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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.

At O’Brien Interiors, we’ve spent years training our team in the art of using lime-based products and where possible, would always advocate that they are considered as an alternate to modern construction materials. As we are by no means the only ones to utilise this fantastic resource, we wanted to share a couple of high profile case studies where lime products have been used to restore traditional buildings.

Beauchamp Tower, the Tower of London

Built during the reign of Edward I in the 13th Century, this stunning building was built using brick, with an external stone finish. In the past, cement had been used to re-point which actually worsened the age-induced damage. In 2007 work was undertaken to remove the excessively damaged cement mortar and replace this with lime mortar in order to protect the structure of the building, especially from turbulent weather that could cause further deterioration.

Tiltyard Tower, Hampton Court Palace

Originally constructed by Henry VIII as a viewing platform, this grade 1 listed building underwent large scale repairs in 2006. Part of the project included removing black-ash pointing that had previously been used to repair the mortar and replacing this with high-calcium lime mortar, utilising different mixes in order to garner unique effects on the different buildings.

These two studies alone demonstrate just how versatile and useful lime can be, especially when working with valuable and fragile structures where maintaining the integrity of the build is paramount. So if lime forms a part of the UK’s most iconic buildings, why not consider incorporating it into your next project? We’re always here to chat through your ideas, so please do reach out to discuss what lime can do for you!

Case Study Source: with thanks to ‘Historical Royal Palaces’ [UK] accessed, 18.03.2017.

Alex White
R P Adams Interiors Ltd
Holland Park-Private Residence - As main contractor to our clients we worked alongside O'Brien Interiors to carry out a large scale exterior restoration. O'Brien Interiors were charged with the task to remove over 200 square meters of sand and cement render and reapply a lime based render finish which they had along with the design team matched to the original specification and design. I would not hesitate to recommend O'Brien Interiors for any lime plastering works as a client or to other main contractors as the team ethic and attention to client satisfaction runs through the core of the company from top to bottom.