If you own a cob property or are thinking of buying one then there are a list of things that you should do to keep the cob from deterioration:
- If you are thinking of buying a cob property, it may be worth thinking about asking a cob and lime specialist, like us, to accompany you on a site visit. If the property has been rendered in anything other than lime then there is a good chance that the property walls will not be able to breathe and so may become (or are already) damp. This will almost certainly require a re-render of the affected walls. This should be taken into consideration when making an offer or reducing the offer price.
- Cracked, broken, loose or blocked guttering is one of the most common causes of water seeping into the cob walls; it pays to check your gutters and make sure they are cleaned and cleared regularly.
- Thatched roof houses do not usually have guttering so make sure there is an alternative way to drain excess water away from the house. Many use systems like a French drain soakaway.
- Remove creeping plants such as Ivy, Pyracantha or Clematis as soon as possible as they can damage cob structures. Any plant or tree that is close or touching the building can affect the lime render negatively, particularly if that wall is subject to high winds where the tree or bush can knock against the plaster..
- Use the correct paint decoration on walls that have already been lime rendered. We recommend lime wash or you could choose one of the excellent silica based paints for internal walls. Externally there are several choices ranging from a casein distemper or a clay based paint.
- Once you have painted the walls with lime wash, please remember that you will need to repaint within 3-6 years to maintain the great look of the lime washed walls.
If you need any further advice about cob and lime in your property, please contact us here. We can provide free advice about the best way to approach any remedial work that may need to be undertaken.