Saint-Nicolas-en-Harvé in Mons

Heritage renovations protected from the elements with DuPont Tyvek

  • 24 May 2016

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Dupont Tyvek has played an important role in the restoration of two churches in Belgium. The advanced breather membrane has been installed under traditional slate roofs at the Church of Saint-Martin in Arlon and Saint-Nicolas-en-Harvé in Mons, in order to protect the renovated structures from the elements.

The project was carried out by Beatrix-based Golinvaux. The company specialises in the restoration of roofs, towers and steeples, particularly for historical monuments such as cathedrals and castles.

Church of St. Martin

Originally built between 1907 and 1914, the Church of St. Martin in Arlon stands at an impressive 97 metres tall. It is considered one of the finest examples of neo-Gothic architecture in Belgium.

In the past few years, the church has undergone substantial restoration to its original masonry, stained glass, sculpture and artworks, in addition to repairs and refits to newer additions such as electricity and joinery. To date, one third of its roof has been completed, with 1,180m2 of Dupont Tyvek installed.

Saint-Nicolas-en-Harvé

The original Saint-Nicolas-en-Harvé Church in Mons was constructed in the 15th century, although the parish has existed since the 11th century. The church was destroyed by a fire in the 17th century before being rebuilt in 1664. The tower of the present church, however, remains a relic from that original structure.

Saint-Nicolas-en-Harvé in MonsThe present church features a typically baroque façade and a classic interior renowned for its rich Baroque-style woodwork. After it was determined that the church’s roof was nearing the end of its life, Golinvaux replaced it using Tyvek as a rainscreen.

Pierre Raeven, Golinvaux site manager, commented: “The true advantage of Tyvek is that we can remove the old external roof covering and directly fit the protective underlay in just one day – and then not have to touch it again for the entire duration of the construction work. If no such underlay has been specified, we have to cover and uncover the open roof with a tarpaulin every day – and that takes a lot of manpower. 

Plus, a tarpaulin is neither solid nor tight and offers little protection from the wind. Tyvek allows us to work in optimal conditions. What’s more Tyvek is a workhorse – and when compared to the cost of water damage, very affordable. Architects are sometimes apprehensive about using it but there is zero risk of condensation – in fact, it’s a fully breathable material.”

For the project at hand, Golinvaux used an umbrella scaffolding and laid the structure over the entire 600m2 surface. By using the Tyvek membrane as a rainscreen, the roof frame was completely protected from the elements during the works.

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