Lime & Clay

Natural lime has been used around the world for centuries in lime mortar, lime stucco and lime plaster applications, as both an interior and exterior building material. Some of the earliest known works still remain,and can be seen today over four thousand years later. Examples such as the the Temples of Greece, The Halls of Rome, and even The Great Wall of China, are all standing testiments to the strength and durability of this amazing material. With the introduction of Portland cement, the use of lime mortars steadily declined. Until, however in the early twentieth century the many benefits of lime as an effective building material were rediscovered. Along with its many fundamental benefits such as increased elasticity, self healing, favourable workability, limes ability to breathe, unlike Portland cement, has been recognised as an invaluable medium in the protection of the structural integrity of a buildings framework.

Like lime mortars and lime plasters, Natural Clay plasters have been used extensively in buildings all over the UK and indeed all over the world for thousands of years. Although it is not widely known, there are probably over a million buildings with clay materials in their structure in the UK alone, many of these having clay plasters. Very often clay plasters are not recognised because they are painted or have a thin lime putty coating over them, both internally and externally. Many clay plasters are still performing well after many centuries, both in vernacular buildings and in higher status properties. Natural Clay plasters are not just an important historic material that require proper repair and preservation, clay plasters are also a viable and high quality material for use in standard renovation work and within modern building contexts.

Clay plasters were used extensively in historic buildings of all sorts, up until the 19th century. Their disappearance was partly an effect of the separation of agriculture from construction, as a result of the industrial revolution. The disappearance was not because the material was primitive or had been failed, but because of the changing economic conditions of the time. This is an important fact to remember when looking at clay plasters and also lime plasters and lime mortars in practice.

Clay plasters, lime plasters and lime mortars have many complex qualities and require a proper understanding. Given that understanding they can perform to a very high level, and are durable and attractive in any application.