Specialist lime mortar repointing - Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire.

I am a heritage conservation mortar specialist. For practical purposes, and as a service to my clients, I use only the best natural hydraulic limes, those with the highest free lime content and the lowest compressive strength. These are much kinder to natural stone and aged brickwork and present the best finish. 

Below: cement and rotten quoins.


Below: new hot lime mortar and repaired quoins.


In the case of hot lime mortars I use only the highest quality quicklime and sands which are not readily available locally. These are triple washed and blended to make the most porous, flexible, robust and beautiful mortars.

My tools and equipment are top quality and I achieve an outstanding finish by increasing the amount of time spent on every aspect of the work including the most important final brushing.

Most period properties have suffered the damaging effects of unqualified and inexperienced workmanship coupled to the use of inappropriate materials. I see it all the time. The lure of cheap work is not without its consequences and the built environment is taking a hammering. Please, please please: The time for this to end is now. Have it done right and do your property, yourselves and future generations a favour. 


History teaches us that, traditionally, quicklime was slaked on site in the production of lime mortar. It has always been understood that good mortar was mixed to a ratio of 1:3. That's one part lime, three parts sand. We know this because in historic records,1:3 mixes were specified by architects and master builders. 

However, the aforementioned quicklime mix meant that the lime content increased through slaking and it's taken this long for us to understand - through mortar analysis - that the way we use lime nowadays falls way short of what the craftsmen of yesteryear intended. 

The ways of preparing mortar, passed down from father to son hundreds of years ago, have today been interpreted incorrectly and it now means that the current approach to combining NHL or wet lime putty and sand on site can lead to problems. 

This realisation has only been made possible by deconstructing old mortars to reveal that most were made in a way which meant there was a far higher lime content than we ever imagined.

Through many years of practise, in combination with the study of academic research, I can at last bring true historic artisan craftsmanship to period stone and brick built properties.  

I work with my hands, my mind and my heart and have learned over the years that the best quality materials are the only way forward. 

What you get from me is the best. When like-for-like craftsmanship is required, that is what I provide.  

With nearly two decades of experience of dealing with grade two listed buildings and other ancient and historic properties. My main intention is to provide unrivalled quality where the delivery of craftsmanship to discerning clients is concerned.

 
My focus is primarily on exclusively built properties in prime locations where I can provide top quality to owners who are looking for superior workmanship. My customers have usually concluded that to do a good job sympathetically takes time and are unwilling to settle for anything other than the absolute best.  



For beautifully textured natural stone  and brickwork to retain its lasting appearance it needs a quality natural mortar to keep nature at bay. 

I specialise in the restoration of high-end stone and antique brick properties

To see how I get the best results go to:




Choosing someone who fails to understand the mechanics and science of older properties can have disastrous results as specialist skills and materials are required on historic buildings. These resist water penetration whilst remaining porous and flexible. Moisture is wicked away from buildings ensuring they remain weatherproof, watertight and dry.

In the case of repointing, newly mortared joints often need to be brush finished and not trowel finished. This technique makes the grains uniform and creates a protective coat which weatherproofs the mortar until completely hard which takes about a year.

A top-end result cannot be achieved without the appropriate tools. I have many of these specially made and my array includes hand-cast axes with which to dress stone in addition to specifically adapted trowels which facilitate work on non-standard joints.



I also work with natural cement ((opus caementicium) which, once combined with lime hydrate becomes ideal for repointing, plastering and stucco work. 



Natural cement was patented back in 1796 by the Rev. James Barker. It's made to the original recipe and has had nothing added and nothing taken away. It's vapour open in nature and is simply crushed, kilned and air slaked gault stone. It's uncomplicated, breathable, flexible, natural hydraulic cement which is desirable for its long term durability. However, it is much softer than Ordinary Portland Cement and its porous nature means it is ideally suited to heritage property as its qualities are the same as NHL. Its strength can be increased or decreased depending on the nature of the work and the environment. 



I always try and preserve the external fabric of a building and so use specialist products such as Rowland Premix




Lithomex masonry repair mortar is also a favourite as it allows for complex sensitive repairs to intricate brick and stonework.




My repertoire of sympathetic products also contains crushed chalk and hemp shiv which is used where insulating lime plaster is required.


 


I also use pozzalana when necessary i.e. if conditions dictate or if a stronger compressive strength is specified due to damage from severe weather or cracking.

For high end work I include the use of marble dust in my plasters:



If you wish to give your property the finest treatment in order to keep it optimally maintained then please call for a free no obligation written quotation.



Whilst I work for you, you will have the benefit of my knowledge of period properties which earned me a college lectureship in the further education sector.




A little about me:
I originate from the north of England and am an out-door man. I'm most happy in isolated rural environments where craggy fell-sides drop down to rivers and streams which meander along glacial valley floors. I was schooled in the county of North Riding and have a degree from the  University of Reading.  I have applied my scientific background to the study and understanding of the mechanics of traditional building and restoration techniques and now specialise in brick, stone and cob built grade 1 and grade 11 listed buildings. 

I am trained to a high standard and have been regularly asked to tender for work by the National Trust and also building companies who only employ the most experienced craftsmen to work on their restoration projects. Nevertheless, my preference is for privately owned stone or antique brick properties to which I can employ my skills as an artisan craftsman working sympathetically to a high standard in the company of my faithful Jack Russell terrier, Doris.

I'm a straight talking and direct Yorkshireman from whom you can expect honesty and integrity.  
 

                       

Please note: the contents of this website are copyright and are owned by Michael James. Reproduction without permission is an infringement of copyright law. 

For lime repointing in Stow-on-the-Wold, Idbury, Shipton-under-Wychwood, Ascott-Under-Wychwood, Swinbrook, Oddington, Burford, Swerford, Bourton-on-the-Water, Kingham, Chipping Norton, Charlbury, Bruern, Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, Eastleach, Moreton-in-the-Marsh.