Re: [SB-r-us] Exteriors- failures...
- Hi Chris,
sorry to hear of your disapointment with your rendering, but could you elaborate so the group can
understand why you are so disillusioned, disappointed, and disheartened, and possibly offer advice,
have big cracks appeared, have large chunks fallen off, or been washed off? it sounds like it must
be bad if you just turned the truck around and drove back to your stick home.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 2:06 AM
Subject: [SB-r-us] Exteriors- failures...
Well, we've had the first driving wind, rain, snow storm since finishing
the lime plaster over earthen on our exterior. Must say it has performed
FAR less than stellar. In fact we were so disillusioned, disappointed,
and disheartened after viewing today that we just turned the truck
around and drove back to our stick home. This has been one BIG nightmare
that we do not ever want to repeat. Now our thoughts are focused on how
we can 'fix' this problem come springtime instead of how we can enjoy
living in our home. Also the interior lime, second coat, has some
sizeable cracks as well. This is NOT what we thought we were signing up
for. We thought that the battle with the county would be the last battle
over the exterior we would have to fight- didn't count on waging war
with the materials themselves.
Facing the new year just a bit (OK, a lot) disgruntled.
Wishing we'd used cement stucco....
This is very interesting. Where are you located? How long had it been since
you applied the lime plaster on the exterior?
I am in the planning stages of a straw bale house. I am planning to use
earthen plaster for the exterior and would like to know more about your
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 7:06 PM
Subject: [SB-r-us] Exteriors- failures...
> Well, we've had the first driving wind, rain, snow storm since finishing
> the lime plaster over earthen on our exterior. Must say it has performed
> FAR less than stellar. In fact we were so disillusioned, disappointed,
> and disheartened after viewing today that we just turned the truck
> around and drove back to our stick home. This has been one BIG nightmare
> that we do not ever want to repeat. Now our thoughts are focused on how
> we can 'fix' this problem come springtime instead of how we can enjoy
> living in our home. Also the interior lime, second coat, has some
> sizeable cracks as well. This is NOT what we thought we were signing up
> for. We thought that the battle with the county would be the last battle
> over the exterior we would have to fight- didn't count on waging war
> with the materials themselves.
> Facing the new year just a bit (OK, a lot) disgruntled.
> Chris PB
> Wishing we'd used cement stucco....
> Yahoo! Groups Links
While I don't have any words of advice or insight yet, I just wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to you through this challenging time. I can relate to the feelings of disappointment, disillusion, frustration, hopelessness, loss, etc. I wish you strength, perserverance, presence of mind, compassion, and a sense of humor to carry you through this predicament.
You will live in your finished home some day. Keep that picture in your mind...
Best of luck.
A better way to Internet
- Sorry to hear about your wall problems. I am in a part of Texas
where we have lots of driving horizontal rains. So for this reason I
have tried to get lots of information on the subject of lime clay
renders. The experts on this matter seem to be our friends "across
the pond" in Scotland where they have been using lime for hundreds
of years. They have lots of horizontal rains as well I am sure. I
suggest that you might want to look into the lessons they have
learned over the years and why they are still using lime vs cement
renders. I also would like to know more about what went wrong. How
big were your porch overhangs? What ratios did you use in each of
your coats? Were your walls compressed? Please share your details
so others can use this as a learning experience.
- HI Chris N.- I'll try to answer your questions. Porch overhangs are only
2 feet. Unfortunately for us the solar gain (South) is also the same
direction the driving rains come from (SW)- therefore the decision to
not have a wrap-around porch. We are in a heating clime and need all the
help we can get!
Ratio's- interior and exterior lime , 3lime-1sand-1/2manure. Walls
aren't compressed because it is a post and beam infill.
Bonding tightly, earthen to lime, has not been a problem either inside
or out. When the lime fell off the back wall it took a sizeable chunk of
earthen with it. Interior the lime is as hard as limestone, <G>, but
with cracks. The cracks can be filled but its extra time and energy-
both of which hubby and I are running out of! LOL
I'll try to answer any and all questions. If more can be learned from
this the better! It does seem that temp is a culprit but doens't
completely answer the cracking question on the interior as we've taken
pains to make sure it doesn't reach freezing temps inside with the last
couple of walls. Thanks for all responses so far- don't want to seem
ungrateful if I don't respond to each individually.
> Sorry to hear about your wall problems. I am in a part of Texas
> where we have lots of driving horizontal rains. So for this reason I
> have tried to get lots of information on the subject of lime clay
> renders. The experts on this matter seem to be our friends "across
> the pond" in Scotland where they have been using lime for hundreds
> of years. They have lots of horizontal rains as well I am sure. I
> suggest that you might want to look into the lessons they have
> learned over the years and why they are still using lime vs cement
> renders. I also would like to know more about what went wrong. How
> big were your porch overhangs? What ratios did you use in each of
> your coats? Were your walls compressed? Please share your details
> so others can use this as a learning experience.
> Good Luck
> Chris N.
