The Gothic Chimney at Beauport is located to the northwest on the harbor elevation. It provides flues for stoves located in the Golden Step Room on the first floor, the Master Mariner’s Room on the second floor, as well as the now defunct boiler in the basement. The Gothic Chimney is one of six decorative, brick chimneys located at the property. Although all of the chimneys have shown some signs of moisture infiltration, the Gothic Chimney actively drips water onto the finished surfaces of the interior causing significant damage in the museum space.
Numerous attempts have been made to repair this chimney–even as a last resort a water repellant was applied in the 90s to no avail. After a thorough investigation, the problems seem to focus on a curious corner detail and the chimney’s flashing. The chimney includes two Gothic panels on the west and south but only one on the east. The north does not include any Gothic panels but has a small bump out at the northwest corner. The reason for this is unknown– it is possible that the original plan for the chimney was smaller or that an additional flue was needed as an afterthought. Whatever the reason, the extended corner incorporates an interesting flashing issue at the down slope side of the roof. In the past, tar was smeared at this corner in an attempt to stop the leak and the flashing has been caulked into place.
During heavy rain storms, a significant amount of water drips from the ceiling at the Golden Step Room. Collections are moved and fixed pieces–like the stove– are covered with plastic. Although most sides of this chimney shows water staining on the interior, coincidentally the area of the Golden Step Room leak is in direct line with the curious corner detail as shown above. Historic images indicate that this leak has been present since the 1920s–though not to the extent it is today. In the office we joke that this is now a ‘historic leak’ and should be preserved, but we all know that the goal of the roofing and masonry work is to stop the leak.
The masonry team begins work at the Gothic Chimney. The repairs included repointing at the top corbelling and spot repointing at the base of the chimney as well as reparging at the decorative band and Gothic panels. The team then started work on the flashing details.
It is probable that the flashing at the Gothic Chimney was the cause for most of the leaks. The lead has been installed very low and it is possible that water was easily able to slip into cracks at the flashing joints. The masonry crew decided to raise up the new lead flashing by two to three brick courses while leaving the existing lead in place. Once the roof is replaced, this application would ultimately provide triple coverage. Although this is considered a detail change, the existing lead is still under the new flashing and the detail is completely reversible.
We are very happy to report that the interior has remained completely dry since the repairs!