• Suresh Kumar

Charis Construction Pioneer of Antique House Renovation Using the Ancient Lime Mortar

“Good buildings come from good people and

All problems are solved by good design.”

―Stephen Gardiner

A Brief Introduction to Lime Mortar

In ancient days, Lime Mortar in building construction was essential, various grand buildings and structures were built by using this precious construction material. It is involved in every stage of the construction process from foundation to roof. Lime Mortar consists of lime, sand, water,and some unique herbals in a distinct proportion which has made the building more flexible and less brittle. This substance is used to bind bricks and construction blocks together and fill the gaps between them. Lime Mortar turns to hard when it is settled, resulting in a rigid aggregate structure. The primitive Egyptians were the earliest to use Lime Mortars. About 6,000 years ago. They used Lime Mortar for binding and plastering where they constructed Pyramids, Temples and residential homes. Indians were famously known for their deft use of Lime Mortar

to construct ancient buildings 4,000 years ago. The use of Lime Mortal gradually declined after the invention of Portland cement in the 19th century.

Functions of Lime Mortar in Construction Industries

For the last 25 years, Lime Mortar has been used to mending the historical buildings. The soft, porous, and flexible nature of lime mortars and plasters is now globally acknowledged as being vital to maintain the traditional breathing performance of ancient buildings. Besides, a maximizing number of Civil Engineers, Architects, Surveyors, and Builders are now beginning to realize that Lime Mortal has many benefits to offer in modern construction.

Competency Skills of Charis Construction towards Manipulating Lime Mortar in the Renovation of Heritage Building

Charis construction awarded a renovation project from the world-famous Wesley

Church. Wesley Church is one of the oldest and legendary churches in the Egmore area of Chennai, the capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, India. The original structure was constructed in Gothic architecture in 1905 by Wesleyan Mission. The church is unique, with its own identity and its distinctive character. The character refers to all those visual aspects and physical features that comprise the appearance of every historic building. Now that the church has become older, the walls and pillars have eroded. Moisture content naturally enters the bricks and mortar and evaporates. This process causes the building walls to expand and contract. Over time, this perpetual process causes erosion where bits of the mortar erode or crumble away (see Figure 1). We (Charis construction) asked to renovate the church to preserve and retain its

historical and/or architectural and/or aesthetic and/or cultural significance.

Figure 1: Vertical wall intensely eroded.

Maintaining and retaining the novel identity of the heritage building is a challenging task even in the 21st century. Many builders have barely enough knowledge to renovate heritage buildings. But our Engineers and Architects have a deft knowledge of renovating the heritage buildings. Our best technologist examined the entire church building to explore what the scientific reasons were behind the erosion. After many physical and chemical experiments, our experts found that the reason for the erosion, chemical reaction of cement and ancient Lime Mortar led to wall erosion phenomenon.

The entire church built by ancient Lime Mortar, this mortar consisted of distinctive chemical composition which is not being used in modern construction. When renovated the church early by the unprofessional builder, they have not aware that cement should not be used when the entire building constructed by Lime Mortar. When they renovated the building, unskilled workers used cement for plastering and binding the walls where ever needed, consequently, cement and ancient Lime Mortar got chemical reaction rapidly that led to erosion of walls and pillars. Such erosion hastens the building

impairment from day to day. Over time, the church building’s walls and pillars were becoming weakened and a partial part of the building collapsed. When we identified the technical problems, our team scraping cement layers used in the entire building even though it is not easy (see Figure 2), which had taken a long time to remove all cement blocks. Once we eliminated all cement blocks from the entire building, we started binding, pointing, and plastering the entire building through Lime Mortar which contains the same chemical proportion which had been used in ancient times. The walls are coated with three different plastering respectively of 10 mm, 3-4 mm, and finally 1-2 mm (see Figure 3). Once it is settled we have painted entire walls with standard anti-erosion control paint. Now the church turned into its previous historical and/or architectural and/or aesthetic and/or cultural significance.

Figure 3: The wall after pointing and plastering.

Figure 2: Entire cement block scraping from vertical wall.

Architect/Civil engineers are relentlessly being challenged to solve the world's new and complicated problem of ancient building renovation. Such a problem initially seems impossible to solve, but our experts find a way to make things happen!!!

We proudly say that we have expertise in:

  • Ancient building renovation and repairs using limestone materials

  • Interior designers and Planners

  • BIM solutions for infrastructure needs

  • CAD solutions for infrastructure needs

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  • Modern technological designing and planning

  • Electronic security systems

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  • 2D and 3D model design.

  • All construction work /Civil engineering-based services

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  • Custom made all grades of Teak wood furniture designing and making.

  • All wood and plywood works and wooden constructions of room and furniture

  • Carvings works done by our specialized carpenters

  • Water supply and water treatment system

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