Please note that all paints are handmade to order and the current lead time is 3 - 4 days.

Lime Putty Mortars – Winter Working Guidelines

The use of lime putty mortars externally during the winter months is not advocated, and certainly not when the temperature is below 5°C and falling. External work should be scheduled to avoid the period from October to March. Frost is a serious risk to new lime putty mortar and the low winter temperatures impede curing. Natural Hydraulic limes can be an alternative in appropriate situations.


If external work is scheduled in winter protection is vital. Complete enclosure of the area to be worked, preferably with gentle heating introduced to maintain a consistent background temperature will normally protect the work during cold periods.

Heating must be carefully managed as aggressive heating or rapid changes in temperature will also cause problems to curing mortar. Propane gas heating will also introduce additional carbon dioxide which may aid carbonation.

Protection should be left in place throughout the vulnerable time of year until the danger of frosts is over.  Scaffolding should be adequate to support protective impervious sheeting and any potential wind loadings should be considered. Beware of any splash zones at the base of walls or from abutting roofs.

Covering new work with layers of bubble wrap, hessian and tarpaulins/waterproof sheeting may help to provide insulation and ensure protection from wind, strong sun and driven rain as well as frost. Plastic backed decorators dust sheets may also be useful. An air gap of at least 100mm should be left between the protection and the new work, with air allowed to adequately circulate and vent out, avoiding cold spots or rapid drying/overheating. In very harsh conditions this may not be sufficient to prevent frost damage.

Work protected by sheeting should be uncovered on warm, dry days to promote carbonation. Hessian alone is not a suitable protection in winter conditions as it may become water logged, rot and freeze whilst allowing wind to blow through it.

Weather Forecasts/Frost

Regular reviewing of weather forecasts is essential and work should cease ahead of any frost forecast.

The Brick Industry Association, Technical Note 1 states, “Mortar which freezes is not as weather-resistant or as watertight as a mortar that has not been frozen. Furthermore, significant reductions in compressive and bond strength may occur. Mortar having a water content over 6 to 8 percent of the total volume will experience disruptive expansive forces if frozen due to the increase in volume of water when it is converted to ice. Thus, the bond between the unit and the mortar may be damaged or destroyed.” 

Although putty mortars may achieve an initial set after several days they continue to carbonate for a lengthy period and are vulnerable to frost during this time. Whilst moisture remains in the mortar it can be vulnerable to frost for weeks and even months. There are no hard and fast timings as environmental factors on site vary.

It is advisable to record the temperatures of each day of work to refer back too should issues arise in the future.

During periods of low temperature too much moisture can retard carbonation. If the substrate is already wet it will require less mist spraying than at warmer/drier times.


All lime putty material stored on site should be kept off the ground and under cover in a frost free environment, ideally inside.


As with lime putty work at all times of the year a lack of appropriate tending can affect carbonation and lead to failures, but this risk is increased during colder weather. Please be aware we cannot be held responsible for the way in which materials are stored or used after delivery.

Important Notice: This information sheet is not intended as a specification for work undertaken during the winter. It is based on experience and knowledge of best-practice only and provided in good faith.

Hair/Fibre Reinforcement in Plasters & Renders

Animal hair has been added to strengthen and reduce shrinkage in lime plasters for centuries. This reinforcement is particularly important when applying basecoat plaster to laths (especially ceiling laths) as it reinforces and strengthens the crucially important nibs from which the ceiling plaster ‘hangs’. The first ‘pricking-up’ coat traditionally contains hair reinforcement at a rate of at least 8kgs/m3 (c.4kgs/tonne). Subsequent coats to lathwork and all coats to solid backgrounds normally have hair added at the reduced rate of 5kgs/m3 (c.2.5kgs/tonne).

Hay and straw were sometimes used as alternatives, but the vast majority of traditional basecoat plasters were reinforced with animal body hair from horse, cow, pig or goat. When examining dry historic plaster it is normal to find hair reinforcement present and apparently in good condition. However, recent analytical work is suggesting that some degradation and loss of tensile strength can occur over time.

This degradation appears to occur more rapidly in currently available animal hair. The vast majority of animal hair is now imported in neat bundles from countries where anthrax is a problem, and the hair is cleaned and sterilised in the country of origin to ensure any bacteria spores are destroyed. This treatment, which can include boiling and/or steam treating, appears to decrease the resistance to degradation and reduce the durability of the hair in the alkali lime environment. It is thought the protective keratin proteins and natural oils in the animal hair are depleted during the sterilisation treatment.

