Your responsibility as custodian of a heritage property



As custodians of an older building, there is a responsibility to protect the fabric of that building.

Whatever the scale of your current project - from full scale renovation to regular maintenance - it makes sense to fully consider the implications of your paint choices.

The experts at breathable paint company Earthborn, often see older buildings suffering from damp, blown bricks and bubbling or peeling paint. These common problems in older properties can often be attributed to a previously used incorrect paint or plaster.

Thankfully, identifying these problems are ideal opportunities to rectify and make a swap for sustainable and breathable solutions such as Claypaint.

The benefits of a breathable paint choice can:
• Allow the walls the breathe as originally intended
•  Prevent further moisture damage
• Reduce the need for remedial work in the future
• Look after the health of the building occupants and the environment

We’ve probably all seen the damage caused when walls are suffocated by petroleum derived paints: blown paint, plaster and render, rotting timbers and condensation problems. It’s a fact of nature: moisture cannot remain trapped in a wall forever; it needs an escape route.

While many modern buildings have a cavity wall and damp course system intended to keep damp at bay, most older buildings were constructed of natural, breathable materials such as timber frame or solid masonry walls. This enabled moisture to permeate through them and evaporate naturally.

Historically, tradesmen used locally available materials, mixing them on site to create paints such as limewash, casein paint or distemper. The materials, which included limestone, milk, gelatine and chalk, were all breathable, enabling moisture to pass through without causing damage.

When specifying paint today, an increasing number of owners and specifiers are turning to Earthborn and their breathable Claypaint which blends the very best of old and new. Their technologically advanced approach builds on the wisdom of centuries’ old techniques to create high performing paints that are sensitive to the fabric of historic buildings, to the health of their occupants and to the environment.

Their interior and exterior paints combine all-important breathability with improved performance in terms of durability, aesthetics and, in the case of exterior paints, weather resistance.

Being water based, they do not give off toxic emissions such as VOCs, which are harmful to the health of building occupants and decorators. They are also very environmentally friendly and positively contribute to a project’s sustainability.

Claypaint, Casein Paint and Silicate Masonry Paint are ideal for painting lime plaster, lime wash or lime rendered walls. Earthborn have provided a few simple steps that should be taken before painting onto a lime surface:
• It is important to choose a breathable finish so as not to seal the surface.
• Lime render or plaster needs to be fully cured. The best person to advise you is your lime provider, however as a general guide allow at least 1 month curing time for every 5mm of thickness. In poor drying conditions this time may need to be extended.
• Before painting make sure the surface is stable, not flaky or powdery.
• Make sure you choose the correct product and follow application instructions based on whether it is for internal or external use.

Paying homage to the era of your property through your colour choices can also play an important role in conserving the history of the building. From Georgian to Victorian, pin pointing historically significant colour palettes can help restore older properties to their former glory.

Georgian paint colours:
In the Georgian period, choosing a colour for your home was often a matter of price. Colours made from pigments that were easy to obtain were used to make ‘common colours’ like stone, earthy yellows, lead grey and white. A more colourful palette needed more expensive pigments. These ‘fancy’ or ‘party’ colours, such as blossom and pea green, could be triple the cost, if not more, than the common colours. Recommended colours from the Earthborn range include Secret Room, Rosie Posie and Cat’s Cradle.

Victorian paint colours:
The Victorian era spanned almost 65 years and in that time tastes, fashions and technology changed hugely. This period saw a boom in British housing stock, so it’s unsurprising that Victorian houses remain one the most common eras of property in the UK today, especially in towns and cities. Earthborn colours that would suit a Victorian property include Humpty Dumpty, Lady Bug and Hobgoblin.

20th century paint colours:
The 20th century saw a boom in the use of ‘colour science’ and ‘colour psychology’ to select interior colours, particularly in the 1950’s where a scientific approach to design was in vogue. Hallways were ‘the handshake of the house’ and should be painted a warm, inviting colour. Places to relax and heal were often a soothing blue. Places to be productive were a colour interesting enough to avoid boredom but calm enough to avoid distraction. Colour recommendations include Peach Baby, Bo Peep and Cricket.

Earthborn’s highly breathable Claypaint is available in 72 signature shades, that look timeless, particularly in older buildings. If you are fortunate to have a heritage property, it is vital to ensure its continued protection for many years to come.


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