Lime Pointing

All pre-1900 buildings were built with lime and should therefore ideally be pointed with lime too. Cement pointing is very hard and because of its lack of flexibility it will crack over time when used in old properties, as the walls move and try to breathe. Once cement pointing cracks it allows water to get into the structure of the building, without letting it escape again or evaporate. This leads to damp problems and can result in severe structural issues if not recognised or addressed.

At Lime Repair we have plenty of experience in removing cement pointing and replacing it with lime. It is a job that must be done with great care, so the other building materials such as brick or flint are not damaged.

Normally we do a dissolution test first to analyse what aggregates were used in the original pointing by taking a chunk of the original or existing lime mortar. We can then match these using aggregates, ashes and chalk to achieve the right colour and texture, recapturing the original look of the property.

Lime pointing benefits from a colourful, soft-looking, textured finish as opposed to cement which tends to be grey and hard. Lime pointing can handle movement through the seasons and as the building absorbs and releases moisture, so if it is done properly it should be more-or-less maintenance free.

Rudge Hall rear garden side with extensive lime pointing to stone and brickwork.
John Howard applying lime pointing mix to stonework. The joints are overfilled at this stage.
Lime pointed stonework, the joints are overfilled at this stage.
The lime pointing has been knocked back with a churn brush. This helps to create a more even flat surface to allow rain water to run down the wall without collecting in the joints avoiding premature weathering.
This cement pointing is further damaging the historical brickwork. It’s density and lack of porosity forces moisture out through the brick causing premature weathering and damp issues.
Cement pointing has been removed and taken back to the original lime mortar, ready for fresh lime pointing to be applied.
Lime pointing complete and knocked back to create a flat surface to allow rain water to run off without collecting in the joints. The limes soft breathable nature should help protect the historic brickwork from further weathering.
Lime pointing complete, the pointing has been knocked flat to allow water run off.
When working on old buildings we may have the original lime mortar analysed and where necessary seek expert advice as here from Nigel Gervis of Ty-Mawr Lime Ltd.