May 14, 2010


Restoration of the parish church of Santa María Valtierra

Mr. José Luis Astiz Díaz. Architect

The Parish Church of Santa María de Valtierra was in a rather poor state of conservation. The most alarming damages were observed in the tower-belfry and the facades, whose brickwork was cracked, eroded and in some areas at risk of detachment. The construction in the last century of the volume that housed the clock, located between the tower and the pediment of the main facade, had caused the breakage of the cornice on which it was located, in addition to distorting the original image of the building.

The roof of the nave, made of Arabic tile, was quite deteriorated, especially in the area of the chancel with numerous broken and displaced tiles that caused the entrance of water to the interior of the undercroft and from this to the interior of the temple. The absence of finishing touches in the joints of the skirts and between these and the walls of the tower, also caused the entrance of water in these points. The existence in the tower of several stork nests accelerated the deterioration of the cornices and the zinc spire that tops it.

The structure of the roof of the nave, made of oak wood, was in a fairly acceptable condition, except in those areas described in the previous section where the entrance water had damaged it. On the other hand, the oak wood plank was so deteriorated that its recovery was impossible.

Inside the church, the main problem was the presence of humidity. On the one hand, those coming from the incorrect waterproofing of the roof, which affected the vaults of the church, and on the other hand, those rising from the ground by capillarity, which affected both the wooden floor and the start of the walls. The existence of a marble plinth prevented the transpiration of the walls and enhanced the rise of humidity through them. The wooden flooring was also affected by the humidity coming from the ground.

The two sacristies had similar problems to those described in the nave, deficient waterproofing in roofs and joints, correct state of the structure and presence of infiltration dampness from the roof in vaults and capillarity in walls. position The restoration work on the church, carried out in 2008-2009, was carried out by the architects José Astiz Díaz, Roberto García Valentín and Jesús Goñi, and by building engineer Ángel Remacha Ruiz.

The brickwork is restored, recomposing the decorative elements, cornices, etc., using materials similar to the existing ones. The walls are cleaned and the existing cracks are consolidated. Due to its state of deterioration, the spire was completely replaced. The existing openings were closed with steel mesh to prevent birds from entering. A system was installed to keep birds away. The bells were overhauled. A new forging is executed at the level of the bells, modifying the accesses from this level to the interior of the spire.
It basically consists of the cleaning of the brick walls and the consolidation of existing cracks and fissures, always using lime mortar. The existing holes are closed with steel mesh to prevent the passage of birds into the interior. The humi-stop system is installed to balance the electromagnetic difference between the ground and the walls, preventing the rise of capillary humidity in walls and floors.
The entire ceramic tile roof, the entablature and the parts of the structure that are in a deteriorated state are lifted and replaced with similar pieces. A fungicide insecticide treatment is applied to all the wood and a new tile covering is placed on battens and a breathable polyethylene membrane as double waterproofing. The joints with the walls are solved by means of battening and lead will be placed in the channels of the gutters.
The pavement and the marble plinth are raised. A sanitary slab consisting of gravel bed, concrete vaults, compression layer and a permanent ventilation to the outside is executed. A new terracotta tile pavement with a wax finish was installed. Existing cracks are consolidated. New decorative painting and new electrical installation and lighting. In the old sacristy, the space located on the lower deck is enabled as conference room to support the sacristy.

Condition of the tower and façade of the church before and after restoration

Condition of the tower and façade of the church before and after restoration