By Scott Fitzgerrell
Anyone who owns an old house knows how it goes: dry rot and other such issues are always lurking, and the only solution is diligence and a willingness to get things fixed when they occur—and before they get worse. Case in point: one of the structural columns that support the seven large trusses in the Sanctuary was found to be rotted this fall.
Working with a local engineer, we came up with a means of replacing the faulty column while not disturbing the essential support it still provides. Fortunately, the column was over-engineered to such an extent that no structural damage was sustained apart from the column itself.
That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that one of our stained glass windows now sits in a completely rotted frame that must be rebuilt, and the wood sheathing that supports the exterior stucco is so heavily damaged that the exterior wall must be opened in order to replace the sheathing.
Repairs should take about three weeks, and the contractor believes he can replace the column in time for worship on Sunday, January 13.
As the photo shows, given the elaborate scaffolding that’s been installed to support the truss, this seems pretty remarkable.
So, how did we come to this pass? It’s rain gutters, folks. The column was damaged due to years, perhaps decades, of water leaking through the scupper that sits above the affected wall. In this case, although the church is careful to keep the gutters and scuppers clean every year, there was probably a mechanical problem with one of the downspouts, and that caused the leak.