Bad Survey?

Have you had a bad survey when purchasing or selling your property? Were Sole Plate Repairs, Cement Render, or Non-breathable paint mentioned?

Don’t worry, we are here to help you fathom out the best way forward for your individual needs, drawing on our wealth of experience opening up, repairing, and improving Timber Framed Buildings.


Sole Plate Repairs

The Sole Plates are the first pieces of timber installed on any Timber Framed Building. Structural timbers and Studwork sit on the Sole Plates, so their importance is paramount to the health of your Listed Building or Period Property.

Along with Sole Plate Repairs, we can also carry out other Timber Frame Structural Repairs, Cement Render Removal, Sheeps Wool Insulation, Timber Lathes, Lime Rendering, Lime Washing and Mineral Painting if required.

Some common causes of Sole Plate deterioration are:

  • No damp course under the Sole Plate.
  • External ground levels built up over time, breaching damp course or the sole plate itself.
  • Internal floor levels built up over time, causing the same problem as above.
  • Internal floor changed from ventilated timber to concrete and screed.
  • Surface and Foul water drainage problems.
  • Cement render being applied instead of breathable Lime render.
  • Non-breathable insulation installed incorrectly.
  • Non-breathable bitumen based felt being used over the frame.
  • Condensation because of a combination of above.
  • Beetle Infestation.
  • Poorly maintained external surface finishes.

Lime Rendering

Cement render on a timber frame can be problematic and cause severe structural damage to the timber frame if left long enough. The severity of the damage, depends on when it was done, and what the build up is of the wall section, which are things that can be assessed before committing to a full re-render in lime job.

Our service normally starts with an opening up survey and report, which we recommend doing before purchase, so you know what you are letting yourself in for.


If the cement render has caused significant enough damage to the frame, a Structural Engineer can be employed to visit, report on, and make their recommendations.

When furnished with this extra information, an estimate can be provided, which is normally for a breathable lime render with appropriately designed wall build up, to include timber or stainless steel lathes, a gap for the “hook” in the render to form behind the lathes, a breathable membrane if desired, and breathable insulation.

Please note, working with lime is weather dependant, so plenty of forward planning is recommended.

Breathable Paint

The requirement for breathable products on an historic timber frame doesn’t just stop at the render. As part of our service, we can offer breathable painting solutions.

The choice normally comes down to whether to use Limewash or a Mineral Paint.

So let’s look at some of the pro’s and con’s of each.

The appearance of Limewash will change with the weather, so it will be darker when it is wet, and lighten up as it dries, however Mineral Paint will give you a flat colour appearance all year round, as long as you keep it clean and well maintained.

Limewash will require at least 4 coats on new work, compared to Mineral Paint which can be as little as 2 coats, so the former can be more costly in labour to apply, and will require scaffolding up for longer.

Limewash will need reapplying more frequently, every 5 to 7 years is likely, compared to some Mineral Paints, for example Keim, which boasts in excess of 20 year re-application rate, although some cleaning and maintenance of the surfaces over the years should not be discounted. All figures quoted are subject to location, background type, application conditions, frequency of cleaning and maintenance, and exposure to the elements.

There is no doubt, to the trained eye, Limewash just looks right for certain buildings, but Mineral Paints cannot be ignored, and are a popular choice for less prominent buildings, especially properties with many hard to reach areas and/or where it is more important to make a choice that will protect the historic building for longer periods of time without harming it.

Listed Building Consent

As with sole plate repairs, and lime render to replace cement render, when changing the paint type and colour on a Listed Building it is advisable to seek approval from your local Historic Buildings Advisor.

When assessing a proposal, the HBA will be considering the potential for harm to the significance of the heritage asset, so a well thought out application is needed to ensure a good result.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss your project.

Our services

Oak Cart Lodges & Timber Garages


Garden Rooms & Extensions


Home Offices & Garden Buildings


Essex Barn Conversions


Listed Building Repairs & Improvements


Sole Plate Repairs, Lime Rendering & Breathable Paint