Materials – sand, cement, lime and plaster


Little do you know if before you start your project, but these are the things you will come to love – builders materials. Types and colours of sand and cement; when to use lime; how to use plaster are all covered.

Even if you don’t want to do the renovation yourself, after the builders have left you will probably still find lots of small things that need doing or finishing off.

Quick tip

Paint effects

Try out different paint effects to give your home a new look, try rag rolling, stippling or marbling. If you’re handy with a paint brush and eager to let your inner artist out, then consider painting a trompe l’oeil effect on a wall. Remember you could simply project an image onto a wall and paint around it – you don’t need to be a great artist to have a go at this. So get your paint brushes out and get creative.


You may also be tackling a room or two yourself, where the work involved is not too great. If only you knew the best approach to use, and the appropriate materials to use…


“If you elect to have off-peak (heures creuses) electricity, then EDF will provide you with wiring controlled by their equipment to switch your off-peak system on and off. The EDF off-peak equipment is usually a relay located beside their meter and fusegear. This relay is meant for the control circuit functions of your contactor (contacteur) or off-peak relay (jour/nuit) only. It must not be used to directly control equipment. The EDF relay is timed to operate in the usual manner at the predetermined off-peak times”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


This section looks at the different types of sand, lime, cement and plaster and the usual ways in which they are employed. Most of these products are available in small quantities at your local bricolage store, so you can avoid the need to purchase a 35kg sack of plaster just to fill a small hole or two. Many of the materials mentioned throughout this section are available in the SB Mercier range of products, and are available in DIY stores across France.

General Advice when Using these Products

Even for small jobs you should follow the same basic rules:

1) Work in a clean dust free space if possible

2) Use clean tools

3) Use clean water

4) Use clean dry materials

5) Mix your products in a clean, usually rubber or plastic, tray or bucket

5) After using them, clean your tools and organise them somewhere they can be found again easily

6) Clean up after you! – it makes work much more efficient, and of a higher quality, if you always start with a clear clean work area around you, rather than stamping through piles of dust every time you move.

You will have spotted a theme in each of these rules – ‘clean’. Completely obvious, and often ignored. I have twice uncovered dead rabbits who had attempted to burrow into a sand pile during our own works. But this is not recommended good practice, or funny.

Check out the individual postings for details about sand, cement, lime and plaster.

Related Post

DIY Tips

Want to add a personal touch to your home? Then get creative to add style that’s one of a kind to your home. Patchwork, knitting and crochet can all be used to add chic soft furnishings and accessories to your home, from cushions to throws and more. If you are new to crafting there’s lots of advice available online including helpful craft tutorials. Also take a make do and mend approach to upcycling existing pieces in your home with paint, decoupage or fabric.


Give is your thoughts by email ….

or join our Forum and discuss your tips or experiences Visit the forum

Electrical Tip

“Although at first glance lighting, sockets and off-peak heating in France may all appear familiar, closer investigation will reveal that the installation methods are different to those employed in the UK”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


We are a new website, we are still growing our content, we want everyone that is renovating in France to help us feature what we all wanted to know when we all started, contact us with all your experience and tips, we live just south of Celles Sur Belle, in Deux Servre, 79, and are just about to start out on our next renovation, every job we start on, every problem, product or skill we need to learn about i will try and find some useful information on the internet and share it with you, yes I could do this by sharing it on facebook, but the problem is it just helps facebook and disappears down the timeline, here links and articles will be searchable and here permanently for you to book mark and refer to, so watch this space … and if you have links and articles that have helped you let us know !!1

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