It is important to keep walls in good repair, particularly solid walls, which will let damp through if the pointing is damaged.
Pointing may need to be repaired if the original lime mortar has gradually degraded over time. This can be caused by, for example, leaking rainwater pipes, or may be simply due to the age of the mortar.
The other common reason for needing to replace pointing is that the lime mortar has been replaced with inappropriate cement mortar.
Old stone buildings should always be pointed with lime mortar, to allow them to breathe. This avoids damp problems and helps keep the stone and the mortar in good condition.
We are very experienced in pointing with lime mortar. Many conventional tradesmen will always prefer to use cement mortar, as it is more straightforward to do, but this will be very detrimental to your property. It can also be extremely difficult to remove as it is so hard!
To ensure an old, solid walled building can breathe, it is also important that lime plaster and breathable paint is used on the internal walls. If non-breathable plasters and paints are used, damp can’t pass through them, and you may be faced with the depressing sight of plaster and paint flaking off the wall.
If lime plasters are used, then a small amount of damp or condensation in your walls will not cause a problem, as the moisture can pass harmlessly into the air when conditions are right.
Lime plastering is quite an art, and is something we specialise in.
In many old buildings, the stone or brickwork was covered with a lime render, and often limewashed. Sometimes, unfortunately the old render has been replaced with a modern, cement based equivalent, causing breathability problems and damage to stone and brick work. There’s a common theme here, and if render is used on an old building, again it is vital that it allows the building to breathe, or problems are inevitable at some point.