I always think of margaritas! BUT we are, of course, talking about the mineral, not the tequila-based cocktail! So here’s the lowdown on lime;
Lime Mortar - composed of lime and an aggregate, mixed with water.
It was first used by the Ancient Egyptians who used lime to plaster the pyramids. It caught on and was soon used in the building of ancient Rome and Greece.
It has been used in construction since then, however, after Portland cement was discovered in the mid 19th century, the use of lime mortar declined. Ever wondered why the pyramids are still standing and yet, newer, stone buildings are falling into disrepair? Having the wrong mortar is usually the reason!
It doesn’t involve us, we were just a twinkle in our MD’s eye at the time, so we can’t take credit for any of the works (although we are currently working on another historic conservation project with the same problem, however that’s a blog for another day), but it highlights the problem that so many of our country’s buildings face today.
Ever heard of Hill House in Edinburgh?
In the early 20th century, Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed a building for the Blackie family. Being experimental in his designs, Mackintosh used, what was then, a fairly new product - Portland Cement.
It was thought of as revolutionary render, it dried quicker and was more cost effective. It had devastating results. Over the years, water seeped through the harling and the building started to crumble.
The damage was so bad that the National Trust for Scotland (who now own the building) have had to put the building in a “box”.
This allows the building to dry out naturally while still allowing it to breathe. It could take up to 3 years to dry the building out before any conservation work can begin.
It’s an extreme example of the devastating effects that cement can have on our stone buildings.
Buildings are like people, they are unique, they have their own individual characteristics. So, when we, at Stratum Masonry, are carrying out repairs on stonework, our starting point is to understand your building.
We can then decide on the best method of repair, this usually includes a combination of both modern and traditional skills. And it’s not just walls, remember the chimneys and fireplaces too!
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