Falling brick from exterior columns and arches forced St. Anastasia Church in Waukegan, Illinois to erect wood awnings over doorways, snow fencing around the entire building and a most unusual precaution to church visitors: "Danger, Keep Out" signs. The same water problems that caused the outside bricks to crack and pop off also caused an ugly efflorescence on the inside masonry above the altar. The proposed repair called for removing all the brick from the arches and reconstructing them out of concrete.
MAKING THE REPAIRS
Removing the deteriorated masonry with air hammers left behind a column of mortar. To reinforce the new concrete facing that would be placed around it, a rebar cage was assembled around the mortar columns. Reusable wood forms, custom-made and designed on the job, were then set around the rebar cage. Metal extension chutes were made by the contractor so concrete from the bucket could reach the column forms through the maze of scaffolding. The 3/4-inch thick wood forms for the bottoms of the arches were made by bending the wood after cutting kerfs in it every 3/4 inch. The curved form was then sandwiched between the side forms of the arch, resting it on a semicircle of wood slats nailed to the inside face of each side form. The bottom form was stripped after the side forms using a turnbuckle between the ends of the bottom form.
After the masonry was removed from each side tower, gaps were left between the wood soffit and the mortar cores of the arches. To obtain access to place the concrete for the new facing that would fill these gaps, slots had to be cut in the wood roof above.