Waterproofing at St Michaels College

From speaking across our fabulous team of surveyors, you will realise there’s more to being a surveyor than finding problems with properties. Our surveyors uncover a range of fascinating buildings on a daily basis each with their own structural issues which require specific specialist attention.  Most recently our team of specialists in Leeds had been instructed to carry out a timber and damp survey to a very large brick-built former School building, known as St Michaels.

The History

What makes this case study particularly interesting is the depth of history and unusual tales surrounding this school which still remain a common topic amongst the people of Woodhouse, Leeds today. Astonished by the history of this school and the tales that follow it, we feel a brief background into the story of St Michaels is in order. Formerly acquired as St Johns Lodge, the school was opened in 1905 by two young Jesuit priests who were invited to the city by William Gordon, the Catholic Bishop of Leeds at the time. Following various news articles and archives, a common rumor told by former pupils of St Michaels surrounds the mysterious death of one of the pupils at the school. The school featured a boxing ring, which is where the incident is supposed to have occurred. As with all school stories, the element of truth is always in question, nevertheless the boxing room has since re-opened, which has once again opened the door to the mystery room that still features the four corner posts of an old boxing ring. On the 26th of May 2008, the historical building became subject to a monumental fire, destroying the fabric and structure of the school. Following the closure of the school, the building became a common place for the homeless to find shelter.

Fire St MichaelsSt Michaels


Our Findings

From our survey, our North East Surveyor, Martin Wilkinson found the large brick-built former school building currently undergoing demolition and renovation works. The property was surmounted with a blue slate roof, there additions to the rear with flat roofs, which we understood were to be demolished. During our external inspection we noted that the roof was suffering from defects – missing slates, lead work, defective gutters and rainwater pipes, all key indications of a penetrating damp problem.

Dry Rot TimberwiseMartin visited the site to carry out an inspection regarding dampness to ground floor and basement walls. A cursory inspection to the exposed roof timbers revealed signs of damp and decay affecting the roof timbers, truss bearing ends, common rafters and associated wall plates. Unfortunately, access to the roof area was restricted due to the presence of bats, and further general inspection was not possible due to access limitations and under drawings to the main roofing timbers.
Following a thorough inspection to the ground, first and second floors it became apparent that a dry rot outbreak had progressed extensively through the entire building.


Much of the plasterwork remained intact at ground floor, some of this being ornate over arched window details, however, it was important to consider that behind this plasterwork the dry rot growth existed and a remedial treatment would have to be implemented.

Martin Wilkinson, Surveyor

Our Solution

Following our detailed findings, it was agreed that Timberwise would provide a suitable structural waterproofing system.  In this particular case, we installed a Type C structural waterproofing system, working in conjunction with an external GEO Membrane designed to act as a first line of defence against internal water ingress.  Prior to the installation of the internal membrane and associated drainage channel, we treated the concrete wall using Microseal.  Microseal is designed to seal the walls to reduce the risk of free limes entering the proposed waterproofing system, which could ultimately clog up the cavity drain membrane and associated perimeter drainage channel.

On SiteWaterproofing

Waterproofing from the specialists

Timberwise are experts in waterproofing and have a variety of solutions to rectify any possible water ingress related problems.

For more information on waterproofing from Timberwise call 0800 288 8660 or request a  survey by completing our survey request form.



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