Rotting in Library floor closes programs for two weeks

A section of the Houston Public Library floor is rotting and damages will cost the Houston District an estimated $10,000 in repairs

A section of the Library floor is rotting and Library programs are cancelled Feb. 11 to 22 for repairs – which will cost the District an estimated $10,000.

Director of Engineering and Development Services Michael Glavin talked to Houston council Feb. 5 about water damage and rotting in a section of the Library floor near the entrance to the Canfor room.

Glavin says a major amount of moisture built up in the exhaust system at a joint in the duct work and now there is a hole between the Library building and the 1999 addition and the rot is slowly spreading in the floor.

Fungus is growing between two of the floor joists and the two joists are saturated with moisture, Glavin said.

“Now it’s at micro-saturation, and once you’re saturated, just like cancer it spreads and spreads and spreads,” said Glavin.

Glavin says the water came from condensation build up on the pipes.

He says the water had to travel quite a long way because of the way the floor joists were laid, and the pipes were sloped up from the pipe joint, causing the water to collect in the joint.

Heat from the crawl space rose to that corner, and the insulation around the pipes blocked the moisture from going anywhere, Glavin said.

“All the moisture came, travelled down [to the joint], built up and just created like a sauna atmosphere,” said Glavin, adding that it started rotting there and then was slowly rotting back.

Asked if he would fix the duct work problems as well as repair the damage, Glavin said yes, he would change the system so it vents vertically instead of horizontally.

“Right at the corner where the water is, we’re going to go straight up, through the ceiling and vent from the roof, instead of from the side,” said Glavin, adding that they would also wrap the ducts.

Glavin says the repairs could cost less than the $10,000 estimate, but he didn’t want to estimate too low and have to present to council again.

He added that the only unknown is whether the Canfor room wall, beside the hole will need to be ripped out.

“We won’t know until we get in there,” Glavin said.

Chief Librarian Toni McKilligan says the contractor came this Tuesday and to avoid interference and conflict, programs are cancelled until Feb. 22 when construction should be finished.

Glavin says repairs will take about a week and the Library will shut down completely during construction.


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