Saint Ann Church, Gloucester


Assess the condition of the building envelope; including masonry, roofing and fenestrations of the tower and front façade of St. Ann Church located in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  There were cases of water infiltration which was damaging the interior as well as stone masonry concerns. 


St. Ann Church is a gothic style structure built around 1876.  It is a granite stone masonry structure with gothic style stone ornamental features and steep-sloping slate roofing.  The bell tower is stone masonry up to the elevation of the main roof ridge and topped with a steel framed spire that is clad with standing seam stainless steel.  The fenestrations include exterior wood cathedral door openings, stain glass cathedral and circular windows, which are covered with aluminum storm window panels. 

The steel frame which secures the stainless panels of the spire tower has corroded which has caused some of the panels to bow and gaps to form in the seams.  The EPDM roofing system above the bell tower has numerous deficiencies; loose membrane patches on the roof surface, cuts and splits in the flashing around the perimeter of the spire, voids in lap joints and deteriorated sealants.  The insulation felt soft under foot indicating that water is getting under the membrane from the noted deficiencies causing the fiberboard to deteriorate.  There are also holes and unsealed penetrations through the side wall of the base of the spire.  The steel on the spire is not galvanized and the paint is failing.  As a result, the water infiltration through the spire cladding and the bell tower roof have caused severe corrosion at portions of the frame.

The granite stone blocks are all in good condition but there are numerous areas on the tower elevations where the mortar joints have deteriorated and eroded.  These conditions also result in efflorescence staining, and salt and calcite deposits.  Where the mortar is not allowed to dry, organic growth is evident within the joint.    

On the spire, there are missing fasteners in the dividers which attach the inner and outer strips which hold the glazing panels in place.  The sealant at the perimeter of the glazing has failed and has lost its adhesion. 

The sealants at all the windows are aged, weathered, deteriorated and experiencing the same adhesive and cohesive failures.

The interior conditions are reflective of the deficiencies observed at the exterior; interior plaster finishes are noticeably damaged due to the moisture infiltration

CBI provided a report with our findings and repair recommendations with cost estimates.  The Church decided to move forward with our recommendations and the repairs include:

  • Rebuilding the right front east elevation buttress
  • Remove / replace existing roofing and waterproofing at the bell tower roof and floor
  • Remove the copper panning below the bell tower
  • Re-point all the stone masonry on the bell tower & a portion on the remaining elevations
  • Remove / replace sealant at all windows, doors, and louvers at tower
  • Remove / replace stainless steel cladding on spire and re-paint steel structure
  • Remove, clean, re-seat, and re-seal existing storm windows on the tower and the front elevation
  • Restore stain glass wood windows on the tower and the front elevation
  • New storm window at the large circular rose window on the front elevation
  • Wood restoration above the cathedral entry door