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 lime. I.e. that which has 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: aged limewash, cement and rotten quoins.


Below: the aged patina of the old limewash remains and is now complemented by the natural and new hot lime mortar and repaired quoins.


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. I never rush my work; I never cut corners. 


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 has, and 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. 


A little history: The ways of preparing mortar were originally passed down from father to son, or master to apprentice, hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately these recipes were misinterpreted during the 80s lime revival. It now means that the current approach to NHL and lime putty is historically incorrect in relation to the way things were done hundred of years ago. 

This realisation occurred after old mortars were deconstructed where it was revealed that most were made from quicklime. We now know that the old mortars had 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 using the same high free lime content mortar. Some of which I mix hot by using quicklime. 

This is made in-situ and the result of slaking lime the same way as it was hundreds of years ago.

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 highest quality. When like-for-like craftsmanship is required, that is what I provide.  

I have two decades of experience of dealing with grade two listed buildings and other ancient and historic properties. 
 
My focus is primarily on exclusively built properties in prime locations where I can provide 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.  



The fact is, 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 reveals the grains whilst creating a protective coat which weatherproofs the mortar until completely hard.

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 required due to possible 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. In addition I also have a PGCE which enables me to work in the further education sector where I've taught psychology, sociology, horticulture, plant and soil science, drystone walling, basic brick laying and English as a foreign language.

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 and stone repointing and repair as well as heritage plastering.  

I have worked to a sufficiently high standard to enable me to be considered for work on National Trust properties. My preference, though, 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 (when it's not winter).

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.