Specialist traditional lime putty repointing - Oxfordshire (Fully certified).

Lime putty makes a similar mortar to natural hydraulic lime in that it's porous and flexible. In some cases it creates a much lighter mortar. I have clients and architects who specify it because they feel it more appropriate. However, it cannot be used during the cooler months or on properties with a high moisture content.

Below: The Old Bakery at Shrivenham before refurbishment work began.

After: 1 x lime putty, 2x Ginger Wilkes and 1 x 50/50 

Before: Buckland cottage.




If you'd like to see how this work  was done then please view it on YouTube:

Lime putty (commonly referred to as non-hydraulic lime or fat lime) is a product used exclusively on older properties. It is the mortar which was originally used in period property construction and its origin can  be traced back as far as construction in Roman and Egyptian times.

It is slightly softer and more vapour permeable than Natural Hydraulic lime (NHL) because of its high free lime content. It makes a lighter colour mortar which won't cure unless exposed to air. Although ideal for restoring historic buildings - it can sometimes difficult to use during wet winter months and should preferably be used when temperatures are 10 degrees or above. It also requires a different skill level than natural hydraulic lime and has been known to be a more time consuming to employ.

Before (Pury End, Northamptonshire).




When you know the right tools, procedures and mortars there's no telling what can be achieved. 

For further information on this, please go to:


When specifying putty it's worth considering it as an alternative to NHL as it can be ordered as pre-mixed putty mortar. The benefit of its use are as follows.

  • It can be stored indefinitely
  • There is no need to inconvenience neighbours with noise, dust and dirt from a mixer
  • There is no need for piles of sand to sit around on site
  • If space is tight then containerised mortar can be stacked and used when required
  • It can be used indoors without the need for potentially damaging wheelbarrow traffic
  • It can cut down the hassle factor because it can be supplied already mixed.

Please see the photos below for examples of what this looks like when mixed with a good sand.


Close up view:

The best putty to use is one which has been matured for years. 

Hockmore Cottage, Cowley, before:


When to use putty:

  • Non-hydraulic lime is compatible with weak and weathered stone
  • If your building is old and is prone to movement because it sits on insubstantial foundations then lime putty is ideal because it is argued to be the most flexible mortar and many believe it copes better with settlement
  • When it is important that mortar and not the stonework becomes the sacrificial element in the building.

When not to use lime putty: 

When the building is very damp. Putty requires a dry environment to cure. Damp buildings prevent this therefore NHL should be used as this will set in the presence of moisture. If NHL is not to be specified then putty with sufficient pozzolan will suffice. This will enable it to cope with:

Very exposed areas and chimneys.

The winter months.

When curing times are a priority.

Before: earth-lime built barn in Hampton Poyle.

During: rake out and new mortar application.

After final brushing. Now carbonation starts.

 If you'd like to know more then please go to http://mike-teacherlife.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-use-of-lime-putty.html

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