There have been failures of lime plasters (not ours, thankfully) that have been attributed to the rapid degradation of hair in the moist alkali environment. Until the situation is clarified, Rose of Jericho has decided to replace the animal hair in haired plasters and renders with a blend of polypropylene fibres and sisal plant fibre. This works well technically but lacks historic authenticity. We hope that this proves to be short-term cautious expedience and intends to revert to animal hair once a suitable alternative source of durable material is located.

Internal Lime Putty Plastering – TAN7

Lime plastering to solid masonry walls can be carried out in one, two or three coats. Three-coat work is normally necessary on uneven masonry. Two-coat work is often sufficient on flat surfaces such as brickwork. One-coat work is coarse textured finish plaster reserved for medieval and early buildings. Lime plastering to laths is always three-coat work.

Lime plastering to solid masonry walls can be carried out in one, two or three coats.
Three-coat work is normally necessary on uneven masonry. Two-coat work is often sufficient on flat surfaces such as brickwork. One-coat work is coarse textured finish plaster reserved for medieval and early buildings.
Lime plastering to laths is always three-coat work.

Three Coat Work

  1. First Coat: When applied to solid walls, this is known as the ‘scratch coat’, and when applied to laths as the ‘pricking-up coat’.
  2. Second Coat: Known as the ‘float coat’ or ‘straightening coat’. The object of this coat is to bring the surface to an even vertical or horizontal plane.
  3. Third Coat: Known as the ‘setting coat’ or ‘finishing coat’. The surface of this coat can be left slightly textured by using a wooden or sponge float or finished smooth with a steel trowel.

Lath work: Fibres are added to the pricking-up coat at a rate equivalent to 4kgs animal hair per tonne of plaster, and at an equivalent rate of 2.5kgs per tonne for the float coat.
Solid backgrounds: Fibres are added to both the scratch and float coats at a rate equivalent to 2.5kgs animal hair per tonne of plaster. Occasionally, fibres are added at a reduced rate or omitted in the float coat. Finish plasters rarely contain fibre.

Washed coarse-medium sand is used for base-coats and very fine washed quartz sand for the finish coat. The lime putty must have been matured for a minimum of six months.


Coats Parts Lime Parts Sand Thickness
1st 1 2.5 10mm (excluding nibs on laths)
2nd 1 2.5 8mm – 10mm
3rd 1 1 2mm – 3mm

First Coat

Lath work: It is not recommended that existing laths are retained. Laths (approx 30 x 6mm) should be untreated riven/hand split oak or chestnut and fixed with stainless steel ringshank nails (30 x 2.36mm). Gaps between laths to be 6-8mm. Laths are ‘block-staggered’ every 600-750mm. Laths should be butted (not overlapped) and are available in various lengths to suit joist centres and avoid wastage. Laths should be soaked 24 hrs in advance, and lightly dampened, but not over-wetted, prior to application of the pricking-up coat. Using a laying-on trowel, the basecoat plaster is applied with firm pressure at 450 to lath direction. Approximately 50% of the plaster is ‘pushed through’ the gaps between laths as it is crucial that good ‘nibs’ are formed above/behind the laths. The pricking-up coat plaster should cover the laths by 10mm. When pricking up a ceiling, a forward push from the shoulder will usually be found to be more effective and less tiring than drawing the trowel towards the body. A rough, open textured plaster surface is required.

Note: lime plaster does not adhere well to laths – it ‘hangs’ from well-formed, reinforced nibs.

Once the plaster has ‘steadied-up’ (normally an hour or so), the surface is scratched using a sharpened lath-scratcher, forming an undercut lattice pattern at 450 to laths. Sufficient pressure should be applied to cut into the surface of the work but not enough to reach the laths. Lime putty plaster tends to shrink as it cures and dries. It is best to ignore any shrinkage cracks in the pricking-up coat as any attempt to tighten them risks damage to the newly formed nibs. The pricking-up coat must be regularly moistened by mist-spraying to aid carbonation

Solid walls: Brickwork and masonry should be swept down with a stiff broom and dampened/wetted to control/reduce the suction (but not kill it altogether).
Dubbing out: Any holes or recesses should have been ‘dubbed out’ with basecoat plaster previously and allowed to dry. By throwing the dubbing-out plaster in with the ‘toe’ of the trowel a more effective bond is achieved than by spreading it. Powdery surfaces such as cob normally benefit from the application of a slurry-coat to help consolidate the surface prior to the application of the scratch coat. The scratch coat on a solid wall is simply spread over the wall with a laying-on trowel and scratched and regularly mist-sprayed as for lath work.

