Steamatic Restores Catholic School Chapel After an Arson Attack

Steamatic Restores Catholic School Chapel After an Arson Attack

In November 2018, an unfortunate arson attack engulfed a catholic school chapel, resulting in extensive soot damage to the altar. While firefighting efforts contained the flames and minimised thermal damage, the aftermath demanded precise restoration. Entrusted with this delicate task, Steamatic diligently undertook the work, meticulously restoring the chapel to its former splendor.

The Challenge:

The structural integrity of the chapel bore the brunt of the incident, manifesting in widespread soot damage. Notably, the marble altar, font, and sculptures, as well as intricately detailed features like the painted statues and the 14 three-dimensional stations of the cross, suffered significant contamination. Additionally, the 1923 grand piano and original pipe organ were not spared from the effects of the soot.

The biggest challenge was the sheer size of the affected area and limited access into the space.

Solution Provided: 

To overcome limited access, portable scaffolding reaching a height of 9 meters was strategically erected for ceiling and wall restoration. Fixed scaffolding became essential for secure access to the elevated areas above the second-floor gallery and within the dome of the Apse, facilitating meticulous wet washing by our skilled technicians in preparation for the final painting phase.

Encountering unique challenges with the stations of the cross and statues, our initial attempt using latex and peeling proved ineffective in preliminary tests. Precision Laser Cleaning emerged as the optimal solution, exceeding expectations in restoring these artifacts. The laser cleaning process unveiled long-forgotten colours within the painted plasterwork, transforming each station into a vibrant scene with enhanced three-dimensional depth.

The grand piano turned out to be a 1923 Bechstein Grand piano requiring external specialist attention. This was outsourced to a specialist recommended by the local Bechstein agent.

The pipe organ work was also outsourced to, what to turned out to be, the original company who installed the actual organ.

Regrettably, a number of pews proved non-restorable, and the chapel’s floor covering, predominantly carpet, met a similar fate.


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