How long does lime render last?

how long does lime render last
A period cottage that has been re-rendered in lime mortar

Here at Leyden, it’s been an incredibly busy few months and one project that we’ve recently completed was a beautiful period property in Plympton St Maurice.

From the very start, the owners wanted to do things properly and being a heritage building that meant using a lime render. What was interesting about this project was that as we got underway, using our traditional heritage techniques, passers-by would stop and ask us:

“Do traditional techniques work as well as modern ones?”

“Why lime and not cement?”

And of course “How long does lime render last?”

Now, we love talking to people about the projects we work on, partly because we’re very proud of what we do here at Leyden but partly also because we like a chat every so often. But let’s quickly deal with the first two questions here.

When it comes to heritage buildings, traditional techniques work better than modern ones. They can’t be beaten and they can’t be bettered plus it’s a question of matching ‘like for like’. It simply sits better with the property. The ‘lime over cement’ is the exact same argument, because it allows for better breathability, is more durable and less prone to cracking.

The third question of “How long does lime render last” requires a bit more detail. The short answer is, it lasts a long time and if we’re being brutally honest, it will outlive most of us. There are some examples around the world of lime render that goes back hundreds of years. But either way, it will definitely outlast cement, which is odd considering cement is a relatively modern product.

Modern material v traditional

You’d have thought that a material, created in a modern environment, would have the benefit of scientific development and better base materials to start with. Yet somehow, it’s actually a lesser, inferior product, especially when it comes to heritage properties.

To a certain extent, every property benefits from being able to breathe and especially period properties. Lime render allows the stone or brickwork that sits behind it to breathe properly and it’s more flexible, which means it doesn’t crack.

Doing the right thing

So, if you ask the question again “how long does lime render last” then the simple answer is … it lasts a lot longer than cement and it will do the job in a much more effective way. It’s not cheap like cement, but it is better and you’re safe in the knowledge that you’re doing the right thing by the building.

Speaking of doing things in the right way, that project in Plympton St Maurice that we mentioned earlier has now been completed and the client couldn’t be happier. The lime render finish is absolutely stunning and we’ve even cut ashlar lines into the render to give it an authentic, historically correct look and feel. Apparently, passers-by still stop and look at it, even though we’re no longer there on site … so now we know, it’s the building that people were interested in, not us.

So, if you’d like to know more about lime rendering and how important it is on heritage projects, then get in contact with us at Leyden on, we are after-all, serious about craftsmanship.

Matt & Hannah

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