Traditional mass-masonry wall construction

Lime Work

Traditional mass-masonry wall construction (which includes most walls built before 1919) works on the basis that moisture entering a wall is able to escape in the form of water and water vapour as easily as possible. Lime mortars can readily handle the transmission between the inside and outside of a masonry wall, owing to the complex interconnected pore structure of masonry.

Why use Lime?

The use of cement mortars is widely recognised as being detrimental to such buildings and structures as they can drastically alter the way in which a wall handles water and water vapour. Cement mortars tend to have a consistent and ‘closed’ pore structure that traps water. Trapped moisture will expand when frozen, and mortars may ultimately fail, often causing damage to the surrounding masonry in the process.
Lime is important to these solid walls as it lets the walls breathe and allows moisture to dissipate, the building can adapt freely in response to environmental conditions.
The first time you might come across lime work is when you strip off layers of modern paint and old wallpaper. Old crumbly lime may come off by accident or design, revealing stonework, brickwork, wooden laths or other surprises!

These patches are relatively easy to repair with lime if the right methods and materials are used. The golden rule here is patience, ripping off large areas of lime or pulling down lath ceilings is rarely necessary.

Lime Hemp

One of our favoured restoration materials is hemp lime, a low impact building material. Used in appropriate locations, hemp lime is a low carbon material offering good insulation properties and robustness. It's not for every situation - for example it shouldn't be used in an area that is likely to suffer damp even after restoration. But for upstairs rooms and other dry locations it can be an excellent choice.

Hot Mix Lime

When we add water to lime that has come from the kiln a chemical reaction turns it to hot mix lime. This exothermic reaction may lead to temperatures of 250 degrees celsius, which helps the lime adhere to the aggregate that we have often blended ourselves to match existing mortar If you wish to find out any more on hot mix lime please contact Jason


customers questions

Lime allows the building to breathe, it lets moisture in and out, it also moves with the building and is far less brittle

We mostly use Hot Lime/Quick Lime because its most water pervious, if we need it to set for a problem wall we use pozzolans

We like to use Lath and Plaster its very traditional and its a method that has stood the test of time, we use Hemp Render for our ceilings as it is strong and very lightweight

My rule of thumb is at least three weeks in between coats, it must be kept moist for at least a week and allow for carbonation to take place

We use Sand which is specially blended for Lime Mortar work, we often add to the Sand if we need more large aggregate in the mix. 

In some cases we blend it ourselves to make the correct Mortar mix for the job.

Dont Do

Add Cement to Lime

Add a chemical such as Febmix

Do not dry Lime out with Heaters

Do not apply in thick quantities

Do not use ordinary building sand for Lime Rendering

We own a property built around 1850 and made of local stone. When we moved in six months ago, the gable end of the house needed repointing. We then set about getting various quotes from different people. What made Jason from Pembrokeshire Limework stand out was that he clearly loved what he did. He was keen to preserve the integrity of the house and to ensure that traditional materials were used. He was prompt, turned up when he said he would, was friendly and did an excellent job with no hidden charges. He carried out aftercare on the repointing for several weeks after the job was completed ensuring that the repointing was kept sufficiently damp so it set perfectly. Jason was as proud as I was with the final result. I cannot recommend Pembrokeshire Limework highly enough.