Outside wall needs fixing up

(Helen O Brien) #1

Hi all,

Thanks for letting me join the forum, have read lots of interesting stuff in the last few days on this forum.

One of the outside walls of my house in the allier (arfeuilles) looks a bit sad and needs a bit of fixing up. Before i get in contact with an artisan i would love if somebody could have a look and let me know what they think should be done about it, I have attached a photo to this mail. Sorry to bore you all with this.Any ideas would be helpful. Have been in france since 99 but i live in the city in lyon in a newish appartment with no problems, bought this house in 2006 as a country home, its in pretty good shape, so we didnt really need to do anything with it except get some furniture, but the state of this wall is beginning to get on my nerves. It is the first thing i see when i approach my house and i dont like the look of it. It must change!

Thanks a million. Helen

(Helen O Brien) #2

I dont see any useful info on this site!

(paul heaton) #3


It would be a pity to see such a nice little house be re_ruined, take a look at the site of Maisons Paysannes de France MPF, the true building maniacs site, but great as a starting point;

(Catharine Higginson) #4

Helen - surname please.

(Helen O Brien) #5

This is fascinating stuff! i am building up quite a project in my head. It would be nice to make this house beautiful.

I had previously done reseach on the internet on house restorartion and read of the benefits of lime, and the uselessness of ciment in old houses. In fact this is how i originally tumbled over this forum! I dont know what went on with this wall, to quote Brian Milnes post it is"part rendered, part tatty, part stone", in any case its an eyesore and needs to be tackled.

I am really glad i posted here first to get some ideas on what to do. I am a little bit mistrustful of artisans in this remote area, service is not at all the same as in a city like lyon or even in a nearby area like Roanne. I suspect that prices are raised for second home owners mad enough to buy homes in isolated areas like this. My neighbour, who is french and relatively wealthy, once spend 10,000 euros getting her driveway done, although she later broke with that contractor, accusing him of charging prices à la americaine.

Anyway, nuff said.

Thanks a lot for all the info, its great to get such helpful advice.



(Simon Roxburgh) #6

that is the problem when you do not live in the property all the time, I personally would remove all the old render and repoint to make the wall look attractive just like the front of the house, but this would be costly and time consuming.

(John Withall) #7

Simon, looking at the end elevation picture there is a definite line half way up the wall and the grey finish would suggest the use of cement. Of course you can brighten it up with lime wash but repointed nicely would look far nicer IMO. Down to Helen and her buget and being careful any artisans don't sneak in bags of white cement to add to the lime. I sacked the lot I caught on mine

(Simon Roxburgh) #8

Helen all your house requires by just looking at the picture is a good coat of lime wash in what ever colour you fancy or can get away with.

be careful when using artisans as they will possibly tell yo that the wall needs the old render removed and the stone work re pointed. unless you can actual see and pull the old render of the wall i would leave it alone. these old stone walls are designed to get wet and over the dry spells dry out. water rises up from the ground and is evaporated by the heat and wind from the wall, that is why they should use lime based mortars and paint as they can breathe. If cement has been used it does not allow water to penetrate it and thus you get damp spots on the interior. also cement does not move unlike lime based mortars which expand and contract as the walls heat up and cool down.

the first signs of a cement based mortar being used is that it starts to fall off the wall due to the freeze/thaw climatic effect.

(David GAY) #9

If you look at Arfeuilles there's a house which shows approximately what your house should look like in the Rue Louis Matichard the little street opposite the war memorial. That has been repointed in the local style. Quite nice the house apart from the horrible uPVC front door.

(Brian Milne) #10

Absolutely agree.

(Brian Milne) #11

OK, I agree 100% but used the word 'render' for simplicity's sakes.

(John Withall) #12

Thanks Helen, I can see its stone now so I would make the end similar. It would have looked awkward if the front was rendered and you left stone exposed on the end if you follow my meaning.

I can't say the front has been done well and the grey would imply some cement has been added to the mix which if true is not good but it will do for now I'm sure. If you do the end wall with chaux blanche and sable (lime and sand) leaving some of the stone slightly exposed it would look and fabulous, then you'll want the front done too.

(Catharine Higginson) #13

Hi Helen

Can you please make sure you add your surname to your user profile as per our T&C before posting again? Thank you and have a nice weekend! Catharine

(Helen O Brien) #14

hi there, its in stone, heres a picture. The front is alright i think, i mean its not an eyesore, its quite pretty i think.

The electricity compteur thing is out there, i didnt think we would have to move it. Its got a re-enclencheur which is handy, it puts back on the electricity in case of storm after a time. its not that that bothers me but the dreary poverty stricken look of that wall .I dont think i can live with it anymore.

Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them.


(John Withall) #15

I saw that Brian but didn't want to assume the other walls were the same. Jumping the gun a bit I would hack off the render and re point with lime and sand just exposing the stones but it's a personal taste, some like render.

(Brian Milne) #16

There is a picture attached. It is part rendered, part tatty, part exposed stone and has an electricity box and connection on it. No really big job but perhaps a bit of hassle getting the electricity lads out to reposition the installation. It has the look of rendering having been started but never properly worked on, so rendering rather than stripping and touching up the pointing.

(John Withall) #17

Helen, what does the front of the house look like, rendered or stone?