The search for a lime plasterer is over! And I made a big discovery – ‘plastering’ doubles for ‘anything stuck to a wall’, so when I finally found someone used to working with lime they took for granted that they’d also install the insulation. It was like a dream come true – especially when Harry and Jack were a pleasure to have around and very knowledgeable about breathable systems.
We spoke with the trusty technical people at Ecological Building Systems about the best way to proceed with the insulation. (See previous blog) Now all we had to do was find someone to do the job. Or do it ourselves. No joy on the latter – John was just too snowed under with work and training for a tango competition (that’s another story!) to even consider it. So I was back on the hunt. I focused first on the lime plasterer because I know they’re like hens’ teeth. I trawled the Facebook local renovations page for any and all recommendations, I googled plasterers, I asked everyone I knew. Then I sat down with a Barleycup and the list and called each one.
The responses were predictable:
Standard plasterers varied from a flat ‘No’ (because no one really needs that stuff ) through to ‘so sorry, I’d have no idea where to start’. Given that Lime Green Solo solo is a modern product that just requires one coat rather than three and I’d been assured that any plasterer would be able to use it, it was a bit disappointing. But there you go – this is the problem with building trades and retrofit – it’s a challenge to find people who are up for learning something new.
Then there are the traditional lime plasterers who work on heritage buildings. I did come across one who was interested to know more, which was great. Otherwise I had no joy. The most alarming response came from someone who’d worked with lime for 36 years (and was booked up for the next two years). Unless it had old lime and horsehair in it, he wasn’t interested. In fact he told me he throws all this ‘new fangled environmental stuff in the bin’!
Then there was HWS Plastering. When Harry returned my call (a plus right there) he took it all for granted. He was used to working with Diathonite, was clearly very familiar with the Multitherm insulation and Lime Green Solo rolled easily off his tongue. So when I asked – incredulously – ‘you mean you can do all of the insulating?’ he was slightly bemused. ‘Of course!’ But then he hadn’t sat on the phone all day getting more demoralised with every passing hour.
I’m afraid I still wasn’t totally convinced. It took a first visit for me to really get on board. A conversation about breathability, airtightness and different forms of insulation wasn’t what I was expecting. As the conversation went on, I began to relax. Here was someone telling me what needed to happen before I’d said a word. He was all over it. No need to explain about Contega tape and sealing up the edges for airtightness, no problem with allowing the required drying time for the Diathonite, happy to discuss whether we needed extra sealing since the insulation batts were tongue and groove (we didn’t).
I enjoyed myself
It has to be one of the best building experiences I’ve had. Every cup of tea led to a chat about retrofit, I could ask questions, air my concerns and have them laid to rest. I no longer felt it was all down to me to be sure about the way forward.
And they loved my cooking! Great timing – just after my 6 year old grandson had his birthday party. There was cake, Empire biscuits, Millionaire shortbread, Crunchy crisp biscuits. They were the best fed builders in town.
So at last I have a name I can give to the many people who want to know about trustworthy people who will install insulation. Such a relief to know there are professionals out there who work in an environmentally friendly way and are keen to promote energy efficient homes. Made my year!