Second Coat

Lath work: The pricking-up coat must be allowed to cure and carbonate for 3 weeks before the float coat is applied. The pricking-up coat surface is re-wetted with water.

Solid walls: The scratch coat must be allowed to cure for about 2 weeks before the float coat is applied. The scratch coat surface is re-wetted with water.
For best quality work plaster ‘dots’ are applied and then plumbed and levelled to form ‘screeds’. These screeds are then ruled to produce a perfectly flat plumb or level surface. The ‘floating’ rule helps to compact the material during the action of ‘ruling-in’.

Once the work has ‘firmed-up’, the float coat is floated or ‘scoured’ several times to compact or consolidate the surface and minimise any shrinkage cracking with a cross-grained wood float. This should be done on the same day as application and normally again the next day. Water should be sprinkled on with a brush to assist the circular rubbing action of the float. A ‘devil float’ (wooden float with a nail projecting 2 or 3mm) is then passed over the surface to form a key for the finish coat. The float coat must also be periodically mist-sprayed to aid carbonation

Third (Finish) Coat

Once the float coat is ‘leather-hard’, normally 2 to 3 days depending on temperature and humidity, the finish coat is applied circa 2-3mm thick.

The float coat is first dampened down with water to reduce the suction. Finish plaster is then applied, often in two ‘wet-on-wet’ coats with a laying-on trowel. When the work is firm enough it is well scoured 2 or 3 times, and lightly steel-trowelled using a minimum of water. Finally, a semi-dry brush is passed over the surface in opposite directions to slightly open the surface to receive paint.

Two Coat Work

Two coat work to solid backgrounds consists of one base-coat and one finish coat. It is normally reserved for flat substrates such as brickwork, and occasionally employed where no attempt to even-out the surface is required, and the plaster is to simply follow the contours of the wall.
The base-coat is applied in the same way as the scratch coat in three coat work, but is scoured and finished with a devil float as with the float coat.
Finish plaster is then applied as in three-coat work. It is appropriate in some situations for a less smooth plaster finish to be applied. A coarser texture can often be achieved by finishing fine finish plaster with a wood or sponge float, or a medium finish or coarse finish plaster can be supplied.

One Coat Work

One coat work is reserved for the repair or replacement of medieval plaster. It is usually applied c.10mm thick and is typically a coarse plaster applied to follow the contours of the wall. It is left with an open texture by finishing with a wood or sponge float.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this advice sheet and all technical advice is for guidance and is given in good faith but without warranty since the site conditions and care and skill of application are beyond our control. We can accept no liability for the performance of our products, beyond the value of the material supplied. This does not affect your statutory rights.

Hot Mixes

There is renewed interest in hot-mixed non-hydraulic lime mortars with many proponents being of the view that lime mortars prepared in this way have advantages over the normal practice of mixing lime putty and sand. Hot mixed mortars are those where quicklime, aggregate, and water are mixed together at the same time, and either used immediately while still hot or stored and allowed to cool for later use. The quicklime is therefore slaked and mixed in the same operation and much heat produced, hence the term ‘hot-mix’.

There is little doubt that historically lime mortars were often produced in this way. There were logistical advantages associated with the delivery of quicklime to site, and lime putty production, maturation, storage and transport were avoided. I recall speaking to a plasterer some 25 years ago who had worked repairing bomb-damaged buildings in post-war London, and he recalled mixing Dorking chalk quicklime with sand, hair and water on a board in the road, and using this base-coat plaster immediately.

Hot mixes were often specified in cold or frosty weather, with the proportion of lime increasing as the temperature fell. Work was to be stopped only if the temperature fell to less than minus -70C. The mortar was to be mixed in a shed at a temperature of at least +10C, and all work was to be protected with sacking.

The two principal questions that need to be addressed are:

  1. Is there verifiable evidence to show that there is an advantage in the hot-mix method?
    and if so…
  2. What is the explanation for the improved performance?

Many hot-mix site trials are being conducted, often under the direction of Historic England and Historic Scotland and hopefully the results of these trials and the performance data will be published, as there is not yet sufficient data on which to base an assessment other than a subjective opinion.

