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Wash. Capitol Dome To Get $1M Bath, Repairs

Austin Jenkins


OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s Capitol dome is about to get a bath for the first time in eight years. The sandstone dome has turned from tan to black – especially on the north side.

The diesel power-washers are already humming as workers spray the grime off lower parts of Washington’s 84-year old Capitol building. But the hi-wire action comes when they tackle the dome itself.

Shane Paullus with Portland-based Western Waterproofing says after eight years it’s pretty organic up there.

“Lots of growth, lots of moss,” he says.

A trio of workers will climb into baskets and lower themselves down the dome armed with pressure-washers. Paullus says it’s really no different than cleaning a sports stadium.

“A dome’s a dome. Once you’re on it it’s the same”

Only on the Capitol dome they’re limited in how much water pressure they can hit it with for fear of damaging the sandstone. Once the washing is done they’ll go back and re-mortar the seams to prevent leaking.

The entire project is expected to cost a little more than $1 million and wrap up by November. The power washer crews can work in rain or shine, but not wind.

On the Web:

Capitol building clean-up:

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network