Sunday, May 13, 2012

Classical rot managment in Decatur. Where does the water want to go?

They're fixing a little rot at Decatur's First Baptist Church and it made me pay attention.

The rot is way up there, the rot we can see.

It's hard to miss First Baptist. It's a big Gibbs style church on a suburban-sized parcel on the north edge of downtown Decatur Georgia. It's big right down to its super chunky quoins and dentils

Everybody "knows" that Ivey & Crook, Architects designed the current building.

I consulted Lewis Edmund Crook, Jr., Architect, 1898-1967: A Twentieth-Century Traditionalist in the Deep South by William R. Mitchell Jr to learn more. It says, ""Job 513 First Baptist Church Alterations 1948." Alternations? Must investigate.

I drive by twice a week but it's become so familiar I don't pay much attention.



This corner's not looking too hot.

I used Photoshop to give us X-Ray vision.

This is so complex. Where will the water go?.

What about those black corners? All 4 corners of the tower are black. The tower is the bottom section of the steeple.The level above is the belfry, see Steeple Anatomy.

Now that I'm paying attention to brick, I notice the Flemish bond alternating with 5 rows of stretcher bond. Is that the right terminology?

I'm sorry about the rot but happy it made me pay attention.


  1. They're missing both step and counter flashing where the roof meets the quoin on the front corner, that could be one source of water. Also, it appears that the gable end rake mouldings may extend out past the roofing in places? All of the new paint and putty isn't going to do much long term if they don't solve the water issues. Most interesting to me is the pipe-in-the-soffit. It may be right below the vent stack that exits through the roof but if so, why not just extend straight up from the wall, why elbow out into the soffit and up? If someone thought it prudent to plan for the eventual failure of the pipe flashing and figured water in the soffit was a better idea than water finding its way down inside the exterior wall, I'd be both shocked and impressed. Maybe there were built in gutters at one point?

  2. So many ways to go wrong between design, construction and repair.


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