You have probably seen them on TV, books, in quaint villages maybe in one of the open air museums. The Traditional building, Cottage’s, old farmhouse, miner’s cottage call them what you will they have a look and feel that is hugely comforting and homely. A traditional decorating style easily recognized and attractive, these traditional buildings are part of our heritage and should be conserved as part of our history.

I am not just talking about listed buildings the ones that obviously need to be treated gently and with respect but the average building of the same nature of which in Wales alone account for nearly one third of the housing stock (Half a million homes) and you might be living in one right now.

Using traditional paint and finishes this dining room is comfortable, homely and in keeping with the character of the building

The basic fact is that nearly all these buildings have a solid wall construction with lime mortar free of a damp course or wall cavity, built almost straight on the ground and the overruling factor about a traditional building is its need to ‘breathe’ to be able to allow moisture to pass through its structure without barriers which would allow it to settle and cause problems.

Many people reading this may have experienced a traditional solid wall building and will instantly react and say they are terribly damp, cold places that need a lot of work and cost a fortune to heat. This is only true of building that have been mistreated to some degree by misunderstanding of the materials required to solve the problem. A lot of modern cement, gypsum based products even paint and wallpaper do not allow moisture to pass through , they do not breathe.

As a result this moisture then builds up and is forced to another area, this can then be seen visually or in a worse case scenario slowly deteriorate a building from the inside out and by the time you realize then you have major work on your hands. Dampness is caused from a wide ranging number of issues, from a higher external ground level, badly fitted windows to a leaky gutter, it is not something that can be diagnosed over the phone or from a moisture meter reading.

The natural reation should you have a damp problem and invite a builder round to assess the situation, they take a meter reading deduce rising damp and recommend any form of tanking or bitumen without looking outside or elsewhere to find a problem, I advise you show them the door as they are not going to solve anything but merely hide an ongoing issue. Lime plaster, various clays, limewash and distemper all act in the same manner allowing the building to breathe and help maintain a balanced home. These products can be made up or bought off the shelf, but they do need to be treated in a slightly different way than their modern counterparts.

Linseed paints used externally at St Fagans, Cardiff

What we can offer you is our knowledge and experience of traditional materials. Of course we can redecorate or property with traditional materials but we can also supply or even make up traditional paints for you to use yourselves. Limewash and linseed oil paint can be supplied at request and can  also be tinted.

We can also help with the assessment of a building and what course of action needs to be taken or we can put you in touch with a host of people that will be able to help fix any problem in the correct manner. An important part of an old building is its windows and doors something that if maintained can last hundreds of years and we can help repair damaged timber to help maintain the appearance and look of a building

Contact us on 07528 467 284 or email us at

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