The Tenacity of Termites: It’s Downright Religious!

Posted by Chuck Lysaght on Mon, 08/12/2013 - 22:30

We recently worked on a church sanctuary in Arkansas with severe termite damage in six of the laminated wood arches. Surprisingly, even though the arches were about 10 feet above the finished floor, the termites had found a way to reach them. They had worked their way up beside window mullions along caulk joints and into the arches – probably for a number of years before they were discovered. The church was closed until repairs could be made. Glue-Lam Erectors, a company in Indianapolis that specializes in the repair of laminated wood structures, was called in and they hired us to do the structural engineering.

After a site meeting to determine the extent of the damage, we did the structural analysis and design of the repairs. The attached drawings (in PDF) show the framing plan of the church, a section through the sanctuary that shows the temporary shoring required and steel plates needed to restore the original strength.

This is obviously not a pretty fix and additional wood cladding will be added after repairs are complete to hide the steel and bolts. Following repairs, the arches will meet current building code requirements for snow, wind and earthquake loads. They will provide many years of additional service provided the termites are kept at bay.