Historic Church Restoration

  • May 16th, 2012


    The Episcopal Church of the Nativity

    Beginning in March of 2008, Noblin & Associates performed a Building Condition Survey for the Church Of The Nativity in Huntsville, Alabama.  Based on the results of this survey, Noblin was engaged to design and administer a comprehensive restoration program for the building which included masonry restoration, reroofing, interior plaster restoration and stained glass window restoration.  Window restoration was initiated prior to Noblin’s involvement, but was incorporated into the overall restoration project.

    The Church Of The Nativity was designed by Ecclesiological architect Frank Wills, and was completed in 1859.  The church has been called one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the region.  The church was accepted as a national historic landmark in 1992, and all work needed to meet the requirements of the applicable historic commissions, including the National Parks Service.

    Over its history the building has experienced a number of issues including wind damage to the 150 foot steeple in 1956, distress of the masonry portion of the steeple which required emergency repairs in the 1950’s and 1980’s, improper repointing of the exterior masonry walls, water infiltration from the roof and insect infestation in the wooden building structures.  These conditions needed to be properly considered as part of the restoration design process.

    A comprehensive restoration program was developed after a thorough survey of the existing conditions of the building.  Work began in 2009 and progressed in several phases until completed in 2011. The work included repointing and masonry restoration with a lime based mortar, appropriate for a historic masonry structure of this age.

    The replacement roof system consisted of a combination of copper Rauten shingles and standing seam panels.  The style of the original roof systems on the building could not be determined from the available documentation.  Therefore, the Rauten shingle/panel system was selected due to its historic appropriateness and the fact that comparable historic buildings in the Huntsville area have similar roof systems. The final phase of the work included replastering of the church interior and repair of deteriorated interior woodwork.