Many of our historic churches are over 100 years old and so is the plaster. Ordinary aging from expansion/contraction cycles will stress the plaster and eventually lead to cracks and sections pulling away from the wood lathes. Sometimes, damage can occurs from water leaks through the roof or window frames. Egan Church Restorations plaster experts can clean and repair simple cracks, secure loose plaster to the wood lathes with screws or replace water damaged sections with new plaster to maintain the historic look of your church.
Church plaster repair. St John the Baptist Church. Pawtucket, RI
Heavy rains during a winter storm leaked through the gutters and roof at St. John the Baptist Church in Pawtucket, RI. The pastor contracted for the exterior repairs and then hired Egan Church Restorations to help restore the historic plaster and moldings.
Egan’s Church Restorations team of expert plasterers and artists, removed the water saturated plaster. We then secured the original wood lathes to be certain they had not pulled away from the wall. Next, we attached a wire mesh to the wood lathes to provide a base to apply the new plaster to. We then mixed plaster and applied a base coat and later a finish coat. After sanding, we matched the original paint colors and re-painting the wall. Lastly our artist, then re-created the decorative lettering
Some of the damage occurred to the molded plaster on the arches surrounding a number of the windows. These were all originally precast molds and then plaster made with great detail. In order to repair this, we had to re-mold the plaster to match. Our team applied a liquid fiberglass to the good sections of the existing mold. We then used that to create multiple new molds to recast the plaster so it look just like the original.
The final part of our work was repainting the “faux marble” to the large sanctuary columns. The paint had peeled from minor leaks in the stained glass skylight. Our artist stripped all the existing paint, touched up the plaster in spots and then re painted the “faux marble” effect.
Church Plaster Repair
Church Plaster Repair. Grace Episcopal Church. Providence, RI
Church Plaster Repair – Grace Epis. Church. Providence, RI.
Another source of damage to church plaster is water leaks. Roofs, gutters and window frames are the primary source of many of these water leaks and of course need to be secured before any plaster work begins. In the above photo, water has been leaking through sections of the exterior wood frames that have deteriorated over decades. Egan Church Restorations removed the water damaged plaster, applied a screen to the original wood lathes, then re-plastered the section to like new condition.
Grace Church in Providence, Rhode Island had water leaking through the stained glass window frames causing extensive damage to the surrounding historic plaster. Egan Church Restorations were hired to restore the plaster around the window frames and in several other spot locations. The damaged plaster was removed to start. We then secured wire mesh to the original wood lathes to act as a new base for the new plaster. After applying a base layer of plaster, after drying, 2 additional layers of finish plaster were applied. After sanding to a smooth finish, primer and finish paint were applied.
Plaster Molds for Capitols
Another plaster repair that is needed on some churches is creating new molds to replicate decorative plaster such as moldings or capitols. The above photo is a project we completed for Immaculate Conception Church.
New high speed train service by Amtrak, created a serious amount of vibrations on this churches plaster due to it’s closeness to the train tracks. Vibrations shook the building and eventually lead to the capitols cracking and falling. Egan’s team of plaster experts, re-created the original molded plaster by making casts from some of the still intact capitols. We then re-painted them with gold highlights to match the original finishes.