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Use of modern materials on period properties

The technology and construction methods used in period properties is at variance to modern day building methods and any attempt to impose cement based mortars, damp proofing and even non breathable paints should be carefully considered. When working with a period property, seek the correct advice on how to maintain what is there. If there is for example a damp problem, it will usually be caused by natural wear and tear, or a non-breathable material has been used to “fix a problem” that correct maintenance would have cheaply and quickly dealt with.

Lime based building techniques are completely different to cement based. Often with lime there will be nothing but a small step footing and possibly no damp course of any kind. Whereas cement based building methods are still evolving and the footings are getting bigger, the general construction and design are moving towards a rigid non- movable structure imposed upon the landscape. This is mainly as a reaction to the failures of cement based construction techniques of previous decades, often seen as heave, subsidence, cracking and damp, amongst other things.

Lime construction has a much lighter footprint. This is not due to skimping with materials or shoddy workmanship. A period house was built knowing that lime could BREATHE and MOVE, using methods that had been refined over hundreds of years. Please bear in mind the building that is relevant to your current research is at least one hundred years old.

If there is a damp problem look to the gutters, the pointing or air bricks. Lastly check the ground level outside - over time this can rise and it may be necessary to remove paving and soil that has built up over the decades. I always advise my clients to go outside when it’s raining, look to see if water is running down the wall due to gutter issues and if water is pooling against the building. A simple check like this can save a lot of money and effort.

Restoration Lime is here to help, we have a wide and knowledgeable skill base in conservation and restoration as well as a passion for period buildings and construction, with sustainable and traditional methods. We are more than happy to help with any questions you may have, so please feel free to email or call us. We will strive to ensure that you have all the options available to you for your specific project.

As Conservation Builders, we understand the complexities and individualities of period properties, we appreciate that they need to be dealt with in a sympathetic way with a full understanding of how they move and blend in to their surroundings.

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