Lime is truly a versatile material in building construction projects. Lime can be used to prepare the construction site by stabilizing the soil or remediating brownfield sites. Lime can be used in the construction of masonry systems as a component of mortar or the masonry unit. Exterior (stucco) and interior plaster systems can also contain lime. Finally, decorative finishes can be created with limewashes.
Lime has been used in building construction for thousands of years to create durable mortar and plaster. Though lime putty was originally used for these applications, most modern applications utilize hydrated lime. Dolomitic Type S hydrated lime is preferred for applications in the United States due to its exceptional water retention capability and proven performance.
Lime provides benefits in the plastic and hardened state to mortars and plasters. In the plastic state, lime can enhance the workability and water retention of plasters and mortars. In the hardened state, lime products react with carbon dioxide to regenerate calcium carbonate or limestone. This is a slow, gradual process which increases the hardness of the finished surface and allows for the healing of hairline cracks by a process called autogenous healing. Since initial strength is needed in most applications, additives such as gypsum, cement or pozzollans are mixed with lime in construction applications. Lime can react with pozzolanic materials in the mortar or plaster to produce a cement-like product. The strength of lime-based mixes can be modified based on the application. This is beneficial in restoration applications where low strengths and high vapor permeability are needed.
Further information on the use of lime in building construction can be found at the following: