In June, workmen from Belfor, an international property restoration company, came to Shrink Wrap the roof of the smokehouse/stone kitchen, replacing the deteriorating blue tarp which had been covering the roofs of these buildings. Shrink Wrap, a technique perfected by Belfor, uses a polyethylene film to form a tight membrane over the protected structure. After the roof was wrapped, heat was applied to shrink the cover to fit the contours of the roof surface. We are indebted to Curtis Ruppert of Belfor for this important contribution to the stabilization of the smokehouse/stone kitchen as we work with architect Kevin Lee Sarring to design an appropriate restoration plan for both buildings.
Archeological exploration around the foundations of both the smokehouse and the stone kitchen by Dr. Chuck Hulse of Shepherd University was pictured in the April issue of The Rising Sun. It revealed that the 18th Century smokehouse has an adequate stone foundation. However, the walls of the 19th Century stone kitchen are not supported by a foundation. They were built directly into the ground. This has led to significant cracking and settling, particularly of the southeast corner and the east wall.
After the archaeological work was completed, the ground around both buildings was properly graded and finished. Over the years, the ground level around the smokehouse had been gradually built up by additional layers of soil. This allowed moisture to penetrate the base of the brick walls, causing “rising damp” which was leading to serious deterioration of the bricks. The grade around the smokehouse has now been restored to its original level around the stone foundation so that the soil is no longer in contact with the brick. Thanks to board member Bill Senseney and neighbor and City Council member Chet Hines for seeding and mulching the graded soil which is now a lush lawn.