Using Natural Finishes

By Adam Weismann & Katy Bryce

Review by Dr Gerard Lynch (July 2008)

This is an interesting book providing, ‘… step-by-step instructions with detailed illustrations to show working with lime and clay-based finishes… including traditional and eco-build materials…’ and, ‘Easy to follow DIY projects guide the reader through all aspects of using these natural finishes, with beautiful photographs of techniques and examples from the UK and abroad’.

Chapters cover:

  • Wall structures, their properties and design details
  • Tools, techniques and materials
  • Lime-based plasters and renders
  • Earth-based plasters and renders
  • Paints and washes
  • Finishes around the world
  • Resources
  • Bibliography

Achieving a balance between practical and technical information and the case for ‘green’ materials and eco-build made with accurate support. Why natural finishes are successful, yet new constructional materials and methods marginalized them, is discussed, as are the range of natural materials and their correct identification and selection; with information about where obtainable. Good drawings and colour photographs illustrate preparation and application of the natural finishes, though occasionally there is a failure to observe health and safety rules: like working with sandals!

In presentation, this book appears skewed towards middle-income DIY enthusiasts, who can afford what was once cheap and commonplace, motivated by green technology and eco-build. It, unintentionally, adds to a widespread misconception that the use of traditional materials is a novelty, a pity, because this vitally important subject, to be meaningfully realised, depends on educating the general public and building trades.

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