Waterproofing the Building

After receiving a 2008 4Culture Landmark Challenge Grant in the amount of $19,779 we were able to accomplish $45,250 worth of improvements now referred to as Waterproofing, Phase I. Our contractor, Scott Davis of Kinesis Construction, was a member of the former Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist and has been monitoring good stewardship of this building for over 30 years. The former owners put forth great efforts toward preserving this historic building on a very thin budget. Mr. Davis was able to navigate and prioritize the roof torchdown replacement since he and his team were aware of which areas had already been addressed and which areas were likely causing the multiple water intrusion problems that we were experiencing. We no longer need our strategically placed buckets after heavy rains and the repaired interior ceilings are intact and dry. All recent repairs to broken and leaking stained glass windows have been done to exact historic standards thanks to help from Historic Seattle’s Larry Johnson who referred us to stained glass sub-contractor, Jim McKuen. Mr. McKuen has made sure replacement glass and lead were an exact match to original standards and blend perfectly with the originals unlike many of the previous repairs which will have to be re-done some time in the future. Our licensed masonry subcontractors were a father and son team from the Ukraine. They have extensive experience in the preservation of centuries-old church buildings throughout the Ukraine. Their tuck pointing involved removing and replacing failed mortar between cast stone throughout the building. They will be called back to complete more of the work in Phase III.

We are entering Phase II of our comprehensive plan to waterproof the building. Our original bid estimated in 2008 was $102,721. Phase I addressed torchdown membrane replacement below original red tiled roof in several trouble areas as well as replacement of some severely rotten wood window sills at a cost of $45,250. Phase II will address remaining original torchdown that must be replaced on both the upper and lower roofs of the building. Special attention will be made to parapet-roof interfaces and flashing-gutter-roof interfaces as there is extensive evidence of water intrusion that is soaking down through masonry walls. Water is being trapped behind a fabric skin overlay on much of the exterior stucco that was meant to aid in waterproofing, but is actually trapping water inside the walls that has been seeping from above roof edge interfaces. Also, window casework issues including rotten wood around south facing windows, scaling paint and defective seals around leaded glass and broken panes will be repaired.

Completing the waterproofing of this building is the number one priority in an overall plan to preserve and restore this building. Measuring the impact of saving one of Seattle’s rare historic buildings for future generations is not an exact science, but it is not difficult to appreciate the importance of this great effort.