October 23, 2008

Work Underway to Repair Courthouse Roof Leaks

Faced with surging roof leaks and an engineering estimate of more than half a million dollars to upgrade the dome of the Scotland County Courthouse, workers made temporary repairs to the facility last week.

Craig Plumbing and Heating performed the work on the facility last week, braving the heights of the third story work area with the aid of a mechanical lift.

The project saw the seams of the dome and adjoining roof area taped prior to being coated with elastomeric paint. The special coating is up to 500% elastic, helping it avoid cracking caused by the typical contractions and expansions of metal roofs. The surface filled existing cracks and tears to help eliminate some of the leak issues.

The contractors also installed ¼ inch Lexan sheeting over the 18 windows on the dome. The clear protective covering will weatherize the openings, while maintaining the basic appearance. Lexan also provided UV protection that extends the life of the existing windows.

Additional weatherizing was done around the windows, which were found to be one of the main culprits for the leaks.

The troubles with the dome had caused water damage in the courtroom, where ceiling tiles as well as the carpet were damaged, likely necessitating replacement. Other leak problems were experienced in the circuit clerk’s office.

The estimated cost of the repairs was less than $20,000, with approximately 1/3 of the cost for materials, 1/3 for the lift rental and 1/3 for labor.

While the project was described as temporary repairs, the county indicated the life expectancy of the materials used mean the work could preserve the upgrade for more than 10 years if necessary.

A complete overhaul of the courthouse roof likely would require a temporary capital improvement’s tax levy subject to a vote of the people. The county is also reviewing the availability of historical preservation grants or other funding to help preserve the county seat.

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