What one word best describes the work we do?… Integrity.

A man in a hi-vis vest with 'Leyden' on the back in front of a stone wall

You see here at Leyden, ‘integrity’ is the best word we can think of that ‘covers off’ what we do, how we do it, our attitude and our outlook. We fully accept that it’s a big, bold word but when we you stop and think about it, it’s perfect. But let’s give you an example of why.

Recently we’ve been working on a former Methodist Chapel in Oreston, just outside Plymouth. The building itself is well over 100 years old and it’s the epitome of a perfect period property. The Methodist Church still own the building and their plan is to convert it into a holiday rental property, located just 100 yards from the water’s edge on the River Plym.

Leyden were called in because the building itself required some much-needed attention. Over the years, it had deteriorated and the stonework had been poorly repointed using sand and cement.

Now let’s get something straight. Using sand and cement is a reasonably common repair, it’s just not the ‘right’ repair when it comes to many period properties because the knock-on effectcan have significant impact to the very fabric of the building. Itcan cause breathability issues and trapped moisture and that’s before you even get started on the aesthetics of it all.

The correct solution is lime. It’s what would have been used originally, it works as good today as it did when the building wasfirst constructed, and it will preserve the building now for another 100 years. Sand and cement simply won’t do that, in fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll get 30 years out of those two.

But this isn’t just about the material we used, it’s about the process as a whole. On the Oreston job, it took us days to painstakingly remove the existing sand and cement pointing without damaging the stonework. It’s incredibly precise work and it’s a skill in its own right, working small crevices and knowing exactly where to stop as you take it back to a healthier level.

But once prepped, the real craftsmanship begins as we start to replace the lime pointing by hand before it’s draped in hessian cloth to control the rate of drying. This is the exact same process that they would have done 100 years ago and is an important part of the job at the end of every day on. Delicate hand finishing then completes the process, bringing the building back to life, ready for another 100 years.

What this demonstrates is genuine ‘integrity’ and it’s the very essence of why we’re serious about craftsmanship at Leyden.

When we talk to customers about why they want Leyden on their projects, there are two very clear, recuring themes. First of all we often hear that they want to do the ‘right thing’ by the building itself and secondly it’s not uncommon to hear them say that they view themselves as ‘custodians’ of the property and not just ‘owners’.

optional caption. View project
Man brushing stone wall that has been repointed with lime mortar

However, we also suspect that many customers, like ourselves, get an enormous sense of pride that this work is being completed without comprise, penny pinching or corner cutting and that always feels good.

There are quicker, easier and cheaper ways of repointing aperiod property but the truth is there’s only one correct way … and that’s the Leyden way.

If you’d like to know more about how older properties are preserved correctly, then please get in contact with us here at Leyden.

All the best
Matt & Hannah

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