We understand in conservation work that less is more.
This means that our approach is to localise repair only where needed as opposed to stripping everything and redoing. We offer a sensitive understanding and methodical analysis to what needs to be repaired or adjusted to transform an old structure into a usable comfortable building again.
We can advise on minimal adjustments and cost-effective methods.
There is sometimes a little bit of fear surrounding conservation work that it is expensive and only for the BIG houses. This does not have to be so. Traditional building techniques are usually fairly labour intensive however not necessarily highly specialised. Once the general principles have been understood they can easily be applied to make something old and neglected look stylish and comfortable. The buildings then have both personality and authenticity. But it has to be done right.
With our clear understanding of the materials required and how they are to be used we can advise on how to repair the damage previously done to the old buildings and avoid future damage.
With our understanding of good design and traditional building methods, costly mistakes are avoided. Don’t let your heritage building project be spoilt by bad advice and modern building methods. Just because someone can build something with modern materials such as cement and plastics doesn’t mean they automatically understand an old building. Be careful and take your time to get it right. It will be worth it in the long run!
The old building technologies have almost been forgotten by the current building industry. The old methods used natural materials and most importantly they used LIME. Lime is mixed with sand as a mortar and allows the building to breath. This means that moisture can make its way out of the building rather than be trapped within the walls.
Cement mortars were introduced to Ireland in the 1940s and 50s slowly extinguishing the old building methods. Not only that, cement was used instead of lime causing major damage to the old buildings and eventually their destruction and abandonment. This caused as mould build-up occurs and structural issues as cement has no flexibility whereas lime does.
Conservation work requires a different approach, not only in the materials but also in the methodology of heating.
The thermal performance of an old building usually relies on thermal mass. This means that old stone buildings require constant low heat and this heat will be stored in the walls. Heat systems such as underfloor heating and heat pumps can offer appropriate and comfortable solutions.
The importance of our building heritage and the conservation work it requires is growing in general awareness. Government grant aid is becoming increasingly available again and we can point you in their direction to receive additional funding for your building restoration project. Whether big or small structures, they are equally important and part of our joint heritage.