According to a consultant, Cuenca’s cathedral requires $800,000 in repairs to stop leaks in the church’s roof. Water stains are clearly visible on the cathedral ceiling and, according to Fernando Salamea, lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Cuenca, the need for repairs is urgent.
Salamea says that the cathedral roof was not properly installed and sealed during construction 100 years ago. Instead of ceramic material, much of the roof is covered with bricks that have become porous over the years. The problem with materials may have been the result of the fact that cathedral’s architect, John Stiehle, died 10 years into the construction.
Salamea says remediation requires the installation of ceramic tiles above the bricks, the sealing of cracks with carbon fiber and installation of a new drainage system.
By volume, the cathedral is the largest structure in Cuenca and, according to the Cuenca Archdiocese, the largest cathedral in South America.
The cost of repairs will be paid by the Catholic church since public funds cannot be used for private projects.