- Published: 28 July 2016 28 July 2016
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No, not washing a lime used in cooking, the lime used in building – Limestone.
They are very very different but nonetheless just as useful in their own worlds as each other. If a recipe called for Lime zest and juice you wouldn’t put cheese rind and milk in its place would you? So, when a property cries out for a lime finish, why use anything else?
Lime has been used as a building medium since ancient times. Knowledge of its values in construction dates back centuries. Limestone (calcium carbonate) would have been heated (calcining) and then added to water (slaking). The Lime itself is made into different building materials, lime putty, lime render, lime wash, lime paint and Lime Mortar – more about the different uses of lime in a later blog.
Lime wash is basically lime putty with added water, is naturally white in colour and as it dries it forms a ‘complex crystalline matrix’ which gives it that beautifully rich matt depth and slightly chalky appearance. In contrast to modern-day paints lime wash sinks into the surface and hardens using carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Lime wash in Cornwall can breathe and that is the main benefit of using it. Old properties in Cornwall were generally built of solid wall construction and then lime rendered and washed and it was these materials that reduced the consequences of condensation and allowed the moisture in the walls to evaporate to the outside. Modern paints seal the condensation inside creating streaming walls and damp corners. Many people in years gone by mistakenly thought that sealing the weather out was the best practice, however, it only served to seal the dampness in.
Please don’t think that because lime wash is a natural, sustainable and breathable material that it must also be boring, it isn’t. Many colours are available using either natural or manufactured pigments.
We think that lime is beautiful, in all its forms, it sinks deep into the surface and seems to subtly change with every little imperfection in those perfectly imperfect old building walls In Cornwall.
Although we can’t quite match the wonderful vibrancy of our delicious Lime Fruit, we think that Bluegrass comes a close second and would look stunning in any home.
Picture courtesy of Mike Wye & Associates.
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