Many proponents of the hot-mix method believe a more intimate bond between lime and sand is achieved due to the heat produced during mixing. Some speculate that the hot alkali lime etches the surface of silica sand particles, possibly releasing potentially reactive silica. I have been looking for evidence of this ever since the last period of renewed interest in hot-mixes in the late 1990s, and have not seen this, nor am I aware of any analysts or analytical laboratories that have.

A possible explanation for any improved performance might simply be that the hot-mix method allows more lime-rich mortars. 1: 3 quicklime to sand ratio roughly equates to 2: 3 lime putty to sand.

A weakness in the hot-mix proposal is the fact that many seem to think it necessary to gauge hot-mixes with hydraulic lime, begging the question of why should this be necessary if a hot-mix has an advantage over putty.

A reason to hope that the hot-mix method might have advantages is that it is becoming clear that hydraulic limes are in many cases far too strong for historic/traditional building repair. Historic England is conducting a comparative assessment of all currently available hydraulic limes and we look forward to the results and their appraisal with great interest.

For now, our position at Rose of Jericho must remain that the hot-mix method is potentially interesting but there is as yet insufficient data and long-term in-service evaluation on which to base an informed assessment.

Quicklime is a significantly more dangerous material than lime putty or hydraulic lime. Because of the vigorous reaction with water, quicklime causes severe irritation and burns when inhaled or in contact with moist skin or eyes. Quicklime is not considered a fire hazard, but its reaction with water can release enough heat to ignite combustible materials.

Calcareous Aggregates

Traditional lime mortars carbonate ‘within’ as well as on the surface

Two groups of aggregate have a positive chemical effect on mortar performance:

Calcareous Aggregates

This is calcium carbonate present as limestone aggregate but also as un-burnt material in the lime.
The reaction series that is critical to the performance of historic lime mortars is carbonation, and
not the hydration of calcium silicates and calcium aluminates.

To understand this, it is necessary to understand the chemistry of carbonation, and this is more complicated than generally thought.

Carbonation is generally understood in the oversimplified reaction of:
Ca(OH)2 + CO2  CaCO3 ( lime + carbon dioxide  calcium carbonate )

As moisture is necessary, this reaction should be written:
x.H2O + CO2 + Ca(OH)2  CaCO3 + y.H2O

In fact:

The first reaction is that of CO2 + H2O to form H2CO3 (carbonic acid). Reactivity increases in the presence of acidity in rainwater. It is this carbonic acid that reacts with lime on the surface of mortar to produce calcium carbonate.
Ca(OH)2 + H2CO3  CaCO3 + 2H2O

The depth of this surface reaction depends on many factors including time, permeability of mortar, and relative humidity.


Carbonated lime on the surface of mortar reacts with carbonic acid to form calcium bicarbonate:
CaCO3 + H2CO3  Ca(HCO3)2(aq).

Both the calcium bicarbonate and the carbonic acid permeate into the mortar where they both react with lime to produce calcium carbonate:
Ca(OH)2 + H2CO3  CaCO3 + 2H2O
Ca(OH)2 + Ca(HCO3)2  2CaCO3 + 2H2O

In a Traditional Lime Mortar containing calcareous material, carbonation occurs within the mortar:

As long as sufficient CO2 is available to stabilise the bicarbonate in solution which is likely to occur in the long term, calcium carbonate present as limestone aggregate, or as unconverted, partially converted, or reconverted material, will, in turn, dissolve in the carbonic acid to produce calcium bicarbonate. This bicarbonate will in turn react with lime to form calcium carbonate.

CaCO3 + H2CO3  Ca(HCO3)2
Limestone aggregate + Carbonic acid  Calcium bicarbonate

Ca(HCO3)2 + Ca(OH)2  2CaCO3 + 2H2O
Calcium bicarbonate + Lime  Calcium carbonate + water

Hybrid Mortars

The Blending of Hydraulic and Non-Hydraulic Lime

There has been much discussion and disagreement concerning the blending of hydraulic and non-hydraulic lime. Those in favour of such hybrid or complex mixes can provide many examples of their successful use. English Heritage took a more cautious approach and declared a temporary moratorium on their use on grant-aided projects as the hybrid mortars were thought to have been implicated in a number of failures.

The current situation is that it is agreed that a small proportion of non-hydraulic lime (either as hydrate or putty) can be added to hydraulic lime mortars to improve workability, but it must be understood that a reduction in strength of mortar will result.

A mortar in the proportions of 4: 1: 10-12 (NHL natural hydraulic lime: non-hydraulic lime: aggregate) is agreed to be acceptable should improved workability be found to be necessary.

