Other Rain Leaks, except for roof and tower (Throop Memorial Church)

David Lawyer

Oct. 1994-2003
Rain leaks other than the roof and tower.

1. West Facade

2. Basement Flooding

3. Flooding Under Throop Hall

1. West Facade

1.1 Buttress Leaks

This facade is noted for its large Jesus window. There are two buttresses on each side of it. These buttresses are hollow and made of lath and plaster (gunite). There are cracks in the exterior through which water has leaked. During the 1990s (and likely earlier) and 2000s water leaked down the S facing buttress onto the top of the upstairs choir room ceiling and caused the ceiling plaster to fall down. It was repaired but then became damaged again. Gary Green knows the details. As of 2003-4, it still leaks some, but probably not as bad as in the past due to caulking of the cracks. A plastic sheet in the attic crawl space now collects the water. The number of inches collected is about 1/4 the number of inches of rain (worse in 2004), In a windy rain it could be much worse.

1.2 Caulking Repairs

In the spring of 1995, David Lawyer caulked the exterior of the buttresses but didn't finish the job since he has his hand become paralyzed due to holding a caulk gun in one hand while hanging from a rope. He used clear "Lexel" caulk which is plainly visible in the 21st century. Previously, someone else had used white caulk on the W buttress of the SW corner. This looks worse than the clear. When applying the clear, a little of the white caulk was removed.

2. Basement Flooding

2.1 Introduction

Both basements sometimes flood during rainstorms. The water usually comes from leaking rain gutters.

2.2 Electric Basement

Rainwater falls from a leaking gutter high up on the side of the building near the Del Mar sidewalk and lands in the small garden there and/or in the basement stairwell. The bottom of the stairwell seems to have no drain, although there is a hole in the cement floor which might have some kind of clogged drain under it (doubtful). Water leaks into the electric basement at two locations: the door to the outside (via the exterior stairwell) and the conduit hole in back of the switchgear.

In Mar. 1996 a pit was dug outside and caulk was applied to the hole where the main electric conduit enters the basement. This stopped the leak but in 2003 it was observed to be leaking again which indicates that the caulking job failed. It's likely due to the caulk being put on too thin, or applied to a dirty surface. This caulk was Lexel brand (of 50 year durability) which has held up well in other locations. This needs to be redone, and the gutter needs to be fixed.

2.3 Stage Basement

Rain water drips from leaks in the gutter over the patio garden in the NW corner of the patio. From there it leaks into the basement ventilation pits where the building wall meets this patio garden. Water either falls directly into this pits, or enters via cracks in the cement sides of these pits. Then when the water level in these pits reaches the bottom louvers of the ventilation opening, it flows into the basement. Also, water may flow into this garden from the flagstone walkway due to the edging flagstone being broken. In Feb. 2003, the gutter downspout was found to be clogged with mud and sand (from the shingles). It was cleaned out and the leaks were sealed with caulk. But as of Feb. 2004, it has yet to be painted inside to prevent further rusting.

Another source of water seepage is a major leak in the drainpipe to the E of the parking lot sanctuary entrance. Water seemingly seeps underground and into the basement.

3. Flooding Under Throop Hall

This water comes from the patio which gets water from a roof gutter downspout near the SW corner of the patio. Water leaks into the SW garden and from there flows into the crawl space under the sanctuary. The point of entry is a pit for a crawl space opening that existed prior to putting flagstone in the patio. The top of this pit has been covered with concrete and flagstone, but the pit is still there and a person may even crawl into this pit from the crawl space.

Now if the patio drain was not clogged and if water from the patio flowed into this drain, there would be little flooding. But the patio flagstone has apparently settled in such a way that water flows towards the SW garden instead of away from it towards the drain. So that even if the patio drain is fixed, the problem will not be solved. As a temporary fix, a small dam about an inch high was constructed at the bottom of the fire escape stairway. This results in rainwater flowing around the gate and down the walkway towards Del Mar instead of getting into the crawl space via the SW garden.

In 2003 as a result of vandalism, someone broke the flagstone edging, allowing water to flow into the garden and on to the crawl space.