By Pat Taylor
If you remember from my previous update, we had two exterior areas of the historic Armijo-Gallagher House, the future home of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, we had opened up to assess.
The west wall area section was stabilized with adobe. Since then, with it drying sufficiently, we applied a leveling coat of mud plaster to be followed by a lime plaster, which was the original exterior plaster material.
I set stones into the adobe to better anchor the lime plaster in a time-honored system called “rajuelar.” In using this rajuelar method, the lime adheres well to the stones.
After the mud plaster leveling coat had dried, I applied this first coat of lime plaster. The lime plaster is a permeable plaster, which allows the adobe walls to breathe so moisture can naturally evaporate unimpeded.
This first lime plaster coat, once dry, will be followed by a filler coat, then a finish coat and finally several coats of lime wash.
The front wall area dried as well, after the cement plaster was removed. The minimal damage it had sustained stemmed from the incompatible cement plaster and concrete sidewalk.
This wall area had the mortar joints recessed where the original lime plaster had been keyed into somewhat similar to the rajuelar system. I followed that same use of keying into the recessed mortar joints with the lime plaster along with employing the use of stones for the rajuelar system.
With the first coat of lime, the plaster was applied – just enough to cover the recessed mortar joints. I did not want to exceed too much depth on the first coat along with lime plastering the lower area that had sustained the minimal damage, as previously described.
After it is dry, a second coat of lime plaster will be applied and allowed to dry, followed with the finish coat and lime washes.
As previously mentioned, the lime plaster is key to the building being able to breathe. The two interior areas that we opened up have dried well and will have mud leveling coats as they originally had and a finish plaster to complete them.