We’ve all seen the damage caused when walls are unable to breathe: blown paint, plaster and render, rotting timbers and condensation problems.
Often, the cause is conventional, acrylic-based paint. Acrylic paint traps moisture in a wall, but eventually, the moisture needs an escape route.
When working on historic buildings, you have a responsibility to safeguard the fabric of the building. So, how can you be sure that the paint you use will prevent damage to walls? Breathability is key.
A durable, breathable paint can significantly reduce the maintenance lifecycle of walls. And that applies to both exterior and interior paint.
Over 60 years, repairs to Grade II Listed Moreton House in Bideford, north Devon, had caused significant problems.
Cement repairs, vinyl paints and a sprayed-on acrylic render coating resulted in damp building up. In many places moisture was trapped behind the paint.
Some of the external render was replaced with lime but instead of limewash the new owners used our Silicate Masonry Paint – a durable, easy to use alternative to limewash and conventional masonry paints.
The primer and paint form a chemical bond with the underlying mineral substrate to produce a very hard-wearing, weather-resistant barrier, which offers the same high levels of breathability as limewash but is easier to use and lasts up to 15 years.
Useful for any porous mineral surface such as stone, brick, concrete, render or cob, our Silicate Masonry Paint gives a classic matt finish that will not yellow over time. Our Bonding Primer allows silicate masonry paint to be applied over previously painted surfaces too.
Breathability is key for interior paint choices too. Mike and Meg Gush own a Category B1 listed country house near Peebles, Scotland, which they brought back to life as a family home following many years of neglect.
The owners recognise they are custodians of Hallyards and have been keen to renovate it sympathetically. Mike said: “The house is more than 500 years old in places and we wanted to do right by it, securing it for future generations.
As in most historic houses, the walls of Hallyards do not have a damp course and at some stage the replacement of lime plaster with gypsum plaster had damaged walls by preventing them from breathing. Some walls had to be completely rebuilt because they had rotted. All internal walls were replastered with lime to ensure they can now breathe.”
Mike added: “For the internal decoration we chose Earthborn Claypaint because it is highly breathable and works well with lime plaster. We also love the selection of colours available. Our palette is themed around the original colours that we uncovered, including the green on the library walls. We’ve chosen shades that complement the stone floors and slate worktops, aiming to create a bright and airy feel.”
Claypaint is a unique, clay-based emulsion. Its advanced technology maximises the natural properties of clay to create a high performance, highly breathable paint that covers exceptionally well and gives a distinctive, ultra matt finish.
Being free of oils and acrylics, Claypaint is virtually VOC free, meaning it is safer for the health of building occupants as well as the environment.
Mike topped the Claypaint with a washable, protective coat of Wall Glaze. He said: “Hallyards is our family home, which means walls can be subject to the everyday wear and tear associated with young children. We applied the wall glaze as a precaution, making the walls easier to wipe clean.”
For external walls, the most sustainable solution is silicate masonry paint. Offering a higher performing alternative to limewash, it’s a traditional, water-based paint that is highly breathable yet provides a weather-resistant barrier that lasts much longer than limewash.
For internal walls, seek out modern paints which are highly breathable, to prevent moisture damage, and which offer advanced performance in terms of durability and ease of use.
Claypaint is available in our signature palette of 72 shades, order a colour swatch or sample pot today. Our Silicate Masonry paint range has 48 colours and bespoke shades can be developed, order a colour card for inspiration.