The old way of making a church baptismal was to make a concrete hole, line it with a waterproof membrane and then tile it. Within a few years the grout would be mouldy or, worse still, leaking.
One of the many advantages of a GRP baptistery is that it goes on for years and does not leak and, aside from any plumbing, does not need any maintenance. But would you still like the look of tiles?
Now, the inside of our pre-formed GRP baptistries can be lined with sheets of fibreglass tiles. The Jordan-style baptistries, with the steps as a separate unit which is fixed in place at installation, lends itself well to this tiled finish.
If you would like a tiled look in a toilet/washroom within the church and want it quickly and cheaply, we make the sheets in interlocking sheets approx. 60cm x 60cm, in sheets approx. 120cm x 180cm or to custom sizes.
If you have an existing baptistry of , say, concrete, it may not be practicable to have one of our GRP baptistries made and put in place. There might not be enough room. It might be too difficult to remove the existing steps. Access into the church may be just too difficult or restricted.
Once the tiles have been removed and the concrete surface covered and adapted, we can move on to apply fibreglass and resin gel-coat directly rather than us make up a pre-formed tank back out our factory. An additional advantage is that this finish can be tailored to the baptistry – steps can be easily accommodated and covered. Better still, if there are already plug holes or other plumbing fittings, these can be temporarily removed and the GRP+gel coat finish can go right up to the hole. Once the GRP finish has cured, the fittings can be replaced and waterproofed to a good surface.
If the tank were a concrete pit, it would need to be dry and dust-free.
Whikst not as well insulated as our preformed tanks, our lining introduces some much needed insulation, which is very important with concrete pits, which are difficult to heat
Where it does differ from our pre-formed baptistry tanks is that the finish is not structural or weight-bearing. Whereas our tanks can support lids, these can not. Whereas as our pre-formed tanks will hold the water, this is a ‘skin’ and the load-bearing comes from the surrounding timber or wall. Also, this directly applied GRP has a light texturing and is not mirror flat as those made in a mould. However, as we put a light texture on our steps anyway for increased grip, it is a very minor issue.
Such a finish would be more durable than membrane and tiles and certainly need less maintenance. It will almost certainly be cheaper, certainly in the long-run. If you are a church looking to reline a baptistry, do consider directly-applied fibreglass.
We make the pools off timber moulds, so we can make changes very easily. So, once you’ve made sure you have the space and it will get in the building, what can you design?
Going back to getting the baptismal in the building, we can make pools in two sections which then join together at installation. This might be useful if there are narrow doors, corridors or stairways to negotiate.
Based on the dimensions churches keep asking for, the space needed to baptise someone is 2.1m long by 1.5m wide and about 1.2m deep. This gives space to baptise a tall person and have two helpers in the pool. The water can be filled to about 1m deep.
You can either have the steps jutting out from this tank or, if the tank is made larger, the steps can be inside. An important thing to know is that the depth of the pool (1.2m for example) becomes the extra length you have to add on for the steps. So, if the central baptismal area of the pool is 2.1m long, a set of steps would make the whole pool 3.3m long. The deeper the pool, the more of your baptistry you have to use for steps!
The steps can be the full width of the baptistry tank or just, say, 1m wide. One set of steps is the most frequent choice but many churches have two sets of steps. The steps usually go on one of the short edges because this makes it easier to transport and fit into he buildings. Steps can go on the long sides to make a T-shape or a cross-shape. Steps can go anywhere. If space is tight, the steps can inside the baptistry – one church had two sets of steps coming down the back wall of the tank that met in the middle so it felt like people were coming on stage.
When it comes to size, the real limits are the access into he building, transport costs and the lids! Once the baptistry gets above 1.5m wide, the way the lids have to be made changes a bit and this makes them a bit heavier and a little bit more expensive.
Now for filling and emptying the pool. When it comes to emptying a pool, many churches can’t use a plug and drain the water away because, once the baptistry is in the ground, it is too low down. Not a problem. We make the baptismal with a small sump in one corner. A submersible pump and pipe can be used to pump the water out and into a drain. We can fit in with however you want to fill or empty your pool. If you want taps and overflows, this is not a problem – we can mould in recesses to fit and, better still, it has no cost implication. Filling and emptying a baptistry is one of those topics best sorted early on in the project. Please give me a call as I’m happy to chat.
Just to announce – after Easter is usually the time when Ruth has exhire baptistries that are on offer.