Metals pervade historic buildings, most obviously in the form of decorative architectural metalwork such as balconies and railings adorning the façade. However, metals were also extensively used for roofing and structural support. Lead, iron, steel, and copper alloys can Continue reading
Plaster is paradoxically both a simple and a complex material. At it’s simplest, it’s a mix of sand, a binder (lime in traditional plasters, gypsum in modern plasters) and a range of possible additives to improve both properties and lifespan. It’s a versatile, practical building material that can be applied to brick, stone, earth and timber. It’s strong, durable and breathable, fire resistant, and also reduces sound transmission. It can be finished in a variety of ways including stencilling, decorative painting, wallpaper, whitewash and with ornamental plaster fixtures. And while this all sounds quite wonderful, owners of period properties are often faced with damaged and decaying plasterwork requiring restoration.
When faced with restoration, the first question should always be “Why is this happening??”. The most essential prerequisite to restoring plasterwork is to identify the cause of the problem, and to address this. Plaster is a rigid, durable and long-lasting material, and wholescale failure is uncommon unless the house has been abandoned and/or roofless for some time. Continue reading