St. Rose of Lima Church Steps
Council: 320 - JAY
The granite steps leading into the main entrance at the back of St Rose Church have been deteriorating over the past several years. Although the granite steps themselves were in great shape they had moved and shifted to the point that they were becoming unsafe. They were out of level and some of them were loose. Most of the grout meant to keep the water out was in very poor condition. Several years ago, attempts were made to help preserve and prolong the life of these steps, but the time had come for a major rebuild. Contractors were invited to submit bids for the repair which came in at $60,000 to $70,000. This would be a major expense for the church. After getting the proposals from the contractors and their alternate methods of repair a few men of the parish started looking at the project with the idea that it could possibly be done with volunteer help from the parish. Some of them got together in the fall of 2021 and with the help of a local excavating contractor removed the granite stair treads at the street side stairs revealing the deteriorated concrete underneath. From what they saw they knew that they could complete the project using volunteers from the parish community. The group of men assembled had a diverse background in construction, mechanical and engineering. A plan was put together to remove the granite steps to reveal the condition of the structure underneath. In May of 2022 a gantry beam mounted to two a-frames on wheels was borrowed from a local mechanical services company. It was set up over the stairs and using a manual chain fall all of the granite stair treads were removed exposing the deteriorated concrete tread supports underneath. Using chipping hammers, the concrete supports were demoed down to good concrete, then forms were made to pour new concrete to build up the concrete stair stringers back to their original shape. After the concrete had cured the process of placing the granite steps back into position started. The steps had been marked for location when they were being removed and were put back into the same locations. They were hard shimmed in place as they were installed. Once they were all reinstalled some of the handrails had to be rewelded in position. This was the only portion of the project which was contracted out because portable welding equipment was required. This entrance of the church was blocked off for less than 3 weeks. The stairs were then left to settle in to make sure no issues arose. After a couple of months of settling time synthetic rope caulking and grout was added to the joints. The cost of materials to complete the project came in at less than $2,400. The stairs look great and Fr. Paul was extremely pleased with the outcome and the savings for the parish.