Timber and Damp Survey at Canterbury City Council
Background To Case Study
Timberwise were recently instructed by Canterbury City Council to provide a timber and damp survey for the historic Westgate Towers, an iconic medieval landmark ascending above the beautiful town of Canterbury. Built in 1380 Westgate Towers is England’s largest surviving Medieval Gateway. The Towers is a scheduled ancient monument and Grade I listed building, where tourists and history enthusiasts can explore its rich history and take in the spectacular views of the city from the battlements viewpoint.
Our instructions were to inspect the timbers within the property for wood rot and infestation by wood-boring insect. From our inspection, our surveyors found a number of types of infestation, including:
- Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium punctatum)
- Wood Boring Weevil (Euophryum confine)
- Wet Rot Fungus (Fibroporia vaillantii)
- Death Watch Beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)
Upon arrival, we carried out a timber inspection to the large spanning lintel to the port cullis within the Guard Chamber and the upper floor timbers within the North Tower. From our inspection, our surveyor noted there was considerable evidence of moisture ingress, as well as surface signs of decay and mycelium.
The inspection revealed an old and inactive infestation with re-infestations of wood borer activity; flight holes of recent origin were also observed denoting larval activity.
The right-hand window lintel had decayed to a structurally unsound condition and would require replacement. The direct cause of the fungal decay was due to timbers been built directly into the masonry with no protection against moisture absorption. We advised that all new timbers must be isolated from the masonry with a suitable membrane.
To eradicate the fungal decay and mycelium we recommended the application of a dual purpose insecticide/fungicide surface coarse spray; this would enable the fluid to penetrate the areas that cannot be accessible by brush. In addition, this fluid would have no effect on the external colouration or blooming, therefore leaving the timber in its original state. This treatment is also to be complemented with the injection of fungicidal paste to the ends of the lintel that were in contact with the masonry. The slow acting rods will give deep rooted treatment and prevent further decay.
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