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Posts archive for March 2017
Using Lime to Restore | Lime and Traditional Buildings

In a world where the demand for housing soars and we’re constantly looking to complete projects in less time and for less money, it’s hardly surprising that traditional lime-based construction is often overlooked.

As we’ve explored in our previous posts, working with lime is undoubtedly more labour intensive than cement or gypsum but the end product is of a far superior quality. The use of cement only became commonplace in the latter part of the 19th century, meaning that before then, lime was used to construct most, if not all buildings, many of which are still around today. As a natural resource, lime is not only much more environmentally friendly but it’s also strong, durable and breathable, meaning it adjusts well to seasonal changes.

A Matter of Lime | Five Fantastic Facts

At O’Brien Interiors, we make clear to all our clients just how beneficial working with lime-based products can be. Whilst lime isn’t always suitable for all projects, it’s certainly got its place in most, so we’ve put together a short list of our favourite lime-related facts!

Lime-based construction minimises environmental damage

A great fact to begin with! Lime products are typically much more environmentally friendly than their cement based counterparts, and will ultimately degrade in a far less damaging way. Non-hydraulic lime will eventually return to the same chemical as its primary state and old lime mortar rubble can actually be re-used as part of a new mix!

The Lime-Down | Hydraulic vs. Non-Hydraulic Lime

With a wealth of projects under our belts, our team are experts in all things lime, and work extensively with clients based in Oxfordshire and across the Home Counties. When considering using lime-based products in your project, it’s certainly not a case of ‘one lime fits all’. There are two key types of lime product, each with distinct properties that should be taken into consideration before commencing your project.

Non-hydraulic lime, or lime putty as it’s more commonly known, is produced by burning limestone, resulting in ‘quicklime’. When the dry material is mixed with water, a reaction takes place, known as ‘slacking’. The resulting moist putty is then stored until required, typically for a number of months, during which time any remaining particles will slake themselves. Once exposed to air, the putty re-absorbs carbon dioxide and can set again. Due to the porous nature of non-hydraulic lime, it is considered the most suitable product to use when working with older buildings, where breathability is of the upmost importance.

Neil Etheridge
Simon Morray-Jones Architects Ltd. Bath
Just a quick note to thank you and your team for all your efforts on this highly successful project. It is heartening to work with craftsmen who really care and strive to provide the best product for the client. Your thorough knowledge of lime plaster techniques was illuminating and your advice and suggestions were very much appreciated. I sincerely hope we are able to work with you again in the future.