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What is Lime Putty?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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More properly known as calcium hydroxide, lime putty is used as the base material for a number of different applications in building construction. The process for creating it involves the combination of lime chalk or limestone fragments with water to produce a variety of different products. This product, also called quicklime, can be employed as a binding agent, a covering coat on a structure, or as one component in the creation of walkways or mosaics.

The basic recipe for lime putty requires taking raw lime chalk and adding in a specified amount of liquid, most commonly water. This creates a product that is normally referred to as hydrated lime. Once the water and lime agent are thoroughly mixed, the product is heated to a high temperature that helps the mixture to thicken. Once the product has reached the proper consistency, the putty is often allowed to settle and mature over a period of several months. In order to keep it from drying out, a thin layer of water is applied to the top level, and the container is sealed.

Calcium hydroxide can be used in a thick composition for plastering and grouts. This makes the medium ideal for use in the assembly of a mosaic, a walkway, or as part of the design for a piece of art. While working with lime putty, workers should spray down the construction with a little water and cover the piece with plastic when not actively working on the project. These simple steps will prevent the putty from drying out before the final configuration is complete.

It is also possibly to use this material as the base for a plastering technique. One advantage of a lime plaster is that the product is ideal for use in humid climates. When applied as a plaster, it will still allow the walls to absorb condensation and accelerate the evaporation of the damp. The same effect can also be accomplished with limewashing, although the lime wash is much less effective.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including About Mechanics, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By anon1006410 — On Mar 07, 2022

The article fails to mention it is made from burnt lime, not raw limestone.

By ShadowGenius — On Feb 03, 2011

Hydrated lime makes a useful flocclant, meaning that it is flushed down drains to remove blockage. It gathers smaller sediments and carries them away with the water flow.

By FitzMaurice — On Feb 02, 2011

Did you know? Celts used Lime to die their hair and Woad to taint their skin, providing for an intimidating effect in encountering their enemies. They would strip nude and play loudly on the bagpipes while chanting in unison, hoping to frighten away the enemy and eliminating a need to attack them full-force.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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