The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 4 (1926) > Issues > Issue 6 > Discussion on Notes on the Restoration of the Palace of Versailles and the Trianons by A. Knapen
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Discussion on Notes on the Restoration of the Palace of Versailles and the Trianons by A. Knapen

MR. W. J. H. LEVERTON proposed a vote of thanks to the author of the paper, to M. Bertrand, to Count Lewenhaupt for having described the lantern slides which illustrated the paper, and to the Chairman for having interpreted Count Lewenhaupt's remarks. Referring to the squeezing out of the mortar used in the walls of the Palace of Versailles, he said that, at the time the Palace was built, it was common in England to use chalk lime mortar, which, of course, was very poor stuff. He asked if that kind of mortar were then used in France also, because, if so, he was not surprised that it had squeezed out. With regard to damp courses, the author's experience seemed to be entirely against English practice. Everyone in England was horrified if a damp course were omitted; its omission was considered to represent the very acme of jerry building, and yet according to the author, it was of no use. The author had stated that, even if the horizontal damp course were an efficient obstacle to the penetration of moisture, its lower specific heat would cause condensation on its upper surface, the moisture resulting from which would be taken up again by capillarity and would rise in the wall. Mr. Leverton sald he took it that the moisture resulting from condensation would not be so great as the moisture which might arise from damp soil, so that, where there were two evils, it was better to choose the Lesser and to put in a damp course. With regard to the tubes inserted in the walls for the extraction of damp, he said they all seemed to be at a height of about 1 ft. from the ground, and something like 18 in. apart, so that they were inserted at that part of the wall which contained the most damp. He asked whether the buildings really did have damp courses when the tubes were put in, or whether the tubes were put in as a substitute, and whether tubes had ever been put in at a higher level. He was glad to hear the Chairman's remarks with regard to iron ties in hollow walls, because he had always thought that in about twenty years they must disappear, through rust. Some people contended that if they were dipped carefully in red hot tar they would last, that there was no visible evidence of that, as the walls containing them were sealed up. A friend of his, who was carrying out some alterations to a house with hollow walls, had had to take out a piece of wall about a yard square. He had put his walking stick inside the wall, and had been able to swing it round, so that there were no ties there. There was no evidence that they had been left out by the builder. In his view, bonded bricks, which had been used instead of iron ties, were far more effective, although more expense; if good bonding bricks were put in, they would last as long as the walls would last. Generally, with bonded bricks, the outer part was one course lower than the inner, so that any moisture which resulted from condensation on the brick had to go up-hill in order to get to the inner line of the concre