Why are some church buildings beautifully maintained and others appear to be badly neglected?
Sometimes it is due to the financial support of the church and resources available. However, often it is due to simple and cost-effective maintenance routines not being carried out and resulting in damage to the property and major repair costs.
Church Growth Trust (CGT) have produced a new briefing paper that aims to set out some basic tips on regular and cost-effective maintenance to help churches keep their buildings in good order and reduce the liability for major repairs where possible. Each section deals with different parts of a building. There are photographs and diagrams to help identify parts of the structure, and useful checklists to help you keep on top of your building maintenance and save you major expense in the future. A few of these maintenance tips are shared in this article.
If your building has a timber rafter or truss roof, you should try to inspect the roof area each year. The aim is to make sure there is no sign of rot, woodworm or other wood-boring insects. The ridge board, the wall plate and the base of the rafters can be vulnerable and become weak. This can happen if water gets in.
Ventilation to the roof spaces is also vital to prevent dampness or conditions where wet and dry rot can develop. Sometimes ventilation is provided through the ridge of the roof, but more often it is provided through the eaves, by the bottom of the rafters being open (ideally protected by mesh to stop birds nesting) or ventilation grids in the soffit boards. If there is no felt under the tiles/slates, the gaps between the slates/tiles can be enough to prevent damp.
Keep roof verges properly pointed as this ties in the slates/tiles, preventing water getting into the edge of roof and wall below. It will also reduce risk of the slate/tiles being lifted in high winds.