If you're looking for a breathable or green alternative to concrete, limecrete could be the solution when laying your tiles. Lime has been used for centuries in traditional building practices across the world, limecrete is the modern interpretation, and is used increasingly in modern builds and renovations. Limecrete is not to be confused with Limestone, but it may be used in the process of laying limestone. Limecrete is a lime-based flooring made with a combination of NHL (natural hydraulic lime) and lightweight aggregate, and is often used as an alternative to concrete for a variety of reasons.
Why would you use limecrete?
Limecrete is more breathable than concrete, so if your property has damp, or damp is a concern, limecrete can allow vapour to escape, and reduce damp and mould issues. If you have a listed property it could be recommended for restoration authenticity too. It's incredibly flexible, and will absorb movement well, making it a great choice when tiling over underfloor heating (UFH). It's also chosen for its "green" qualities, it's more eco-friendly than concrete, as it reabsorbs CO2 and can be recycled. It's manufacturing carbon footprint is also lower than concrete, which makes it an even more appealing product for eco-conscious builders and renovations.
Despite its advantages, limecrete is not always the most suitable choice, and can be a little more high maintenance in the laying process than other alternatives, so not always an easy choice, especially for DIY'ers. Limecrete follows a different mixing process to cement, as you need to be careful not to overload the lime. Adding too much lime can reverse the benefits and breathability you might be choosing it for. You also need to be sure to keep it damp for at least 96 hours, so it doesn't dry or cure to quickly. These factors make it a little more difficult to work with so extra care should be taken in the planning to ensure success!
So what should you choose ... Limecrete or concrete?
Typically historic builds looking to preserve character will nearly always choose limecrete, as it adds authenticity and helps with moisture and energy efficiency issues. Modern builds don't need to consider these practical elements as much, as there are generally less moisture issues present so have more freedom to choose, and may choose based on other factors such as cost, building schedule, or installation factors such as under floor heating (UFH). Often Limecrete tends to be a little more costly than concrete, and takes longer to set so could need to be factored into your building schedule. If you are unsure what's best for your project, our expert team can help you in making a decision if you still feel torn!
Tiling on limecrete
Any floor finish can be used on limecrete, however there are factors to consider when choosing between stone, slate or tiles. Limestone is the recommended finish, due to its equally breathable qualities. Limestone will absorb, disperse and allow damp to evaporate enhancing the great qualities of the limecrete itself. Limestone is also a fantastic choice for historic and listed builds, as a traditional material it not only adds to the authenticity in its appearance, it's also incredibly durable, and the perfect choice for period cottages, listed buildings and barn conversions. See Limestone tiles! When fixing limestone tiles, its important the correct primer is used, PVA should not be used as a bonding agent. Speak to our sales team when placing your order who can make the right recommendation for fixing materials for your specific project. When it comes to grouting, your grout lines should be between 5-8mm rather than the normal 3mm minimum, this will help with the evaporation of moisture and will add to the authenticity in traditional properties. Top tip: We recommend a random size format tile for those looking to re-create traditional stone laying techniques in their project.
Now you know a little more about limecrete, hopefully you'll feel informed in your project planning, and can confidently go about planning installation and finishing of your new flooring! We're ready to get you set with the perfect natural stone finish for your project! Please order your free samples through our website, and don't hesitate to get in touch with our team should you have any questions! We have decades of stone expertise in our small and friendly team, and we're excited to help you create your dream natural stone floor!
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