Monday, November 28, 2005

Lime's Fine

The above image shows a photo I took of Lime plaster at Kilpeck Herefordshire.

Around about September 2001 I was taking my post graduate diploma in Building Conservation at the
College of Estate Management in Reading, UK. One of the most memorable occasions was the Lime Day at Sherborne Estate (National Trust) Gloucestershire. It was hosted by Rory Young an expert in the use of lime renders and decorative plaster. One of his projects was the new Millenium Ceiling at Wilbury Park in Wiltshire commissioned by Miranda, Countess of Iveagh.

Here are a few pictures of the day spent getting our hands dirty

It was at this event that I learn't about the remarkable qualities of
Lime mortar. In most applications it is far superior to modern cement mortar (but admittedly is a little more complex to mix and apply). With regards to historic building refurbishment and renovation it is almost always that Lime Mortar is recommended for use where required. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, older buildings are often built without wall cavities, and for centuries have relied upon the porous qualities of stone, brick and lime render to help aid evaporation of dampness. Concrete mortars added later to historic buildings have had the effect of forming a waterproof shield which traps moisture within the walls and causes rising damp and mould growth. Lime mortar therefore, has a wicking effect. It also is softer than modern cement mortars and is able to move with time. Lime mortars used in the construction of Durham Cathedral enabled the slow evolutionary settlement of the massive piers over a period of 20 years until the structure found its own level. Lime mortar is also self leaching. Over time with the effects of rainwater travelling down its surface it is self - healing. Over time Lime mortars take on a beautiful natural ochre colour.

Now Lime Mortars are even being discussed for use in Newbuild.
Ian Pritchett takes up the argument in this article

Further Links:

Interesting Research by the University of Bristol

A Conservation Engineers View on the use of Lime Mortar

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