Immaculate Conception Chapel - Msida

Immaculate Conception Chapel - Msida

Restoration work on the chapel involves mainly external works. Erection of external scaffolding would be required up to the parapet wall at roof level.   The lower part of the chapel is characterised with mosaic cement rendering. This has to be removed as it is causing damage to the stone even further up the walls as rising damp is not allowed to evaporate at low level.  The upper part of the church also needs to be restored as there are areas of stone flaking. The external of the church also exhibits black crust, biological growth and staining especially at the cornices and parapet wall level.

Prior to cleaning removal of metal inserts, loose and cement rendering, flaking stone and dry brushing and pointing of mortar joints has to be done. Extremely deteriorated masonry work will have to be replaced.  Disintegrated stones as well as missing ones will be replaced only if deemed necessary. Open joints need to be re-pointed in a hydraulic lime base. A hydraulic lime mortar will be used to reconstruct missing parts while epoxy injection needs to be used for the repair of cracks where required. Biological growth needs to be removed by applying a suitable biocide. Paper pulp poultices may be applied to the black crust also utilising Ammonium Bi-carbonate. After the application of any chemicals the stone is to be washed well of any residue.

The parapet wall at the front of the church is composed of a series of pilasters joined together with a low wall and metal railing. There is cracking of the stone pilasters because of rusting of metal inserts and fixing of metal railings.  The stone wall has also been rendered possibly in a cement plaster. The metal railings are to be restored by sanding down and cold-galvanising. It is especially important to improve the mode of fixing into the stone parapet wall. There has to be isolation between the metal fixings and the wall so as to avoid any cracking.   A sample of the rendering is to be removed to decide whether to re-instate another lime-based transpiring plaster, depending on the state of the stone face beneath.

Repairs to the water-proofing of the roof of the portico need to be carried out as it is allowing water ingress. Maintenance of external timber apertures will be carried out if deemed necessary.

Internally the church is quite well preserved. Minor defects are some cracked stone above the cornice on either side of the altar and oil-based paint which is blistering and flaking on the back wall of the altar. The cracked stone will be made good with plastic repair in a hydraulic lime based mix and re-pointed. The flaking paint will be removed. Depending on the state of the underlying stone face it will be decided as to whether the stone face at the back of the altar will remain exposed or will be plastered/painted in a transpiring lime-based plaster or paint as the case may be.