Conventional wisdom says that buildings that have been lime rendered or lime washed in the past need to be redecorated with lime wash in the future. “Not necessarily so,” says Paul Davies of Castle Contractors in Richmond, North Yorkshire, who has discovered a more practical yet sympathetic way to bring heritage properties back to their former glory.

He continued, “lime specialists will tell you that applying their caustic brew to traditionally rendered buildings is the very best way to decorate and protect vulnerable ageing substrates. Well, I beg to differ. I’ve been working in the heritage sector for the past few years, building up a very satisfied clientele, and can confirm that there is an alternative solution to lime washing, with all its impracticalities and health and safety issues.

My preferred solution is to use a particular mineral paint system that’s traditionally formulated yet which benefits from advanced coatings technology. It can be used in weather conditions considered quite unsuitable for lime washing and it’s nowhere near as caustic or unpleasant to work with. What’s more, it’s available in familiar, reassuring packaging from Sandtex Trade and is available through merchants and decorating outlets including Crown Decorating Centres and Brewers.

I was one of the first contractors to work with Sandtex Trade Integrasil and now have no hesitation recommending this new mineral paint system for all sorts of traditionally constructed and rendered buildings that demand breathability, including those that have been lime rendered.”

Unlike conventional masonry paint, Integrasil penetrates deep into vulnerable substrates, becoming one with the fabric of the building, rather than creating a discrete paint film on the surface. This means water vapour molecules can escape, avoiding unnecessary dampness, rot and condensation, which can ultimately cause decay in structural timbers and damage to cob and stone walls.

It’s a three-coat system, with one coat of diluted Integrasil primer followed by two coats of diluted Integrasil mineral paint. Imperfections and variations in the substrate are soon disguised with a rich, opaque and very traditional-looking finish which will provide long term protection yet still allow the building to breathe.