Repairing & Conserving old Buildings and Walls since 1989.

I repair the surfaces of old buildings, dealing with salt damage, damp, flaking and crumbling plaster. I assess the problems, the causes and the solutions. I spend many hours – more than I would like – removing hard damaging cement renders and cement and gypsum plasters – then I repair what I find – often rotten lintels, damaged and loose masonry, crumbling cob – before putting back a beautiful lime render or plaster. The renders are limewashed in a colour carefully chosen to set the house off within its location. ( I enjoy finding traces of the old lime render that the cement render replaced, hidden in nooks and crannies on the old surface, so many cottages with a smooth white cement render turn out to have had a coloured lime roughcast render.) 

So many damp problems within houses are due to inappropriate modern plastering materials, So called rising damp turns out to be condensation, but there is no doubt that some moisture penetrates the wall and can bring salt with it, this salt crystallises on the surface of the plaster and then attracts moisture from the air making the wall even wetter. The problem of salt is not easily solved by the application of a lime plaster as that will draw more salt out of the wall. A different approach is needed and I have developed a system that has proved effective every time.

Lath and plaster ceilings are a particularly favourite, taking down the old ceiling is a very dusty job but I take special care to contain the dust within the working area and once the debris has been removed off site the progress is much cleaner, replacing any timbers, fixing new laths, applying the plaster. The old beams and joists often sag and it’s a real pleasure to create a new ceiling that celebrates the sagging beams without looking self conscious or undulating.

A new development of my skill is the use of lime/earth plasters which came about whilst repairing cob, I source the clayey earth, sieve it and mix it with sand and chopped straw and lime to make a wonderfully sticky plaster that is so often found in old houses and cottages under all the layers of modern rubbish. The earth plaster is finished with a final coat of fine lime plaster mixed to my own recipe.

All my plasters are made to my own recipes using raw materials obtained locally. They are lime rich and the plasters and renders are reinforced with animal hair to prevent cracking and to reinforce the final plaster. 

Contact me for a quote for your project or advice on issues with the surfaces of your building. I like to work on small cottages and other buildings that require an aesthetic eye and a careful approach. and although many projects might be too big for me none will be too small.

6 Responses to About

  1. kevin woods says:

    hi john,hope you are well. the website and your journal are really impressive,still getting lots of interesting work i see. those stacks on your holiday look like fun. i might even have a go one day! im keeping busy too and its all limework mostly now! i also do limework days for the yorkshire dales national park,for historic property home owners once a year. i have taken on an apprentice and he is doing well. take care.best regards kevin.

  2. David King says:

    Hi John, We spoke briefly earlier re courses. I’m currently a dry stone waller/landscaper & have done lime pointing. Currently re-building a jointed stone wall with lime & enjoying working with the material would like to learn more.

    Kind regards
    David King

  3. Alan Fordham says:

    Many thanks, John, for the lime plaster repair work you’ve just completed so competently on some internal cob walls in my house. The wall and chimney look great and it was a pleasure to welcome you into my home. Despite your modesty you are obviously an expert in your field and I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone who needs to have this type of specialised work carried out.
    Best regards,
    Alan Fordham

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