Have you ever wondered why old houses seem to suffer less from poor air quality than our modern homes? Well it is usually to do with the construction process and materials – not just the gaps in the windows.
Old houses are typically built using natural materials – brick, stone and timber. They don’t ‘breath’ in the human sense, but the analogy neatly describes the exchange of air and water vapour from the walls to the atmosphere. In this way, any damp can dry out naturally and harmlessly, while allowing for the slight expansions and contractions that buildings tend to make over the years.
In contrast, modern materials such as cement, gypsum plaster, and non-‘eco’ paint prevent both this ‘breathability’ and this movement. If moist air gets trapped inside the walls and cavities, it either forces its way out by ‘blowing’ the plaster and blistering the paint, or worse festers undetected leading to material decay, dry rot and other problems.
Limecrete Ltd is a company that looks to the past for its inspiration. Established in 2006 by Myles and Louisa Yallop, it has developed among other things a creative solution to one of the world’s most environmentally unsound building practices. In Myles’ words, “throwing concrete into the ground.”
So, what is limecrete and why is it a better material to use than concrete in your floor? An insulated floor slab, it is composed of natural hydraulic lime and a lightweight aggregate whose thermal performance can often beat modern equivalents.
Just like natural materials such as timber and straw, it is very breathable: any water vapour in the room can escape (literally) through the floor. It also re-absorbs some of the CO2 released during the manufacturing process, and can even be recycled at the end of its working life. Cement (one of the main components of concrete) on the other hand is one of the world’s biggest producers of carbon dioxide. Its production is growing by 2.5% annually and may increase CO2 outputs by as much as 4.4 billion tons by 2050.
Many homeowners have adopted the use of limecrete for environmental reasons, but of course it is also one of the ways to ensure older properties have a much longer life.
For more information about our projects that have used limecrete please contact us. Or for more information about Limecrete Ltd visit, www.limecrete.co.uk