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Lime Vs Cement: Which Material is Right for You? 

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Lime Vs Cement: Which Material is Right for You? 

When it comes time to repoint or render a building, you need to use the right material depending on the age of the property. Using modern materials, such as cement, on a pre-19th century structure can cause you lots of headaches and have a big impact on its appearance and structural integrity. In these cases, lime is the advisable choice. 

So let’s take a look at lime vs cement and determine which is better for your project. 

Should I use lime or cement for a modern building? 

Cement forms concrete, which is renowned for its durability and waterproofing abilities. This makes it a highly desirable choice for rendering and repointing modern buildings, particularly replacing missing mortar joints. 

Impervious and hard-wearing, modern buildings can greatly benefit from the use of cement rendering and repointing, as the material matches with the more durable contemporary building materials. These days, we need structures that are watertight and that are invulnerable to decay and moisture accumulation – and this makes concrete the obvious choice. 

This is not the case for historical buildings, however, which we will now explore. 

Should I use lime or cement for a traditional building? 

Unlike modern structures, many historical buildings rely on breathability and the ability of moisture to evaporate from the building and back out into the atmosphere – something which concrete simply does not allow. 

While cement is designed to be hardy and waterproof, these qualities are not suitable for fragile historical or traditional structures. The lack of breathability of concrete repointing means that lime is favoured when working on older buildings or masonry. In fact, if concrete is used to render and repoint old buildings, then the impervious rigidity of the cement laid over the top of old lime-based materials can cause issues such as discolouration, cracking, spalling and eventually, major structural problems. 

So what should you use? For historic buildings, lime should be the material of choice for repointing. As part of preserving the rich heritage of the UK, lime is considered to be a more workable, breathable material than concrete and therefore more suitable to older structures. 

The difficulty is in finding a company who is skilled at the more traditional lime repointing techniques. So here at Avant Garde, we’re happy to help with your project as our team is highly experienced at carrying out traditional building repairs. 

If you’re searching for traditional lime repointing for your old building, the professionals here at Avant Garde can help. We’re specialists at crafting techniques that enable us to carry out authentic repairs for traditional structures, so just get in touch to see how we can help. Our team is a leading company for lime repointing and cosmetic repair for London and beyond.


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