Restoration Lime Kent

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Lime Rendered Gable Wall 

The first photograph shows the side elevation prior to structural works  and new window openings.The wall in this picture was structurally in a very poor condition, it was suffering from severe rising damp and becoming unstable .

The Second photograph shows the same wall, after restoration and with new window openings.


The gable end on this property is of a brick construction on the ground and first floor with timber on the second. This was technically a demanding project as it had suffered at the hands of poor building practices in the past there was considerable damp.

It was soon discovered that in the past this property had actually not been the end of terrace, and in fact the property adjacent to it had been knocked down to allow a road access. As a result the party wall had become the gable end. This wall had then been rendered with sand and cement, topped with pebble dash and finished with water proof paint. To add to the problems, on the second floor we found this section was of a timber studding construction. Tar paper and chicken wire had been nailed on prior to a sand and cement, pebble dash and water proof paint finish .

The house had severe damp issues both rising and through the cracking render. Moisture was able to enter but not leave. As a “solution” somebody had clad the ground floor internally with asbestos panelling so the water had nowhere to go. As a result the bricks and lime mortar had become saturated causing weakening of the wall and wet rot in some of the timbers.

The first course of action was to strip of all the internal and external coverings and let the brick work start to dry out.

In the past bricks were often fired in clamps, causing a higher frailer rate, these failed misshapen bricks were used internally where they would not be seen. So along with all the other problems the brick bond was not as good as it could be. The timber section of the wall had rotted substantially and the chicken wire in the render had rusted away so the side elevation was in a very unstable condition.

The timber on the second floor elevation was replaced in sections keeping the wall under compression and cross braced, we then counter battened the timber on the outward face and fitted a breathable membrane and stainless steel rib lath. A breathable insulation was then installed into the stud work.

The brickwork was extensively repaired and replaced where necessary using slaked lime mortar (cement mortar is not capable of movement in the same way as lime and would cause stress with resultant cracking). Openings where formed using structural steel work for the new windows on the first floor. We then used stainless steel expanded metal lath on the exterior brickwork to add a further cohesive bond, this compensated for the poor state of the original brickwork.

The whole elevation was then rendered with two coats of traditional haired slaked lime mortar, further strengthening it and helping the wall to flex as it needed to while allowing it to breath. A finishing coat of traditional slaked lime mortar was then finished with lime wash to provide a breathable and flexible wall.

The interior of all the external walls were rendered with two coats of haired lime mortar and plastered to a smooth finish with 3:2 fine lime plaster and lime washed as a finish.

This cured all the damp problems that this beautiful house was suffering from .The walls are now performing perfectly, using traditional methods that are not attempting to stop moisture but allowing it to pass into and out of the structure .A Georgian architect, brick layer or plasterer would have understood these techniques. The structure is now back in balance and will perform in this manner for many years to come.

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