French farmhouse renovation - July 2019

Whether to use cement or lime is an important decision

Nick Inman charts the ups and downs of doing it himself with tips and information he has learned renovating an old French farmhouse. This month: know your cement and lime mixes 

There’s a fundamental difference between an inter-war terrace house in London and a French farmhouse.

It’s not obvious but it is of more importance than it might first seem. Almost every house built in the developed world after the mid-19th Century is glued together with a Portland cement, whereas every house pre-dating the Industrial Revolution used lime (chaux, in French).

Cement sets quick and hard so modern construction companies prefer it but lime has two extraordinary properties of its own: it moves and breathes.

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