Winter Working

General tips and guidelines

In an ideal world, working with lime mortars and renders would take place in conditions not too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry.
Unfortunately the British climate and the programme driven modern building industry doesn’t allow for this and work sometimes has to be
carried out at times of year and in conditions that are far less than ideal.

No amount of well intentioned advise is as sensible as putting the work off until the weather poses less of a threat, this short guide is
intended to help in situations where winter work is totally unavoidable.

Proper thought and planning should be given to the detailing on scaffolding and this should be carefully budgeted for in the contract cost.
The scaffolding should be capable of supporting extra covers and project sufficiently above the top lift to offer protection of the work from
above the roof-line, however well detailed the outer protection is, water running down inside will create areas of saturation from splash-back along the lines of the scaffold boards.
A good sheeting of Monoflex or similar will protect against wind driven rain and the effect of wind chill. The use of hessian should not be
undervalued, if there is a chance of sun or wind from a warm direction, it can be lifted to take full benefits of the extra drying opportunity.

Do not underestimate the effect of wind chill, an 8.7 Mph wind will knock a working temperature of + 5ºC down to -1ºC, at the other
extreme a 31 Mph wind will take +5ºC down to -12ºC.

Avoid saturation, saturation is the point at which the pore structure of the render or mortar is full of water. A drop in temperature to
freezing point will see that water expand by 9%, that expansion will break apart the surrounding mortar or render. Special attention must
be paid to the correct installation of working rainwater goods. 10mm of rain falling on a 25m2 roof will discharge a quarter of a tonne of

A render with an over-worked, closed-in surface is more likely to suffer from frost damage than a more open textured surface. Freezing is a
gradual process occurring from the surface of the render and working inwards. The extra passes of a trowel bring water and fine particles to the surface, for this reason we would recommend that the minimum amount of work is done to an external render once it is flat.

Thought should also be given to the storage of materials on site, obviously any undercover/indoor space should be used. Dry materials
should be kept off the ground. Wet materials, such as sand should be kept on clean, hard surfaces and covered with weighted down
tarpaulins to protect from rain and frost.

Factor in the use of water on site for mixing, cleaning etc. and ensure that if water needs to be stored on site that it is well insulated, do not
use water containing any ice. Never add anything to keep water ice free.

Clean down all equipment at the end of the day, do not leave any water standing in mixers etc.

Ensure that all pipes are suitably lagged.

If background heating is to be introduced, propane gas will provide higher humidity as well as a higher level of carbon dioxide, electric fan
heating will provide a dry heat. Obvious attention should be paid to the placing of the heaters, not only from a safety/fire risk point of view,
but to avoid over heating spots of the render or mortar. Good general circulation of warm air should be the goal.

At Best of Lime all of our Dry Readymix products have an element of air entrainment already included. The use of air entrainment has two
main benefits, it reduces the amount of water required to achieve workability, it also increases the air content of the mortar or render to
around 14% effectively reducing capillarity and giving the space required for the expansion of the frozen water.

This information is for general guidance only and is not specific to any particular site or building, for more specific advise, please
contact Best of Lime Ltd.

Unit A, Homefield Road West, Haverhill, Suffolk, CB9 8QP
W: E:
T: 01440 848200


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Just wanted to say how fantastic your patchcoat product was to use. We have an 18th century farmhouse that we are renovating and after old skirting was removed, large patches of plaster and some brick surface came away. Put patchcoat on yesterday and it looks fantastic. So easy to mix and handle, was able to build up a broken corner by hand and mould to shape, yes still easy to put a skim coat on the shallower areas. Plus two litres of filler for £9.50 is incredible value. Will definitely be getting another tub of this as we move through the house, would use it over any other filler without hesitation. Thank you.

Peter Howie
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"Limecote and Warmcote are ideal products for use on timber framed buildings and low strength substrates with their excellent flexibility, bond, and light weight compared to sanded plasters. Being dry bagged makes it easy to transport and store, with the added advantage of being able to adjust the mix to suit thin or very thick coats without compromising the product, or the quality of the finished work."

Roy Cafferty
Traditional Plastering Services
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"Best Lime plaster system on the market!! I found this accidentally due to the coronavirus pandemic as stocks of everything ran out, and it's changed the way all of the plasterers in our area are now plastering conservation listed buildings as well as new builds... due to its unique formula and characteristics of extremely quick application, drying, workability and breathability. It's rare to find such a great product and more importantly a great level of customer service in the build industry."

Murray Smith

Why choose Best of Lime?

The Best of Lime materials
At Best of Lime, our traditional lime plaster products are developed under the strict rule that they must be the best of what is available. We continuously listen to and evaluate feedback from specifiers and contractors as to how certain materials perform, both on site and long term.
Our lime plasters, manufactured by us on site in rural East Anglia, are sustainable, environmentally friendly building materials which tick all the requisite conservation and green boxes. We have yet to find anything that they won't stick to, including bricks, wooden lath, straw bale, and stone.
Get in touch
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Contact Us
Unit A | The Brocks Business Centre
Homefield Road | Haverhill
Suffolk | CB9 8QP

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