Research & Resources

Genuinely useful and/or interesting resources…

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Paper from UWE detailing the evolution of building elements. This is of particular interest to me since some of the images of historic documents showing original plans for Victorian terraces are from the Bristol record office.

 

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Article showing defects by decade over the last century.

www.simonjameslewis.com

Simon is a wonderfully dedicated expert in how buildings are constructed. He promotes practical, cost-effective and energy conscious solutions to common problems in houses, with a long-term vision. His approach is collaborative & involves empowering individuals to learn, explore new ways of thinking to achieve outcomes that help the occupants whilst also looking after the health of the building overall.

With some fascinating ideas about the hygroscopic thermal envelope of the building and interiors, internal weather and how different materials can buffer humidity levels; he also possesses an extensive knowledge of traditional crafts & techniques along with the function of often-overlooked building elements. Utilising this understanding of traditional approaches, he has been developing principles and processes to enable the retrofitting of bio-aggregates to older properties to reduce damp and warm up houses.

www.neighbourhoodconstruction.org/about

Neighbourhood Construction is a Bristol-based, open source, knowledge led, collaborative group with the vision of empowering individuals to understand how their homes work, using natural, hygrothermal materials, along with other no-cost and low-cost interventions to reduce both the demand and consumption of energy whilst effectively resolving the problems associated with moisture.

www.heritage-house.org/damp-and-condensation/managing-damp-in-old-buildings

Pete Ward from Heritage House does extensive and extremely detailed surveys of older buildings. This is the type of surveyor you want when buying a house or trying to solve a damp problem! He will climb into every nook and cranny, shed light on fascinating details most people wouldn’t think twice about. Too many surveyors used when buying a house just make vague instructions to consult a ‘damp and timber expert’ often one who has a vested interest in selling a very expensive product.

Pete’s style is forthright and contradicts what many other damp-proofing companies will tell you – it takes a certain type of personality to go against such ingrained mainstream ideas that the building industry has been promoting for too long. He is extremely passionate & genuinely cares about the health of buildings. He is generous enough to provide a wealth of free information on his website and also on his youtube channel. There are demonstrations of common problems & and several illustrations of how some of those working in the damp industry are misleading people.

The Restoration Couple provide loads of helpful videos documenting how-tos, their experiences, setbacks and triumphs whilst renovating their house themselves.

http://www.idostuff.co.uk/

Someone else on a similar wavelength focusing on providing how-to articles mostly using vapour permeable materials and some traditional techniques. I found his information on using linseed oil paints for woodwork quite enlightening and this description of how to rebuild a wall without taking it down was absolutely fascinating! The tip about using an old ground down & bent kitchen knife for repointing was perfect – much more comfortable and ergonomic than using one of these.

 

This is the most useful book regarding the use of traditional lime in buildings I have ever found. I was a bit disappointed when I received it since it is a thin paperback little thing! However the information inside is a treasure-trove & makes it well worthwhile – I paid about £8 for it. This is a real how-to that also explains the benefits and science behind the traditional methods, and why they are still more than relevant today.

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This historic book which is available for free, was invaluable when we decided to formulate our own linseed paint using raw linseed oil (edible or equine grade) with lampblack as pigment. It also makes for fascinating reading for those so inclined. Some of the substances used will be very toxic despite being the norm at the time, so do your own research and use common sense!

 

 

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This is another similarly useful historic publication regarding paint & pigments

 

 

You can read more in-depth information about refining linseed oil for making paint here – this is more for making artists paints, but is really interesting nonetheless.

The Linseed Paint Company is one of the only UK producers of traditional linseed paint that I can find. His website is a wealth of information & I love his passionate, amusing, irreverent style – it’s so much more appealing to me when the personality behind a business shows. He clearly makes paint for the love of it, and he will match Farrow & Ball colours for free. I haven’t yet tried his paint, but probably will do at some point… Let me know if you do first!

There is another bigger Swedish company called Allbäck that sell linseed oil paint. This is a U.S. based site which sells their paint & explains the benefits about it being solvent free whilst not peeling, cracking or trapping moisture that causes wood to decay. You can buy Allback linseed oil paint in the UK from Old House Store.

Here are some useful & informative how-to youtube videos regarding the use of Allback paint and products to restore, repair & repaint windows in a traditional, sympathetic manner. The techniques can be applied even if you are mixing your own linseed paint or using different paint altogether.

This website was how I originally discovered linseed oil paint when I was researching paint that wouldn’t crack, flake & peel off the fascia boards on the front of my house which is south facing.

A lot of discussion & opinions in the comments here about linseed oil paints on an article about the best paint for exterior woodwork & another interesting thread with more information here.

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