Do

  • Research the history of alterations and additions to your church.
  • Employ an architect who understands historic structures — modern building techniques and methods do not work in old buildings.
  • Check and clean gutters regularly. If they need to be replaced use good quality cast iron or cast aluminium.
  • Surround the building with a porous surface such as gravel or cobblestones so that water can be re-absorbed into the ground.
  • Use traditional lime renders and washes rather than leaving external stone undressed. It will waterproof the building while allowing it to breathe.
  • Remember that if structural elements have to be replaced, or the building has to undergo major repairs, care must be taken not to weaken the structure by removing too much material at once. Take a step at a time and replace as you go.
  • If required do use protective wiremesh guards on windows, either stainless steel or anodised aluminium, set back close to the glazing line and not carried across stone tracery or details.
  • Take advice from a conservation architect about disabled access, lightning protection and lighting of the building.

Don't

  • Strip render from stonework and leave it exposed to the elements.
  • Cover undressed stone or brick with proprietary hardeners or mastic. It prevents the building from breathing and gives the exterior a plastic-looking sheen.
  • Use modern materials with the possible exception of cast aluminium gutters and contemporary slate for roofs.
  • Use unpainted modern aluminium rainwater goods.
  • Use cement for pointing stonework.
  • Lay tarmac or a hard surface close to the wall of your church. It prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground, directing it into the building instead, and prevents evaporation of the water trapped beneath.
  • Fit uPVC windows. They are aesthetically unattractive and don't allow old buildings to breathe which causes harmful condensation to collect inside the church.

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