The chemistry of hydraulic lime is complex and available analytical data on hybrid mix performance suggests a higher reduction in compressive strength than would be expected due to the addition of non-hydraulic material.

The blending of hydraulic and non-hydraulic materials can in theory range from hydraulic hydrate with 5% putty added, to putty with 5% hydraulic hydrate added, and every variable in between. The end-product will have vastly different performance properties.

Recent Developments

Recent analytical study has found that currently available hydraulic limes appear to be achieving higher compressive strengths than previously thought. All reliable data indicates an inverse relationship between strength and permeability, and there is growing concern that modern hydraulic limes might be both too strong and insufficiently permeable for use on traditional buildings.

With this in mind, it is thought sensible to revisit hybrid mortars and in certain situations consider other blend ratios, possibly up to a 50/50 blend of Natural Hydraulic Lime and non-hydraulic lime.

Note that a small proportion of hydraulic lime should never be added to non-hydraulic mortar.

Traditional Lean Limes

Historically, Shillingstone, Totternhoe, Dorking and many other limeworks produced ‘lean limes’. These combined the good working properties of non-hydraulic ‘fat’ lime with some slight hydraulicity. Sadly, no traditional lean-lime plant is currently in operation.

Lean limes were ‘grey’ or ‘chalk’ limes – first choice materials produced by calcining lower bed chalk in a traditional flare or draw kiln at a temperature rarely in excess of 950 C.

The superior properties of these materials in relation to modern non-hydraulic lime were:
• Improved durability
• Reduced shrinkage
• Faster stiffening
• Greater resistance to freezing and salts crystallization

The reasons for these superior properties are:
• The raw material was unprocessed and contained a small proportion of mineral ‘impurities’. The kiln was coal, charcoal or wood fired and traditional lime putty contained fuel ash. Some ‘impurities’ become reactive towards lime in the kiln and form stable pozzolanic compounds that provide a weak hydraulic set in addition to carbonation.
• Traditional lime-kilns rarely got hotter than 950 C and it was therefore very rare for lime to contain over-burnt material.
• The putty and mortars produced using it contained “under-burnt” and kiln reconverted calcium carbonate. The presence of this carbonate ‘porous particulate’ aids carbonation by ‘seeding’ calcite crystal growth.
• Lean quicklime took up less water during slaking producing denser putty. Shrinkage of mortar due to water loss was therefore reduced.

Maturation of Lime Putty

It was less necessary for lean lime putty to be matured for a prolonged period prior to use as it formed a useable consistency more quickly, nor could it contain over-burnt material that can spoil finished work by late hydration. The presence of this less reactive over-burnt material in modern quicklime is one of the principal reasons for the need to mature modern putty lime.


It is thought that lean lime putty should have been used soon after slaking as the hydraulic properties might be lost, and advice for the use of Totternhoe lime was that enough lime should be slaked on a Friday for the following week’s mortar. However, whilst there may be some loss of hydraulicity in stored or matured lean lime putty, maturation did not impair performance, and a matured lean lime putty was still a superior material.

Maturing Lime Putty

Lime Putty used for the production of lime mortars, plasters, and renders must be of the best quality and the ageing or ‘maturing’ of non-hydraulic lime putty is an essential part of the production of best quality material. Lime putty should be properly matured for a minimum of 6 months, and longer maturation periods are necessary for many conservation applications.

Three processes occur during maturation:

  1. Any ‘slow to slake’ particles of over-burnt or partially converted quicklime remaining after the slaking process can continue to slake during maturation in the pit or porous container.
  2. Water is lost by drainage and evaporation and the density of the putty increases.
  3. Lime crystals (portlandite) undergo important morphological and dimensional changes during ageing which results in improved plasticity, workability and water retention. The crystals reduce in size but also change shape becoming ‘platelike’ or flat. (Getty Conservation Institute 1998)

The maturation of non-hydraulic lime putty is not the only factor in the production of best quality material, and maturation alone does not guarantee best quality.

The following should therefore be noted:

  1. The proportions of quicklime and water during the slaking process must be carefully controlled. A temperature of between 950C and 1000C should be maintained in the material itself during slaking. The lime will not achieve this temperature if too much water is used, and ‘drowned’ putty is an inferior material. There is a danger also of “burning” the lime during slaking if insufficient water is used, and too high a temperature has a tendency to coagulate the minute colloidal particles and diminish plasticity.
  2. The putty must be matured in a porous pit or vessel (not a plastic tub) where excess water is free to drain and/or evaporate. It must also be protected from frost during this process.
  3. The density of lime putty should always be checked as this gives a good indication of consistency and quality. Lime putty should have a density of at least 1.35g/ml and 1.40g/ml is indicative of good quality material.

