e: sfrancis@traditionalbuilder.co.uk      t: 07954 414517

e: hello@traditionalbuilder.co.uk     
t: 07954 414517

e: sfrancis@traditionalbuilder.co.ukt: 07954 414517
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Lime Work

Working with Traditional Lime Materials

For centuries, lime render and mortars have been relied upon in construction, proving their durability in ancient castles, churches, and historic buildings still standing today. Lime allows structures to "breathe" - it permits the passage of moisture in and out of stone, cob, and other materials without damage. This breathability is essential when no damp course exists, preventing moisture from getting trapped in walls.

Yet the modern popularity of cement threatens this balance. Cement plaster prevents proper moisture movement, often trapping water behind walls through condensation, capillary action from the ground, or flaws in the original cement application. Trapped moisture can expand when frozen, causing decay of cob, brick, stone, and other sub-structures. While durable, cement lacks lime's flexibility.

Lime artisan Stephen hand-mixes mortars and plasters on-site based on each building's unique needs. For new mixtures he uses natural hydraulic lime, which sets through hydration. Quicklime products are employed for specialty finishes like lime skim coats and whitewash paints. Varying lime strengths are matched to each substrate, whether stone, cob, or lath.

Typical applications include stone repointing, external rendering, internal plastering, lathe and plaster walls, cob restoration, and lime-based washes and paints. Historic buildings often mandate lime to comply with conservation guidelines and insurance. Though cement became popular only recently, it has already caused extensive damage.

Much of Stephen's work reverses this damage by removing cement and properly reintegrating traditional, breathable lime. The natural flexibility and moisture control of lime mortars and renders have allowed local cob buildings to endure for centuries. In the hands of skilled artisans like Stephen, these time-honored techniques remain the best practice for maintaining historic structures. The enduring historic buildings of the world are a testament to the superiority of lime.

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Traditional Building Services

Traditional Building Services

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