Explore solutions to the common problems that can affect old buildings. Topics include condensation, wood-boring insects and timber decay.
Inappropriate cement pointing
The type of mortar that someone proposes for repointing joints in the walls of an old building is a good test of whether they should be working on such buildings at all. Douglas Kent, the SPAB Technical and Research Director, explains why - and what you do if an inappropriate cement mortar has been used.
Inappropriate replacement windows blight old buildings. They are the home ‘improvement’ likely to cause most harm to a property’s value. However, it is a common misconception that old timber windows are incapable of being upgraded.
In the context of building materials, and with particular reference to old and historic buildings, the generic term ‘breathable’ is used to describe an important property of building fabric: the extent to which building materials are able to transmit moisture.
Much of the guidance given by the SPAB over our Technical Advice Line concerns the 'undoing' of well-intentioned but ill-conceived work carried out from the mid-20th century to historic buildings. Such work has frequently involved the replacement of lime renders on external walls with highly unsuitable modern cement coverings – a serious time bomb.