Restoration Work and Historic Surroundings

In the world of construction and restoration, the choice of mortar is crucial to preserving the historical integrity of buildings and ensuring their longevity. Among the various options available, hydraulic lime mortar stands out as a versatile and sustainable material that seamlessly combines modern construction needs with the preservation of historical aesthetics.

The Kai Yong Yeoh Building, Brighton College
Built with Limetec Hydraulic Lime Mortar

1 in 5 Buildings in the UK were built, prior to 1909

The use of Portland cement only became widespread in the mid-19th century and prior to its commercial use, lime mortar was the predominant choice for building construction.

Considering, 1 in 5 buildings in the UK were constructed before this date and are officially designated as 'historic,' it is reasonable to expect that a substantial percentage of these structures, if not the majority, were built with lime mortar.

Projects, involving historic buildings or within historic settings, need to carefully respond to their surroundings and enhance the sense of place that makes these sites unique.  


Understanding Hydraulic Lime Mortar

Hydraulic lime mortar is a traditional yet innovative building material that has been used for centuries. 

Unlike conventional lime mortar, hydraulic lime contains reactive compounds that allow it to set in the presence of moisture. 

This unique property makes it an ideal choice for modern build practices, as well as for restoration projects, where the preservation of historical accuracy is paramount.


Breathability and Flexibility

Hydraulic lime mortar, like traditional lime mortars, is highly breathable. This means it allows for the passage of moisture vapor, preventing the buildup of trapped water within the structure. 

This breathability is essential for structures in historic surroundings as it helps to maintain a healthy environment for the building materials, reducing the risk of decay and structural damage. 

Additionally, hydraulic lime mortar has a degree of flexibility, accommodating natural movements and settling of historic buildings. 

This flexibility is crucial in preventing cracks and ensuring the long-term stability of the structure.


Compatibility with Historic Materials

Historic buildings often feature a variety of traditional materials, such as stone, brick and timber. 

Hydraulic lime mortar is compatible with these materials, providing a harmonious bond that minimises stress on the structure. 

This compatibility ensures that the mortar works in tandem with the existing materials, supporting the overall stability of the building.


Longevity and Durability

Hydraulic lime mortar boasts excellent durability and resistance to weathering.

It forms a robust bond with the masonry, protecting the structure from the effects of wind, rain and temperature fluctuations. 

This longevity is a key factor in reducing maintenance costs over the life of the building.


Ease of Application

Unlike some other lime mortars, the application of hydraulic lime mortar is relatively straightforward, making it an accessible choice for construction professionals and craftsmen alike. 

Its workability allows for precise detailing, crucial in replicating historical ornamentation and intricate designs found in many heritage structures.


Environmental Sustainability

Hydraulic lime mortar is an environmentally friendly choice. 

It is produced through a low-energy manufacturing process, contributing to a reduced carbon footprint compared to other mortar options. 

Its sustainability is further emphasised by its ability to be recycled and reused, aligning with the principles of modern, sustainable, construction practices.



In conclusion, the use of hydraulic lime mortar in restoration work and new buildings within historic surroundings is a wise and conscientious choice.

Its unique properties, including breathability, compatibility with historic materials, environmental sustainability, ease of application and longevity, make it a standout material for preserving the architectural heritage of the past while meeting the demands of the present and future.

As the construction industry continues to embrace sustainable and heritage-conscious practices, hydraulic lime mortar stands as a symbol of timeless elegance and enduring craftsmanship.

Find out about our cement-free lime products

Environmentally friendly, sustainable Construction Mortars, Pointing Mortars and Screed

Access our Partner Program

Mortar Sample Packs

Sample packs containing our range of Hydraulic Lime Mortar colours.


On demand CPD covering 'Cement-free, Hydraulic Lime Mortar & its Benefits'.

Design Guide 

Produced to aid Architects & Structural Engineers when designing masonry walls.

Coverage Calculators

Coverage calculators to estimate your projects Lime Mortar requirements.

Specifier Information

'Tender ready' copy and paste NBS Specification documents .


A growing resource of general information and Lime based articles.