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Associations & Publications

Upshur County Courthouse Restoration

Source: The Cathedral Stone Newsletter - April 2008, Volume 4, Issue 1

Built in 1899, The Upshur County Courthouse, is an impressive brick and stone structure, with four sandstone columns and pilasters that stand 30 feet tall from plinth base to their cast iron capitals.  Both monumental and charming, the courthouse provides the city of Buckhannon, West Virginia with a sense of dignity, pride, and presence.

In 2006, the Upshur County Commission wanted to repaint the stonework at the portico on the courthouse.  Chapman Technical Group, architects for the project, discovered in a previous effort to protect the stonework, the portico area columns, railings and plinths were coated with a cementitious parging, and painted with a waterproofing used for pool liners. However, waterinfiltrated the system and could not get out.  The water was trapped in the sandstone through freeze-thaw cycles and hot days, which essentially caused the deterioration of the stone below.  The deteriorated stone pulled away, creating larger cracks and exacerbating the problem until sections of the parging began to fall from the columns. Unfortunately, the bond strength of the parging was greater than the material strength of the sandstone, and in many areas the parging ripped good stone away as it went.

Once informed of the seriousness of the problem, the Commission approved removal of the existing parging, uncovering previously unknown repair attempts.  Repairs reinforced with iron nails had rusted and failed, but very large chunks of non-shrink grout repairs remained.  These repairs were near the base on two separate columns, and spanned as much as 42” wide, 20” high and 10” deep.  A careful investigation of the columns was performed by the Chapman Technical Group team, which included CAS Structural Engineering and Historic Preservation Consultant, Bill Kostellic.  Cathedral Stone Products was recommended as a respected source of information and products to repair and restore the stone.  A plan was developed, and in 2007 historic preservation contractor, Keystone Waterproofing, Inc., of Greensburg, PA was added to the team to perform the work.

Download the entire article from the newsletter. (PDF 1.3MB)


Sealant Waterproofing & Restoration Institute
Partners for Sacred Places
Scaffold Industry Association
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.
The Association for Preservation Technology International
Pennsylvania Heritage Society