Sealants Project

Saint John Paul II National Shrine – Washington, D.C.

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Washington, DC is certainly a city that has its share of political views. It is also a city that has an abundance of monuments, museums, parks, and is home to The White House. One of the newer historical sites that welcomes people no matter what their belief is the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. A place of prayer for Catholics and people of all faiths, the 130,000-square-foot building is built on 12 acres adjacent to The Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception located in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington.

The Knights of Columbus purchased the Cultural Center in 2011 and initiated a series of renovations, during which time the Blessed Pope John Paul II Shrine, as it was designated, held seasonal exhibits. On March 19, 2014, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops designated it as a national shrine, citing the love of American Catholics for the late pope. It formally reopened as the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on April 27, 2014, following the canonization of Pope John Paul II earlier that day in Vatican City.

The first phase of renovation included the development of a 16,000 sf permanent exhibit dedicated to preserving and promoting the memory and legacy of St. John Paul II. The phase was accelerated to coincide its opening with the Canonization announcement of St. John Paul II.

Subsequent renovation phases affected all aspects of public space in the building, including renovation of an existing chapel, a 3,600 sf rotating exhibit gallery, a new museum store, and updates to the facility’s mechanical and electrical systems. Finally, the addition of a Winter Garden was developed to infill an existing interior open courtyard; this concept required the installation of a massive curtainwall and skylight system to provide ample natural light to the below-grade level.

Pecora 890 NST sealant was applied by Aird, Inc. as a "joint" between the stone cladding after the existing sealant had been cut out and completely removed. All exterior caulk on the building was replaced, including stone to stone.

With traditional silicone sealants, the fluids responsible for flexibility are able to migrate away from the cured sealant to create two kinds of damage to the building substrate – staining and residue rundown. Staining is present when the fluid is absorbed into porous substrates such as marble, granite and limestone causing permanent discoloration in the stone. Residue rundown occurs when the fluid is not absorbed into the substrate, but migrates from the sealant, runs down the face of a building, and causes a streaking effect as it collects dirt.

Pecora’s NST Non-Staining Technology removes the fluid that causes the damage while maintaining the flexibility necessary to accommodate a building’s constant movement.

“We have used Pecora sealants for many years and have found them to be as good as any in the industry. Between the quality of the material and the excellent service we get from Pecora and Metro Sealants and Waterproofing, from whom we bought it, we will continue to use Pecora. Also, the ease of installation of the material is great. It guns well and tools beautifully.” – Rob Aird, Aird, Inc.

The circa 2001 building features a limestone façade, three story aluminum curtain wall system, copper wall panels, granite feature wall, and extensive exterior terrace with granite paving. Water penetration through the exterior façade has plagued the property since original occupancy. With the function of the property shifting to display and repository of artifacts, the resolution of water penetration issues became paramount for the successful functioning of the building. To this end, Pecora 890 NST was selected for its non-staining technology on the natural stone cladding and excellent performance characteristics – UV resistance, superior adhesion and +100-50% movement capability.

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