Saint Martin’s Church, Genappe, Belgium
Owner: commune of Genappe
Adress: Place Comte Cornet, 1474 Genappe
Listed in 1963
This classicist church dates from the 18th century. It is a typical construction, mainly in brick masonry. The lower parts of the walls, and the window frames, are in local natural stone, such as Belgian blue stone, and sandstone. Opposite to its simple exterior, the interior is decorated with an elaborate high wood paneling in Louis XV-style, both in the church and the choir, together with stucco ceilings and mural paintings.
The church stands at a distance of about 20 meters from the river Dijle. The groundwater level is very high, only about a meter below the ground level. The church is standing with its foundations in the ground water, causing rising damp everywhere in the church. Because of the wood paneling inside the church, the humidity is only able to evaporate on the outside of the church. Moreover, because of a closed space between the walls and the wood paneling, the air in this space is particularly humid. This permanent humidity between the paneling and the wall causes degradations, such as biological degradation, but also a large deformation of the wooden elements.
The walls have a thickness of about 80 cm, and in need of treatment, in order to preserve the valuable wood paneling on the inside of the church. No treatments against rising damp have been carried out yet. Preliminary humidity measurements show a high humidity content inside the walls, which is going up the deeper one samples inside the church.