we have a stone barn (rubble filled stone walls) which have had two walls pebble dashed with cement render on the outside and two that are not. I am looking to remove this if it is possible and then convert the barn for living accommodation. My first question is .. Is there are any views as to the best way to remove the dash so I can re-point and is this usually hard, is there a risk of stone coming lose or falling out? I was then going to re-point the outside and inside of the barn with a lime mortar to allow it to breath and therefore try to control the moisture. With this in mind I am unsure if it is then ok to dry line and insulate the inside knowing that the wall can breathe from the outside, I was thiking of using breathable insuation and rendering inside with lime mortar also or would the 1-2 foot thick walls actually give enough insulation if I have a very insulated roof put on and new well insulated and DPC’d floor put in?

any advice is welcome

  • Peter Eade

    The cement render should come off without too much trouble as a cement/sand mix does not stick that well to stone. If the walls are in a stable condition the render could be removed with a small electric breaker fitted with a brick bolster type chisel. It could also be done manually using a club hammer and bolster. Once the render is removed the stone walls should be cleaned using a chemical brick cleaner, it’s best to do a small test area first to check the cleaner is not eroding the mortar joints. Once the walls are clean wash down with a hose pipe and remove any loose pointing. Before starting the pointing re-bed any loose stones using a mix of cement/lime and sand, if you use just lime mortar it takes a long time to harden. Repoint only the external walls in a style that matches the original, the inside is not going to be seen so the joints only need to be flushed up. The work of converting the barn to a habitable dwelling will require planning approval and has to be done in a way that conforms to the current building regulations. The floor that has been laid may well need to be checked by the building inspector as both DPM and floor insulation is a BR requirement. In order to get Building Regulation approval you are going to need professionally prepared drawings. Even if you intend carrying out the work under a Building Notice you are still going to need plans to work to. Calculating the quantities of materials is so much easier if you can refer to a set of scale drawings.

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