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Traditional lime plastering with hot lime mortar and cow dung in Sandbach

I recently wrapped up a distinctive plastering project in Sandbach, working on an old brick wall in a house from the 1800s. The job was for a lovely elderly gentleman, focusing on reviving a wall that had been blackened with soot over time. Here's a more detailed look at the process and the choices made along the way. View the project on instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/p/C1nAkYjsp6R

Understanding the Task at Hand

The wall in question was part of a single-skin brick structure, common in houses from that era. Over the years, soot had built up on its surface, creating a need for thorough restoration. The homeowner, despite his hearing difficulties, was keen to see his wall restored to its former state.

Selection of Materials: Hot Lime Mortar with Cow Dung

The primary material chosen for this project was hot lime mortar, slaked and mixed right on the job site. This choice was twofold: Lime is historically accurate for such an old structure because it is breathable and flexible, and the 'hot mix' method was preferable due to the cold working conditions. An interesting addition to the mix was cow dung, a traditional ingredient that helps prevent soot from seeping through the new plaster.

Incorporating Modern Techniques: Synthetic Fibres

To bring a modern element into this traditional method, synthetic fibres were added to the plaster mix. This was a strategic move to enhance the durability of the plaster. These fibres help in reducing the risk of shrinkage cracking, a common issue with lime plaster, especially when applied in a single float coat.

Execution and Outcome

Applying the plaster in a single float coat was a challenge, requiring precision and expertise. The blend of hot lime mortar, cow dung, and synthetic fibres needed careful balancing to ensure it adhered well to the old brick while maintaining its structural integrity. The result was a rejuvenated wall that not only looked clean and fresh but also carried the strength and resilience provided by the synthetic fibres.

Finishing Touches: Skimming with Lime Putty and Kiln-Dried Sand

To complete the restoration, the wall received a final skim coat using a mixture of lime putty and kiln-dried sand. This combination was key in achieving a smooth, fine finish, essential for the aesthetic aspect of the wall. The lime putty blend not only provided a pleasing texture but also ensured compatibility with the underlying hot lime mortar mix.

Additionally, I left behind some extra lime putty for the homeowner. This was to facilitate the application of a limewash, should he choose to add this traditional protective and decorative layer. Limewash, known for its breathable and natural properties, would be the ideal choice for painting over the lime plaster, ensuring the wall's ability to regulate moisture and maintain its historic character.

In summary, this project in Sandbach was a perfect blend of traditional methods and materials combined with modern enhancements, resulting in a beautifully restored, functional, and historically respectful wall. The process underscored the importance of preserving traditional craftsmanship while adapting to contemporary needs and materials.

This project in Sandbach was more than just a restoration job; it was a blend of respecting historical building techniques while embracing modern advancements for a durable finish. The satisfaction of the homeowner and the revived look of the wall stood as a testament to the success of this approach.

If you would like something similar for your own home please fill in the quote form and I will get back to you. https://ayresplastering.co.uk/#quote

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