Tempering Lime Putty Mortars

‘Tempering’ is the practice of allowing Lime putty mortar to stand undisturbed for a period of time in the wet state before use.

The workability of pre-mixed lime putty mortars and plasters can improve if left to stand undisturbed for a period of time before use.

Whilst this tempering may be justified in certain situations, the practice is the least important phase in the production of best quality mortars and plasters, and has some disadvantages. If mortar is to be tempered, a period of one week is recommended when six month mature putty is used – tempering for a longer period is superfluous.

More important criteria for the production of best quality mortars and plasters are:

• The use of a good quality matured lime putty of correct density
• The selection of good well-graded aggregate of appropriate particle size and range.
• The correct lime: aggregate ratio.
• Thorough mixing preferably in pan-mixer or roller mill.

Situations where ‘tempering’ might be advantageous are:

• Hot-mixed lime mortars (mortars produced by mixing quicklime with aggregate) are probably best tempered for at least 1 month to allow any unconverted quicklime to slake during the tempering process.
• Workability of mortars containing porous aggregate may be improved.
• Mortars stiffen during tempering and this may be an advantage in certain applications.

Reasons for not tempering for a prolonged period are:
• Mortars can become too stiff to use necessitating the addition of water before use. The addition of water to lime putty mortar is best avoided due to the increased risk of shrinkage.
• Animal hair in haired plasters degrades during tempering necessitating the addition of more hair immediately before use.

Traditional Paints – Limewash and Distemper

Limewash and Distemper have a beauty hard to match with modern paints. They possess softness of texture and purity of colour lacking from their modern equivalents. They are based on natural binders, fillers, and earth and mineral powder pigments and are characterised by a lack of uniformity with subtle variations of colour and tone.

Limewash and Distemper are vapour permeable and allow the building to ‘breathe’ and are therefore suitable for use in traditional buildings, and particularly appropriate for the decoration of porous building materials – lime plasters and renders, limestone, soft brick, cobs and daubs.

When properly applied to appropriate surfaces, they do not dry with a powdery finish and do not readily brush off on clothes.

Traditional paints are made with natural sustainable ingredients and are environmentally friendly products containing no VOCs, lead, or petrochemical based ingredients.

Limewashes are used both internally and externally. When used externally, casein or tallow is added to improve the ‘water-shedding’ properties. Casein, a natural glue derived from milk, improves adhesion and Casein Limewash is also used internally on less porous hydraulic lime plasters and masonry. It is also less likely to rub off than Pure Limewash. Limewashes can only be applied to previously painted surfaces if the existing paint is limewash. They should not be applied to previously distemper or emulsion painted surfaces.

Distempers are matt finish water-based paints for internal use only. Three types are available – Soft Distemper, Casein Distemper, and Oil-bound Distemper. Soft Distemper is the most permeable of the three and normally used on ceilings and moulded plasterwork. It is used on walls, but generally in ‘low-usage’ areas, as it can be washed off with a wet sponge. Casein Distemper and Oil-bound Distemper are normally used on walls as they are more hard-wearing and more difficult to wash off. Oil-bound Distemper, the least permeable of the three, should not be applied to new lime plaster as there is a potential reaction between the linseed oil and uncarbonated alkali lime. Oil-bound Distemper is the least uniform with the most tonal variation.

Distempers are normally applied to porous building surfaces but will also adhere to modern gypsum plaster and previously emulsion painted surfaces.

Limewash, due to the thin consistency, can be ‘messy’ to apply and protections must be provided. Face and eye protection and overalls must be worn and applying limewash to ceilings is particularly hazardous and for this reason a distemper is often chosen for the decoration of ceilings. Indeed, many choose to use distemper in preference to limewash for the internal decoration of walls and ceilings.

Distempers are available in all our colours, and most colours are available in limewash. Pigments can be supplied separately for those wishing to mix their own colours.

We produce modern paint types for situations where limewash and distemper are not suitable. These include permeable emulsion paint, oil paints and non-permeable vinyl and exterior grade emulsions.

These modern paints retain much of the variety of colour and tone of the traditional as the same powder pigments are used in all paints.

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