Period Living - - Bedroom Ideas -

Q Can cracked win­dow putty be re­paired?

Win­dow putty de­vel­ops crack­ing as it ages, but pro­vid­ing it is still soundly ad­hered and the cracks are only hair­line, these can be filled to ex­tend its life for a few years. This can be achieved by adding a very small amount of nat­u­ral tur­pen­tine to tra­di­tional lin­seed putty – typ­i­cally made of chalk and raw lin­seed oil – to cre­ate a mix fluid enough with which to fill the cracks us­ing a putty knife or paint brush. The new putty can be fin­ished by gen­tly press­ing pa­per over it, and then painted once dry. Such re­pairs will avoid hav­ing to re­move the putty, which al­ways brings a risk of break­age of glass.

Q With what should I re­place a rub­ber­backed car­pet on an old stone floor?

Foam-backed car­pets or other im­per­vi­ous cov­er­ings should be avoided on an old solid ground floor be­cause they will com­pro­mise air cir­cu­la­tion be­low and may cause damp­ness to form, lead­ing to degra­da­tion. Con­sider in­stead a nat­u­ral, breath­able cov­er­ing, such as a loose car­pet or mat. Rush mat­ting is a noted tra­di­tional cov­er­ing but re­quires damp­en­ing down weekly to pre­vent em­brit­tle­ment. More con­ve­nient al­ter­na­tives are made to­day from sisal, coir or hes­sian-backed woollen car­pet. If you opt to lay a car­pet, a suitable ma­te­rial com­prises an 80 per cent wool/20 per cent ny­lon mix laid over a nat­u­ral colour, nat­u­ral fi­bre con­tract-qual­ity hair/jute un­der­lay. Avoid stick­ing on un­der­lay or other ma­te­ri­als, which can dam­age the floor.

Q We’re plan­ning to pur­chase an old weath­er­boarded cot­tage. How­ever, a few of the boards have seen bet­ter days – is it pos­si­ble to re­pair these?

De­fec­tive weath­er­boards might be re­paired by in­sert­ing tim­ber plugs or splic­ing in sea­soned match­ing new tim­ber (joints should co­in­cide with studs). En­tire boards may oth­er­wise need re­plac­ing. To re­pair a split, ap­ply glue and while this sets at­tach a block to the board be­low to form a clamp against the lower edge. Splits or holes can be cov­ered tem­po­rar­ily with thin sheet metal. Tap any loose boards back into po­si­tion and re­fix them be­fore se­ri­ous de­te­ri­o­ra­tion oc­curs.

If you have a ques­tion for Dou­glas, email it to pe­ri­odliv­ing @fu­*

Dou­glas Kent, tech­ni­cal and re­search direc­tor at the So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of An­cient Build­ings, an­swers your ren­o­va­tion queries

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