by Jennifer Rieger, Historic Site Co-ordinator
The portico work is moving to its end. The foundations have been rebuilt and parged and the work of setting the treads back in has begun. When the portico began to shift the mortar between the steps cracked and the steps also shifted. The task now is to realign the steps with a smaller space between them. This has resulted in the steps becoming more tightly placed in relation to the foundation. A lip of the foundation now extends beyond the bottom step. As this is below grade it is not a problem as it will be covered with gravel; however, we do need to be careful to restrict any moisture from getting into the foundation structure while still allowing any moisture that does to escape. While attaching a flashing to the base of the bottom step and the overhang is one solution, we have decided to parge the area. The parging material is made of lime and cement (similar to the lime mortar we used on the chimneys) and will be placed so it slopes away from the steps. This material will be breathable so any moisture that enters can escape.