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Project: Complete Exterior Restoration of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Richmond Virginia

Dates of Construction: 2006 - 2008



Project Description:


Restoration of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart began with a 3 year, 9 phase exterior restoration of the historic limestone. This included vast repointing work, limestone patching and repair using specially designed Restoration Mortar. Huge limestone keystones centered above the precious rose windows and doorways had slipped from their original positions at the arch peaks and required reseting and stabilization. 


Prior to any masonry repair, the stone had to be cleaned using a micro-abrasive (JOS) cleaning system. This system was particularly effective in cleaning the intricate decorative capitals atop the cathedrals front columns. 


In the enclosed courtyard area, a subterranean masonry waterproofing system was applied to the foundation crypt wall to eliminate a substantial water infiltration problem that had been allowing the sacred crypt to flood for years. A mini excavator was craned into the courtyard and the exterior crypt wall was surgically exposed, cleaned and coated.  Johann Rudroff, a technical director of Keim Mineral Coatings, traveled to Richmond from Germany to assist WCI with the process of testing and consulting with this historic material and process. This type of hands on consulting is often crucial to the success of a project and WCI was proud to have Johann as part of our team.


All of the stained glass windows and frames were fully restored and a Low-E protective glass covering was installed on each window. The Low-E glass was set into the window to provide protection while preserving the aesthetic appeal of the windows.  


The historic 30 foot brick chimney was stitched using stainless steel rods and fully repointed to re-establish stability. The chimney, which had not been active in decades was put back into use by means of installing a new pipe for exhaust from a newly installed boiler system.  This allowed the Cathedral to tackle a major heating problem and bring an antiquated system up to code, while preserving the historic and aesthetic appeal of the historic church. 


All of the copper gutters,roofing and flashing were refurbished or replaced including downspouts and scuppers. 


This also included extensive scaffolding and site protection along with protection of public access ways. 


After a successful completion of the first nine phases, Waters Craftsmen was invited back to the Cathedral to tackle the interior renovation and restoration. This project involved a completely new HVAC and electrical/lighting system, extensive repairs to interior plaster and paint, replacement of broken marble pavers at the entrance and tiny pieces of deteriorated historic Guastavino tile located in the Cathedral’s narthex.


The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart subsequently received the 2009 Virginia Preservation Award and the project won The Community Award for the APVA of Preservation Virginia.  



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