From Realtà Mapei n° 32 - 2/24/2021
Overview: St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church is a magnificent Gothic-style church constructed in 1863. It was built to satisfy the needs of a small but ever-expanding congregation in Dundas, Ontario, after a spectacular fire destroyed the church of 1827. To protect the structural integrity of the flooring, MAPEI products were used to waterproof the front foyer and provide crack isolation throughout the church.
If St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church in Dundas, Ontario, has a story to tell, it’s one of staying power. St. Augustine’s Parish is the first parish of the Diocese of Hamilton, established in Dundas, Ontario in 1827. According to parish records, Dundas had a population of 500 – with about that same number in the rural parts of the parish. Life was difficult for those 1,000 souls. The record shows almost as many burials as baptisms and marriages combined.
Fire was always a threat. In fact, the church burned down in 1863. It was rebuilt in the Gothic style using wooden planks and financed through “pew rent” and community donations.
Since the rebuilding, the church has had its parishioners trod over its floors through two World Wars and the Great Depression. It has hosted more than 150 years of funerals, wedding processions, midnight masses and weekly Sunday services.
Even through many years and much activity, the church’s wooden joists and floor support were still holding up well. But the floor covering was becoming a concern, so MAPEI was invited to step in.
The original church floor was made of stark wooden planks and later covered with vinyl composite tile, and then again with a linoleum overlay.
“The flooring needed to be replaced due to indentations and damage, especially in the center aisle and in between the pews due to heavy foot traffic,” MAPEI coordinator Gino D’Alesio said. “The diocese also wanted to update the look of the floors.”
The restoration work required removing the two layers of the previous flooring, going down to the original subfloor. Then the 11,500 sq. ft. (1 068 m²) of surface needed preparation to properly receive tile according to modern industry standards. The challenge was removing the flooring without disturbing the structural integrity.
MAPEI products on the jobsite
“Waterproofing was used in the front foyer to safeguard and preserve the structural integrity of the construction,” D’Alesio said.
Mapeguard UM underlayment membrane was applied atop the new plywood laid down throughout the church. That’s because, unlike a rigid cement board, Mapeguard UM uncouples tile from the substrate below, minimizing cracking and de-bonding. The unique engineered tri-layered design of Mapeguard UM absorbs lateral stress from the substrate without transferring this force to the tile or stone, which maintains exceptional bonds.
While Mapeguard UM does provide waterproofing, the heavy traffic endured by the church’s front foyer inevitably results in significant pooling from worshippers’ boots tracking in snow and slush in wintertime. With this in mind, Mapelastic AquaDefense premium waterproofing and crack-isolation membrane was applied over the Mapeguard UM underlayment seams, to provide extra protection to the original structure from water seepage.
Next, the large-format tile was installed with Ultraflex LFT White premium, large-and-heavy-tile mortar with polymer, specially formulated to deliver the best results for large-format tile for floors. Ultracolor Plus FA rapid-setting grout was selected for its stain-resistance properties, to ease the maintenance of the large area.
The innovation behind MAPEI’s Waterproofing Systems – and Tile & Stone Installation Systems – helped restore this beautiful Gothic- style building, so that St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church might extend its legacy for decades to come.