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Cromarty Image Library

Barkly House - lime pointing, harling and wash being redone 2010
The Cromarty Archive
Barkly House - lime pointing, harling and wash being redone 2010

Again? See also picture #1680.
Picture added on 25 June 2010 at 11:18
What is it with lime render? I can't think of anywhere it's been successfully used in the town, whereas there are dozens of cement harled houses which seem to last for years and years without major upkeep. Is there any good reason for using lime at all?
Added by Garve Scott-Lodge on 25 June 2010
Personally, when it's done well I think it can look really good and there are some excellent examples of good Lime Harling around. The problem as I see it, is the initial cost, and in the case of some local buildings, the ongoing maintenance, especially of course. when it doesn't take properly.
Added by David on 25 June 2010
There's no denying it looks really good when first done, but the upkeep seems never-ending. Simply not affordable for most ordinary householders.
Added by Colin on 25 June 2010
I would have thought that the fiasco of the never-ending East Church renovation would have convinced everyone of the unsuitability of lime harling in our climate.
Added by Sandy on 26 June 2010
I think the real question here is... Is Lime Harl a suitable material for buildings with modern heating systems. My understanding is that the East Church will not be heated on any permanent basis as this could damage the building in some way. I'm no scientist but no-one has yet been able to convince me of any reason why Lime Harl should continue to be used on certain buildings (other than it looks nice - which it does). Most of us now live in centrally heated homes which remain at a minimum temperature for most of the year. This usually means that houses (including the old cottages and many other old buildings) will be constantly radiating heat outwards. This, if I understand it correctly, would suggest that Lime Harl is not the right material to use, as what's required is a barrier to the outside world and not a breathable lining, and... I would have also thought that it would be very hard to get it to adhere to a wall that's permanently emitting heat! Surely it would fall off wouldn't it!!

Am I going mad or what?

David (confused and waiting to be corrected)
Added by David on 28 June 2010
Interestingly, when we were doing renovations to Seabank House in 2008/9 (see picture #2446), I asked Historic Scotland if we could simply cement reharl the house rather than using lime. It had cement pebble-dash when my parents bought it in 1966, and we have photos to prove it. Ironically, it was Tim Meek, now a great enthusiast of lime harling, who removed the original pebble dashing. This exposed the rather soft red sandstone to rapid erosion, hence our desire to reharl.

Historic Scotland wouldn't say that we couldn't reharl with cement (I asked them several times), but said that they advised that lime pointing and harl was used instead. So, it looks as though if the building was previously cement harled, then you're within your rights to use cement harling again. That would certainly be my preference, but in our case the builder (and his lime specialist contractor) advised against doing more than a little repointing, saying that the sandstone was fine and would probably last another 300 years.
Added by Colin (Editor) on 04 July 2010
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The Fisher Town, CromartyMcBeath's old shop - rebuild underwayRenovations to the McBeaths of shopSouth Sutor Chicken FarmHighland cows at South Sutor chicken farmSouth Sutor poultry farmhouseNew wall railings at Bob and Marion Tonkins houseRev. Walter Scott in front of Forsyth HouseRev. Walter Scott and his wife Peddieston House