Cement render = Rotten wood

Removing render exposes timber issues under cracks

One of the other issues that the removal of the cement render exposed was the condition of the wood in the structure.

Admittedly the house has a strange array of wood that has appeared in the most unusual places – joists that go all the way through the house from external surface to external surface. The trouble is that this change in underlying surface meant that the cement render was more likely to crack here. Of course, being cement, it did and this in turn allowed water to get behind the render. This concentration in damp behind the cement of course then fed into the wood.

This is one of the big concerns with cement rendering old houses as it it not obvious until it eventually gives way. One of the many problems that we are storing up for the future generations, by not understanding older properties well enough.

So, if you do have a solid walled house make sure that you maintain any render really well – remove cracks when they form etc. If you do get around to needing to re-render, then do so using a lime based render but also expect to un-earth a range of problems.

I feel that this is a similar situation to the climate change arguments. It is out of sight and so out of mind. It is also largely controlled by large companies with vested interests and so they will not lead the way for change as their industry is profitable as it stands, so why rock the boat, even if you know what you are supplying is ruining the environment (the built one that is rather than the natural one).