Traditional Lime Harling and Lime Wash

Lime harling is the most effective method of weatherproofing solid masonry walls. Many of Scotland’s historic buildings were originally coated externally with lime renders or harling and finished in limewash to form a protective and decorative finish.

Throughout the 20th century lime mortars were often mistakenly replaced with modern impervious coatings intended to give a more durable and longer lasting finish. However, these relatively modern materials are often incompatible with mass masonry construction, creating an impermeable barrier preventing the movement of water vapour, particularly the evaporation of moisture from the external surfaces, typically leading to problems with internal dampness.

A well detailed and specified lime harl will protect the masonry and prevent water ingress into the building fabric. The subsequent application of limewash coats will consolidate the harling and provide a traditional decorative finish. Limewash has a textured, matt appearance and is renowned for its soft and vibrant natural colours. This distinctive ‘glowing’ character is directly related to the nature of the millions of calcite crystals which make up a limewash; light is refracted through the material in two different directions.

Featured Traditional Lime Harling and Lime Wash Case Studies

Craigievar Castle - Alford - Traditional Lime Harling and Lime Wash
Craigievar Castle - Alford

Craigievar Castle is a Category A Listed Tower House dating from the early 17th century. William Forbes bought the partially completed castle in 1625 and completed it in the spirit of the Scots Renaissance. It is known as ‘the pink castle’ and has been described as ...

Powis Gate Towers - Aberdeen - Traditional Lime Harling and Lime Wash
Powis Gate Towers - Aberdeen

Powis Gate is a Category B Listed building forming the gatehouse entrance to Powis House (1802). The structure was erected between 1833 and 1834 by John Leslie of Powis and comprises two minarets and centre arch. The distinctive ‘pepper pot’ minarets are a distinctive feature to Old ...

 Sunnyside Croft Studio - Near Buchan - Traditional Lime Harling and Lime Wash
Sunnyside Croft Studio - Near Buchan

Sunnyside Croft Studio is a 5m wide x 20m long timber and straw bale structure, finished using traditional lime render and lime wash and capped with a ‘living’ roof. It is located near to Sunnyside Croft, a small traditional stone - built cottage near the Buchan coast ...


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