Why use lime mortar: The benefits of repointing your property with this traditional material

Lime mortar has been used for centuries in the construction of buildings, and it is still a popular choice for repointing today. But why should you choose lime mortar over other materials when repointing your property?

Firstly, lime mortar is a breathable material, which means it allows moisture to pass through the joints. This is important because it helps to prevent damp and mould from forming inside your property. Lime mortar is also more flexible than other materials, which means it can move with the building as it expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. This helps to prevent cracking and damage to the masonry.

Another benefit of using lime mortar is that it is a more sustainable choice than other materials. Lime is a natural material that can be sourced locally, which reduces the carbon footprint of your building project. Additionally, lime mortar can be recycled and reused, which helps to reduce waste and save resources. Overall, using lime mortar to repoint your property is a wise choice that offers a range of benefits.

repoint lime mortar

What is Lime Mortar?

Lime mortar is a traditional building material that has been used for centuries in construction. It is made from a mixture of lime, sand, and water, and is used as a binding agent between bricks, stones, and other building materials.

Composition of Lime Mortar

The composition of lime mortar is key to its success as a building material. Lime mortar is made up of three main components: lime, sand, and water. The lime used in lime mortar is typically derived from limestone, which is heated to produce quicklime. The quicklime is then mixed with water to produce hydrated lime, which is the key component of lime mortar.

The sand used in lime mortar is typically fine-grained sand, which is mixed with the hydrated lime to produce a workable mortar. The water is then added to the mixture to create a paste that can be used to bind building materials together.

Types of Lime Mortar

There are several types of lime mortar, each with its own unique properties and uses. The most common types of lime mortar are:

  • Non-Hydraulic Lime Mortar: This type of lime mortar sets through a process of carbonation, which occurs when the lime mortar reacts with carbon dioxide in the air. Non-hydraulic lime mortar is typically used for repointing historic buildings, as it is more flexible and breathable than other types of mortar.


  • Hydraulic Lime Mortar: This type of lime mortar sets through a process of hydraulic curing, which occurs when the lime mortar reacts with water. Hydraulic lime mortar is typically used for new construction, as it sets more quickly than non-hydraulic lime mortar and is more resistant to water damage.


Natural Hydraulic Lime Mortar: This type of lime mortar is made from a mixture of hydraulic lime, sand, and other natural materials, such as pozzolans or volcanic ash. Natural hydraulic lime mortar is typically used for building restoration projects, as it is more similar in composition to historic lime mortars than other types of mortar.


lime mortar with stone

Why Use Lime Mortar?

When it comes to repointing your property, there are many different types of mortar available. However, we believe that lime mortar is the best choice for a number of reasons. In this section, we will explore the benefits of using lime mortar over other options.

Permeability

One of the main advantages of lime mortar is its permeability. Unlike cement-based mortars, which are impermeable, lime mortar allows moisture to move through the joints. This is important because it helps to prevent damp and water damage to your property. Lime mortar is also less likely to crack or peel over time, which can further reduce the risk of water damage.

Flexibility

Another benefit of lime mortar is its flexibility. Lime mortar is softer and more flexible than cement-based mortars, which makes it ideal for use with older properties. Older buildings are more likely to move and shift over time, and a flexible mortar like lime can help to accommodate these movements without cracking or breaking.

Durability

Finally, lime mortar is also highly durable. While it may not be as strong as cement-based mortars, it is still strong enough to provide excellent support for your property. Additionally, lime mortar is more resistant to weathering and erosion than cement-based mortars, which means that it will last longer and require less maintenance over time.

damp bricks

Comparing Lime Mortar to Cement Mortar

When it comes to repointing your property, you have a choice between using lime mortar or cement mortar. Both materials have their pros and cons, and it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision.

Dampness and Moisture

One of the biggest differences between lime mortar and cement mortar is how they handle dampness and moisture. Lime mortar is a breathable material that allows moisture to move through the joints, reducing the likelihood of issues such as damp. On the other hand, cement mortar is known to trap water in the wall, which can lead to dampness and other problems.

Structural Integrity

Another important factor to consider is the structural integrity of your property. Lime mortar is a softer material than cement mortar, which means it can move and flex with the building as it settles and shifts over time. This can help prevent cracking and other issues that can occur with a more rigid material like cement mortar.

Aesthetics

Finally, the aesthetics of your property are also an important consideration. Lime mortar has a softer, more natural look that can complement the character of an older property. Cement mortar, on the other hand, has a more uniform appearance that may not be as desirable for some homeowners.

mortar repointing bwc

Conclusion

In conclusion, using lime mortar to repoint your property is a wise decision that can bring many benefits. Not only does it offer a more aesthetically pleasing finish, but it also provides a more durable and long-lasting solution compared to modern cement-based mortars.

By using a softer, more flexible material like lime mortar, we can ensure that the repointed joints are able to move and breathe with the building, preventing any structural damage caused by cracking or water damage. Additionally, lime mortar is more porous than cement-based mortars, allowing for better moisture management and reducing the risk of dampness and mould growth.

When repointing a historic or period property, using lime mortar is especially important to maintain the authenticity and character of the building. It is also more environmentally friendly, as it is made from natural materials and requires less energy to produce than cement-based products.

People Also Ask

What are the benefits of using lime mortar for repointing?

Lime mortar has been used for centuries and is a traditional building material that offers many benefits. It is a breathable material that allows moisture to escape, reducing the risk of dampness and water damage. Lime mortar also has a degree of flexibility, which allows it to move with the building as it expands and contracts. Additionally, lime mortar is a more environmentally friendly option compared to cement mortar.

Is it necessary to use lime mortar for repointing?

While it is not always necessary to use lime mortar for repointing, it is highly recommended for historic buildings and properties with soft or porous masonry. This is because lime mortar is a softer and more flexible material than cement mortar, which helps to protect the masonry from damage. Additionally, using lime mortar can help to maintain the authenticity and character of historic buildings.

What is the difference between lime mortar and cement mortar?

Lime mortar is made from a mixture of lime, sand and water, while cement mortar is made from a mixture of cement, sand and water. Lime mortar is a softer and more flexible material than cement mortar, which makes it more suitable for historic buildings and soft or porous masonry. Additionally, lime mortar is a breathable material that allows moisture to escape, reducing the risk of dampness and water damage.

Can you repoint with cement instead of lime mortar?

While it is possible to repoint with cement instead of lime mortar, it is not recommended for historic buildings and properties with soft or porous masonry. This is because cement mortar is a harder and less flexible material than lime mortar, which can cause damage to the masonry over time. Additionally, cement mortar is not a breathable material, which can lead to dampness and water damage.

How long does lime mortar last compared to cement mortar?

Lime mortar has been used for centuries and has a proven track record of durability. When properly installed and maintained, lime mortar can last for over 60 years. Cement mortar, on the other hand, has a shorter lifespan and may need to be replaced more frequently.