White paint/plaster stuff on my cellar walls

Hi
On my cellar walls and joists, there is a white coating which can be described as a cross between paint and plaster. It is quite thick but most is coming off in large brittle flakes. Am I right in assuming that this is whitewash? I know that a lime based coating is best in a cellar as it breathes. Does anyone know how I would make up more of this?
Thanks in advance
James
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On 26 Sep 2003 01:13:41 -0700, jameswilson snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (James W) wrote:

I would contact the Ministry of Defence. They seem to be quite good at it.....
.andy
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wrote:

Sorry for that, couldn't resist. :-)
I would look at what Farrow and Ball have. They manufacture a number of traditional paint finishes....
.andy
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I guess it would be distemper - a mix of chalk (calcium carbonate) , water and possibly linseed oil. Have a look at this link:
http://www.spab.org.uk/publications_Q&A_softdistemper.html
As the previous poster has suggested, Farrow & Ball manufacture distemper:
http://www.farrow-ball.com/main.php?terr=uk
Andy

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Water based distemper is 'dusty' so best used only on ceilings where it wont get rubbed against. I suspect you cellar has been limewashed many times.
Remove any loose flakes, brush down and then wet the wall until the water stops being sucked greedily into it.
Limewash is lime putty mixed with water to a single cream consistency. You will need to stir the limewash regularly while painting cos it tends to separate out again. Lime putty can be bought by the tub for about 15 from various places including Jewsons. One tub will make enough limewash to cover 1000 cellars. Don't buy readymade limewash from a paint supplier as you will be paying a lot of money for water.
Work the limewash into the surface with your brush because you are trying to get close enough contact to make a chemical bond. For the chemical reaction to happen both air and water must be present, so turn off any heating in advance and give it a spray with water a few hours after you finish. Air flow might be a problem in a cellar, so allow plenty of time for the first coat to set before doing the next. Normally the next day would be OK but in a cellar you might want to wait until next weekend.
The limewash will be very transparent when its first put on, but as it sets it becomes brilliant white. Three coats is reasonable, but see how you go.
Anna -- ~~ Anna Kettle, Suffolk, England |""""| ~ Pargeting, decorative and traditional / ^^ \// lime plasterwork |______| www.kettlenet.co.uk 07976 649862
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