According to one Suffolk expert, limewash was not used inside homes. If true, then we’ve been doing it wrongly for years. Instead distemper made from chalk and milk casein is said to have been the covering of choice, so this winter we’ve tried it. Continue reading “Distemper”
I’ve been wondering how best to redecorate a room whose surfaces are finished in old materials – clay and plaster – but which have been painted with modern emulsion. That may be creating a breathability problem.
Very modern emulsions are impermeable to moisture. Cruder basic emulsions have a certain amount of breathability, but it’s hard to tell which it is, looking at the result at least 30 years after it was last painted. So should the emulsion be removed? Continue reading “Limewash over emulsion paint “
One of the conditions for listed building consent was that the colour of the extension must match the yellow ochre limewash of the old building, so the simplest way to do that would be to use the same limewash mix again. Hollins, the architects, instead specified Keim in the listed building consent application, a mineral paint which has been on the market for well over 100 years, and was developed in Bavaria as a more durable substitute for limewash. I’d never heard of it before, but a web search shows it is widely known.
Felix Oliver, our next door neighbour, replaced the old stairs with a new oak staircase to a similar pattern but much better finished. The design was negotiated with, and approved by, building control. The result has been widely admired. It fits perfectly at the top to a very uneven sloping floor. Felix is a professional wooden boatbuilder as well as a specialist in oak-framed buildings – see this link to Suffolk Timber Frame Buildings – and his boatbuilding skills show. He also installed 3 new oak studs to replace the rather agricultural – and recent – softwood posts that had been there before.
Insulation was put in the roof above the north bedroom, bathroom and landing, but only on the flat surfaces – the side sloping surfaces were too difficult to access. Part of the the loft area was then floored so it could be used for storage. We discovered that modern polystyrene insulation had been laid under the tiles of the roof when it was redone about 30 years ago and it seems to be intact. There is still a substantial airgap round the rafters, which is reassuring.
The south and east walls were limewashed, pending full re-rendering. All the external window surfaces were oiled with linseed. We couldn’t decide what colour to paint them and linseed oil seems a very good wood preservative and water repellent, so we may just keep coating them for a year or two.
The pond was cleared, removing hundreds of tons of mud, using it to landscape the garden and shrink the overall size of the pond back to where it probably was before the banks were broken down – see the blogroll link to the pond blog for all the details. This took from July to nearly the end of the year so very little was done on the house during this time.
The wall repaired in 2009 was limewashed the following spring with a colour made up to our specification by Ted Ingleby, the well known traditional paint manufacturer of Glemsford, Suffolk, which he called Rodgers Flint. We asked him to match the very attractive colour of the render itself, which came from the sand we used. (We took it to him painted onto a flint). The recipe is on his file and we have continued to order it.
There turned out to be a bit of controversy over grades of limewash – one for the those into the detail of repairing old buildings. Ted is very keen on an ancient Suffolk recipe using tallow, which he markets for outdoor use. It can cover a wall effectively in three coats rather than five and is very waterproof, and has considerably better coverage and durability than some other versions of limewash. But various books we consulted advised against tallow as not breathable enough, and suggested linseed oil was better, or even plain limewash in sheltered positions. Three of our walls are very sheltered.
We decided to add new coats the following year, 2011, using Ted Ingleby’s interior limewash, with linseed oil, on the outside. Continue reading “Limewash”