Pointing with Lime Mortar

Lime mortar has been the traditional building material of choice for centuries and it has only been the last few hundred years where other materials, including cement, have been used at all in construction.  The use of hard, dense and impervious building materials like Ordinary Portland Cement in construction can be damaging when it is used with softer building units like limestones and clay bricks.

Deteriorated brickwork

Take these bricks for example, they have completely deteriorated and are barely functional as a buttress for the lime mortar built wall behind it.  As you can see the cement mortar is still intact but the building units have failed.  If the construction was built with lime mortar then this would not have happened and the bricks would not have failed.

Unfortunately this brickwork is not salvageable and it was built with cement in the first place.  Another example is when a wall is built with lime mortar originally but then ‘tip’ pointed with cement later.  The effect that you get in that instance is the brick or stone units decaying around the edges, the mortar behind deteriorating further until the cement is undermined and then eventually the cement mortar drops out.

So the solution?  If the wall is built with cement then the problem is built in to the wall so to speak and the only solution is conservative management.  The units will eventually fail and they will need to be replaced.  If it is decided that the new units are to be built in lime mortar then the lime will always be the sacrificial soft spot and fail in the future.  It is the nature of the beast unfortunately.  If the building is ‘tip’ pointed in cement but with lime mortar construction behind then the cement can be removed and the building re-pointed with a good sound lime mortar to suit.  This will help the building expel moisture, save the integrity of the built units and create a much more pleasant aesthetic.

Inspire Conservation only use lime as binders in mortars and are specialists in the use of them on traditional buildings.  We undertake lime mortar replacement and re-pointing on stone, brick and earthen structures including garden walls, historic houses, churches and other traditional built structures.

Inspire Conservation have two offices in the UK, one in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and the other in Carlton Le Moorland in Lincolnshire.  We have stonemasons and conservators serving these counties and the surrounding areas for lime mortar pointing services.

If you need to find out more concerning the services we offer in the meantime then please call us on 01908 586661 or email us at info@inspireconservation.co.uk to discuss your requirements.

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