United Methodist Church gathers to worship God, nurture Christian faith, and go out into the world in mission.