Oregon Caves
Historic Structures Report

Recommended Treatment Summary

The treatment recommendations for the Oregon Caves Chateau are summarized in this section, separated into the same divisions as in the rest of the document. All preservation treatment must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation and Restoration, listed in Appendix B. These recommendations apply to whoever has the responsibility for building maintenance.

Exterior Treatment Recommendations

Roofing and Flashing

The treatment of the Chateau roof can be broken down into seven different components. These are both short and long term solutions, and are also basic maintenance. The recommendations for roof treatment are:

1. Keep the roof valleys clear of excessive snow loads. One valley has already received sheathing damage due to overloading, and the historic fabric has been compromised. The damaged area should be repaired before the next winter to avoid further damage. This work should be performed on a regular basis throughout the winter.

2. The fascia board for gutter support should either be removed or have a gutter permanently installed. The concessionaire has undergone a Section 106 review for the addition of a gutter above the main lobby entrance, and is allowed to place a gutter at this location.

3. The roof hatch near the chimney should receive a more permanent locking mechanism. Providing a set of stout latches and hinges would protect the door from being blown off of the building, and would reduce the risk of the hatch being dropped inside the attic after removal and falling through the historic fabric of the ceiling.

4. The growth on the roof should be kept to a minimum. A moss killer should be applied to the roof to reduce the growth, protecting the shakes from accelerated decay. Care should be taken when applying the chemical so that excess does not fall to the ground and damage vegetation around the eave line of the building.

5. The sheet metal roofing between the chimney and the ridge should receive a new layer of paint to protect the metal. The material is still sound, but neglect could result in further decay of this system, allowing water to infiltrate the attic space. The joints between the sheets should be inspected to make sure they are weathertight before the area is painted. If repair is necessary, the work should be done prior to painting.

6. The galvanized metal in the valleys should be repainted before the galvanizing is compromised. This needs to be done with care to avoid excessive amounts of paint on the shakes. The valleys should be cleared of debris and inspected for damage prior to painting.

7. Within five years, the roof will need to be replaced. The number of broken and missing shakes increases every year, and while the attic is dry at this point the chance of water infiltration into the building envelope increases every year. The historic exposure, texture, and thickness should be maintained, and the ridge detail should be kept the same. A copper or galvanized ridge flashing may be installed to curtail moss and lichen growth on the roof, but will not help in areas that are under the eaves. The fungicide should be used to control the growth on the roof. Replacing the roof would be an ideal time for other work outlined above, including valley flashing inspection, repair, and painting, flashing the fascia board above the lobby entrance, and repair of the sheet metal above the chimney. This work should be completed before the roof begins to leak, compromising the building envelope.

Brackets, Verge Boards, and Purlins

The brackets, purlins, and verge boards display various levels of decay. The purlins are protected from the elements, and as a result are in good condition. The brackets, on the other hand, have been subjected to the weather and require attention. The treatment of these three elements varies, but is consistent throughout the building.

1. The horizontal members of the log brackets are all in need of replacement. Excessive decay has rendered them useless as structural elements, and has diminished their decorative importance. The brackets should be removed from the building with care in order to perform this work, so the historic siding will be protected. The diagonal members should also be inspected at this time, and the decayed members should be replaced. The number of diagonal members needing replacement will not be known until the horizontal member is removed and the end grain can be inspected.

2. All verge boards suffer from a compromised paint coating. They should all be scraped and painted in situ, while the brackets are removed for repair. Any areas of decay at the intersection of the verge boards with the brackets should be repaired using a "dutchman" repair in which only a small portion of the board is replaced. This will protect the historic fabric from unnecessary removal from the building.

3. The under eave purlins are all in good condition. These peeled logs must retain the integrity of their paint coating to remain useful to the structure. The paint should be inspected on a yearly basis and repainted as necessary.

Chimney, Exterior

The exterior portion of the chimney is in good condition overall, with only minor treatment necessary.

1. It may be worthwhile to cap the chimney flues to prevent water intrusion into the building. This should be done in a manner that respects the historic character of the Chateau, and should not detract from the appearance of the building.

2. A moss killer should be used to prevent the growth from damaging the mortar.

Port Orford Cedar Bark Siding

As the siding is a character defining feature of the building, it should be preserved at all costs. The Port Orford cedar is becoming increasingly difficult to find due to a root rot that attacks the trees, and there is no suitable alternative for replacing the bark with another material. The rot is a disease of the Port Orford cedar only, and is caused by a pathogen named Phytophthora lateralis. This fungus infects the fine root system and moves up the tree, eventually killing it. It has only a limited distribution around the Oregon and California border in the tree's native range. It is spread by water, especially in the wet seasons within drainage basins, animals, and vehicles. The rot has infected the Siskiyou National Forest, but has not been detected within the Monument. The siding should be treated as follows:

1. Protect the siding from excessive moisture. This includes improving drainage around the building and implementing means to avoid splashback on the structure. Snow should not be piled next to the building when the road is plowed on the north side, and the southeast corner should be kept free of snow accumulation. Vegetation on the south side is harming the siding, and should be removed. See the Vegetation and Drainage Treatment Recommendations for improvements in this area.

2. Fasteners should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are not forming pockets of deterioration as they oxidize. If this becomes the case, the fasteners should be replaced through the historic holes with stainless steel, aluminum, or galvanized fasteners.

Catwalks and Fire Escapes

As these are critical life safety implements, these areas should be well maintained. They should be treated as follows:

1. Retain the paint coating on both the catwalks and fire escapes so they blend with the building, contrasting colors should not be allowed.

2. The wood deck of the catwalk is in need of paint, and the boards have bowed enough to create an uneven walking surface. The boards should be evened out and repainted to preserve them.

Vegetation and Drainage

1. Remove vegetation on the south facade of the building.

2. Install a french drain system of gravel beds and perforated pipe on the west side, allowing the water to drain out into the canyon below the building and join Caves Creek.

3. Install a similar drain system over the full length of the east facade, bringing water away from the building to a central drain pipe. This pipe should join the culvert already in place that diverts Caves Creek, and be designed in such a way that it does not easily clog or back up. This area is critical, as proper drainage will preserve the siding and prevent water from infiltrating the building through the foundation.

Windows and Doors, Exterior

1. Replace the missing sill on the second floor, west end of north wing. This missing element allows air and moisture to infiltrate the structure, and is a potential cause for damage to the building.

2. Scrape and paint all exterior sills and frames. The sill to the north of the coffee shop door will require patching to make the surface flat, as the wood from the 1954 window addition is seriously weathered.

3. Scrape and paint the exterior doors in the non-public areas of the building, including the doors on the west facade leading to the kitchen, second floor storage area, employee dining room, and boiler room. This will preserve the historic fabric and reduce the likelihood that these doors will need replacement.

4. Remove the bow from the lobby entrance doors. The door will most likely have to be disassembled to accomplish this, and wood or metal bracing may be necessary to straighten the door. Repaint the door using the current color.

5. The concessionaire has expressed an interest in restoring the historic hinge mechanism on the lobby entrance doors. A variety of pin hinges that mount in the head and threshold are available, but a brass mechanism should be used to reduce the risk of corrosion and to match the historic hardware.

6. Exterior window screens should all be firmly attached to the window frames using the eye bolt and hook hardware. Each frame should be removed from the building and inspected for loose joints and holes in the screening, then repaired and painted as necessary before re-installation.

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Last Updated: 22-Sep-2001