Gerlev Church

2016 | Hornsherred, North Zealand, Denmark

Project: Restoration and refurbishment
Client: Gerlev Church’s Parochial Church Council (PCC)
Area: 382 sqm
Cost: 1.2 million DKK.
Status: Completed
Architect: ELGAARD Architecture A/S
Type: Restoration
Service: Full Service Consultancy

Gerlev Church needed limewashing externally as well as internally. The exterior suffered from wear and tear from wind and rough weather causing flaking and worn down surfaces. The interior’s limewashed walls and vaults appeared with severely blackened and grimy surfaces with numerous dark discolorations.

The church’s vault appeared having a series of minor crack formations, which were restored by a mason after guidelines by the National Museum. Due to cold bridging, the vaults were particularly discoloured and the limewashed sample areas within the sacristy, proved that a preliminary limewashing with a mixture of sand and lime milk was necessary.

By using very fine 0,001mm sand, a less rustic surface is obtained  – a surface very close to the appearance of a surface that have been exclusively limewashed using lime milk. A previously exposed fresco in the chancel arch was carefully cleaned by the National Museum of Denmark.

Initially, it was confirmed that the dust within the church had large concentrations of mould. Ascending soil moisture and the high autumn temperatures caused a relative humidity of 75-85% within the church. The problem was intensified by the old valve channels in the external church walls had been closed off in modern times – apparently due to issues with draft and cold. An indoor climate investigation has been put into process to determine possible future steps in preparation for regulating the indoor climate.

Incidents of mould showed up on all surfaces, but luckily not inside the materials. However, the organ was dismantled and all parts, which could be send off to the organ builder’s workshop, have been removed and cleaned.

Conservators have partly taken down and cleaned the historical inventory, such as the altarpiece, pulpit and abat-voix by instructions of the National Museum, and all non-historical surfaces have been carefully cleaned.

Furthermore, the brick flooring of the church has been restored and repointed using a fine sand containing a high level of clay making it possible to vacuum clean. Certain painted surfaces were repainted.

The pews were retouched by a skilled painter leaving them as newly painted. The electrician has made a simple, but functional lifting device for the chandeliers in the attic, making it possible to change the light bulbs without the use of a ladder, and a new modern audio system has been installed. New as well as existing routing and electrical installations are now located underneath flooring and behind inventory.

On the tower, the lime was mainly flaking on the joints as they are executed in a cement bearing mortar, on which lime cannot bond.  As a result, there will be a call for frequent future lime washings. The tiled roof, gutters and the downpipes have been inspected and cleaned.  Broken roof tiles have been replaced: internally, the clay bricks have been torched partially.

Gerlev Church now stands freshly limewashed and beautifully restored in the small village of Gerlev in Hornsherred near the town of Jægerspris.


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