Lime pointing

Anyone out there ever done their own lime pointing? The back wall of my house is stone, basically held together with mud/clay. It's a very very thick wall so I'm not really bothered about insulation, but it would look a lot nicer if it was pointed, as many of the houses round here (Normandy/Brittany border) are these days. I had an estimate for €4600, way more than I can afford right now. I suspect I could do it myself, as I'm quite handy, but I'd welcome some thoughts or advice. I'm calling it lime pointing, but I'm not sure what the actual mixture is. It comes out looking a very attractive pale cream colour!

Mark, I have done it here where most of our exposed stone is lime and where walls are rendered it matches. We are also required to retain the colour of local stone on our houses. We also have a lot of holes that appear where solitary wasps make nests. So, to some extent it is an annual task (except this year). James says most of what I would say above, but I would add looking at the colour of the sand you buy because with too yellow it is difficult to get pale enough and too light is impossible to ever get a match. In essence a sand that is just a bit yellower than your stone is best, it allows you to slightly adjust the mixture to get a match. After doing as James says, let it dry thoroughly to see if it is a match then you can work out which way the slight adjustment needs to go. As for cleaning out the joints, I have two ways that work for me. If I want to leave it a bit rough I use a paint brush, about 3cm wide one, and keep it damp and brush the pointing back as I go along. The one for keeping it smooth involves my children's discarded clothes. I use them as rags that are also damp and smooth back my joints as I work. Doing either saves me time, allows me to get it right before it dries out and moving ladders back and forth all the time. Afraid I don't have any pictures at present and if I did have recent ones, you would see all the wasp holes and cracks from the coldest bit of the winter that I am am totally frustrated that I can't do this year.

An old post but anyone who fancies showing off their efforts by way of some photos would be welcome. I have done lots of 'cleaning out the joints' but have been lazy on the pointing by leaving it unfinished and moving on to the other 10,000 waiting projects. Ah it could be a Spring job after the frosts and before the heat - next year again I fear................

Just doing a 45msq wall for someone, using ready mixed stuff the French call Lanzite. Goes in easily, but the longest part of it is cleaning the stones, so they don't have white flourishes all round the edge! If you're going for a sponged finish, cycle 3 buckets of water so there's always a clean one. First time I've done it but looks fab!

Thanks James - this is helpful. I'm quite looking forward to having a go.

Thanks Louise! will check it out.

1 part lime (chaux hydraulique) to 3 parts sharp sand, don't dig out the old pointing to deep or it will take forever, you can work with it for a few hours after, so you can sponge it or wire brush it off the stone later. Don't do it in direct sunlight or when it's above 25 degrees (ish). Try a square meter first and see how you get on :)


I've had a go at lime plastering and pointing and I found the SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) produce some very informative leaflets about this (they have a website). Now it easier to get advice in France about lime and there are more products available than when I started.