Protection for Generations to Come

Rising damp in the masonry was threatening to damage a valuable fresco in a chapel in Upper Bavaria. WACKER experts developed a comprehensive, restoration plan that included chemical dampproofing to combat rising damp, and water-repellent impregnation with a silane/siloxane mixture. A new coat of silicone resin emulsion paint rounded out the plan.

Dr. Hartmut Ackermann uses a wetting test to check how much moisture has been absorbed by the wall coated with water-repellent silicone resin emulsion paint.
On the outskirts of Burghausen lies Bergerhof farm, where a chapel is located. The fresco inside the chapel was designed by an Italian artist in 2008.

“Il Soffio” – the breath – is the name of the fresco inside the family chapel at the Bergerhof farm on the outskirts of Burghausen. The farm chapel and its idyllic hillside location entice passersby to stop and linger, but the setting poses a constant risk of structural damage to the fresco inside the chapel: “Due to its location, the foundation is poor, allowing moisture to climb up through the masonry and make its way into the plaster and paintwork,” explains Dr. Hartmut Ackermann, a chemist at WACKER SILICONES and an expert in building protection. “We absolutely had to renovate the building if we were to protect the fresco.”

In 2008, Nunzio Di Placido, an artist from Burghausen’s sister city of Sulmona, Italy, created a painting for the Bergerhof chapel. For his fresco, he revived a forgotten technique from antiquity known as encaustic painting, in which pigments are bound in wax and applied to the surface while hot.

Brightly Colored Fresco

Extensive renovations to the tiny chapel began in the fall of 2013 in order to protect the painting and preserve the fresco’s luminous colors permanently. The project was sponsored by the city of Burghausen, which owns the Bergerhof, and Wacker Chemie AG. As a leading manufacturer of building protection agents, WACKER used the project as an opportunity to demonstrate the effects of its silicone resin emulsion paints and its hydrophobic (i.e. water-repellent) silanes and siloxanes – essentially in the company’s own backyard. “It was a four-step process,” explains Dr. Ackermann from the company’s Application Technology team. “After chemical dampproofing, we renovated the foundation and cleaned the exterior walls, applied an outer coat of silicone resin emulsion paint, and treated the interior walls to make them water-repellent.”