Hemp/Lime Building

There are people who love the idea of using a hemp/lime mix to build houses. There are also people not so fond of the concept.

I spoke to one man who decided that he would use the age old method after much research into the building style and its benefits.

“I figured that I was only going to build a house for myself once so why not do something different that I could be proud of.”

The frame of his home was built using timber. Much the same as you would see in most standard timber frame units.

The major differance came in how the walls were finished and filled.

In place of standard insulation, the hemp/lime mix was loaded into the timber frame. Each side of the frame was covered in temporary sheets of ply to allow the mix to be loaded into place. This was done in sections to allow for setting. You can see this in the pictures below.

Hemp Lime House during building and pre final plaster finish

To avoid the arguments between eco warrior and cost effective warriors I have a simple outline below of some of the key benefits of this type of building material.

Benefits as a construction material

  • It is an effective form of insulation
  • It is hygroscopic
  • When set, it can be as strong as concrete
  • It is a proven & widely used construction material – just not yet in Ireland
  • Can aid a buildings ability to self regulate temperature when designed to do so
  • Contains fire resistant properties
  • Contains vermin resistant properties
  • Allows for untreated timber sub frames as its properties protect the timber itself

Benefits on the green/eco side

  • It acts as a carbon store
  • It is far greener to produce than most other building materials


  1. Not sure when this article was written but curious to know how hamp lime wall was finished. Would you use a lime plaster and if so what mix. Or could you just lime wash it if the finish was already smooth enough.

  2. Hemp-Lime building are generally finished with a hemp lime scratch coat with a roght cut hemp and then finished with a finely screened hemp for a smooth finish internally while externally the final coat should be a traditional sand-lime mix over a hemp-lime scratch coat. A lime wash would not be enough in my opinion as the wall mix is too lean and would need more protection. Something like a heraclith board in the reveals is a good idea to protect corners and give something to pack against. *******Advertising text removed*********

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