- --- In SBemail@example.com, pennbo@b... wrote:
> It does seem that temp is a culprit but doens'tBoy Chris, you sure know how to start the List New Year off with a BANG!.
> completely answer the cracking question on the interioras we've taken
> pains to make sure it doesn't reach freezingtemps inside with the last
> couple of walls.
Temperature is only one of the gang of culprits that are typically
involved with cracked plaster capers of any sort (earthen, lime, Portland
Water (too much or too little) is the real gang leader.
A too-wet mix will almost always result in bad shrinkage cracks.
Too-rapid drying will do the same.
Freezing temps just happen to exacerbate the problem by adding
spalling to the list of failure symptoms.
Particle size (which also affects the amount of mixing water used)
is another factor. Etc. We've been through all this before ad infinitum.
While your plaster failures have been heartbreaking and disappointing,
I would venture that if you had used a Portland cement plaster in the
same conditions (ie freezing temps, perhaps too-wet mixes, less-than-ideal
moist-curing procedures), the tale of woe could have been much worse.
Throughout the history of the use of earthen plasters in other cultures,
it's accepted as a fact of life that the plaster will require regular
maintenance to "weld" cracks and redo areas that have been subjected
to weathering... and refreshing lime renders at regular intervals with
lime washes is another fact of life (I always get mental images of
the kids in the film "The Secret of Roan Inish")
... so in the larger scheme of things, the "failures" aren't really
anything too get to upset about.
Good material for a "I got the built-my-own-house blues" tune or two
For a little perspective, perhaps the following link which came
via Pam & Peter Martin from British Columbia, of a work produced by a
woman here in Chelsea Quebec (just across the Ottawa River in (John
Kingsley's neighbourhood) might help.
www.teresahealy.ca "Fallujah 2004"
~~~ * ~~~
Robert W. Tom
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
(winnow the chaff from my edress in your reply)
- Sgrìobh pennbo@...:
>Interior the lime is as hard as limestone, <G>, but with cracks. TheThey can also be filled *later*.
>cracks can be filled but its extra time and energy-both of which
>hubby and I are running out of! LOL
Lime cracks. It's the nature of the beast. That's why
traditionally, you use three coats and a month of curing between each
one. Each coat cracks, but each crack differently, so there is no
continuous path through the wall.
>Our suspicions are that lime plaster should NOT ever be applied whenLime, by itself, will not suffer from freezing. At least, mine
>the temps are dipping low. We received much advice, both on and off
>list, assuring us that this would be alright. Actual experience says
>it probably isn't.
didn't, and it froze solid and then thawed again, when freshly
applied and many times after that over the course of the winter. But
I applied mine directly to straw.
It sounds like the earth drew the water out of the lime (which is
what earth does, being more hydrophilic than lime), and then (a) the
earth was expansive and/or (b) the water in the earth froze and
increased the volume of the earthen render.
When you laid up the earth, did you have a lot of cracking, even
with the driest possible mix? That's a sign of expansive clay in the
mix. It can be used, though it's not ideal for earthen plasters and
floors. Great for ponds, though.
So, this is a valuable mental note for me as I give lime advice:
the lime will be okay freezing, but applied over earth, it won't be,
because the earth will move differentially when things freeze.
>That is what happened- all around the house at the base on the snowGiven that you had driving rain, I'm not at all surprised. Lime
>is evidence of lime plaster leaving the wall and 'puddling'. The
>snow around the house is not white but grey/brown.
doesn't get firm very quickly at all, and if you add water before
it's really started to change chemically, you'll get very dilute lime
plaster running off of the wall. Any plaster should be protected
from driving rain until it's reasonably hard. The trick, though, is
to know when it's coming. I got driving rain into a completely
unprotected wall once, because the forecast said rain with no wind,
and so I didn't put up plastic.
>So should we have scrapped the entire idea of a green covering andCement which freezes while curing is completely ruined. Cement
>gone with cement? probably.
over earthen plaster with water still in it would have been totally
ruined. Or do you mean that the county would have approved it
sooner, and so freezing temperatures would not have been an issue?
Well, maybe, but you can't plan for idiots. They're like
earthquakes. Mostly small and annoying, but the big ones can wreck
>Didn't help that we had about three weeks of REALLY cold temps,I sympathize. For three weeks after I laid my earthen floor,
>unusual for our area, after the lime plaster had been applied on
when I really, really needed it to dry so I could get on with other
stuff, we had atypically humid weather.
>Solutions? Now there is something we'd love to read about.Wait for spring and do other things in the meantime. I don't
intend that facetiously; if your loan and schedule permit, the winter
weather is almost certainly not a problem. Even driven snow will not
harm a naked straw wall. I have a shed on my property, never
plastered, which is coming up on 7 years old. Except what's right
against the ground, the straw is beautiful and golden, and we *do*
get driven snow here.
Even rain may not harm the actual straw, and you can hang tarps
to break the main force of it. A little rain against the surface
certainly will not harm the straw. Vertical straw under cover is
totally unlike straw sitting out in the rain. I'll follow this with
a re-post of my account of driven rain into my wall.
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look
for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap
and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair." --C. S.