Specialists in Period, Listed and Historic Buildings
The History of Lime
Lime mortar is a long established traditional building material with an interesting historical background. It is an entirely natural, traditional building mortar and render.
Its origin can be traced back to the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans who all used an ancient form of it extensively in construction.
It is widely used in building conservation, because many old buildings were originally built with this mortar. It is best conservation practice to use the original or most compatible building materials. Hydraulic lime render shares the practical benefits of modern cement based mortars but simply has none of the disadvantages.
The Romans developed the burning of limestone to make lime for use in building as a mortar, although there is little evidence of their kilns in the country.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the calcite (CaCO3 calcium carbonate).
Burning limestone, gives you quick lime, calcium oxide. Mixed with water this produces slaked lime, calcium hydroxide. Slaked lime was also used as lime putty for building. This is soft when first mixed, but with time absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and hardens as it reverts back to calcium limestone.
Most of those kilns such as the one pictured ceased production as portland cement
gained widespread use replacing hydraulic lime. Today mainly non-
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A Limestone outcrop on Dartmoor the type used for making lime mortar as described below