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Tintern Abbey Cottage: Painting with exterior breathable paint

Posted by Celtic Sustainables on

When we were sent this photo from Fiona entitled “Painting in Lockdown” and saw our exterior breathable paint in such a picturesque setting we simply had to find out more. 

Tintern Abbey Cottage - Painting with exterior breathable paint

Like many businesses, Fiona and family had taken unusual opportunity provided by lockdown (no guests, increase in time available for DIY and great May weather) to get on with a few projects. Fiona purchased Earthborn’s Silicate Masonry Paint (colour Sandstone) and Primer from us to paint the exterior walls of the pictured cottage with a highly permeable paint. 

Tintern Abbey Cottage is one of three 5 star graded stone self-catering cottages run by Monmouthshire Cottages, a family owned and operated business in Wales. During non-Covid lockdown times, they are open all year and welcome guests from all over the world. Visitors love the location with its associations with Henry VIII and the Dissolution, Wordsworth, Gilpin, Turner and the Picturesque movement. 

Dating from about 1750 Tintern Abbey Cottage was in a terrible state of disrepair having been badly neglected when the family purchased it in 2009. However, they felt it was in one of the best positions in Wales and they absolutely loved it on sight. 

Need an Exterior Breathable Paint? Highly Permeable Earthborn Silicate Masonry Paint

Tintern Abbey Cottage view from Driveway

The cottage was renovated 11 years ago from a very poor, near ruin, condition. It dates from approximately 1750 and is constructed of the local stone, a carboniferous sandstone. It also contains some blocks taken from the ruins of Tintern Abbey across the road. Common practice in the 18th century! 

In 2009 a great deal of renovation was carried out. The building was taken back to an oak and stone skeleton, roof off, insulation and dry lining throughout, new wiring, new plumbing and heating, new windows and doors. The exterior of the cottage needed a lot of work, removing crumbling mortar and the painstaking job was done of removing old paint to take it back to bare stone. The walls needed to be repointed with suitable materials and the walls needed to be clean, dry, free from any algae, and in a sound condition before any paint was applied – that was the hard part done!

An old building made of local porous and relatively soft sandstone requires a highly permeable paint. Something which will allow damp to come in but also go out again - the stone must breathe. After a great deal of research and helpful discussions with the technical people at several paint companies Fiona found Earthborn’s Silicate Masonry Paint range when first painted the house in 2009. 

Earthborn Silicate Masonry Paint

Earthborn Ecopro Silicate Masonry Paint is a highly durable mineral paint that dries to a classic, matt finish and is especially suitable for renovation work on historic buildings and listed properties. Being highly breathable yet water repellent it offers an alternative to traditional lime based and conventional coatings.

Being highly breathable and extremely long-lasting, Earthborn’s Ecopro Silicate Masonry System is suitable for all property types; from eco friendly new build homes to specialist conservation projects.

Fiona followed the silicate masonry paint formula, all surfaces to be painted where primed with a single coat of Earthborn Ecopro Silicate Primer first. Then they painted a coat of primer mixed with the Earthborn Silicate Masonry Paint. The final coat of paint without primer, as advised. 

“Our strapline is “Naturally Welcoming” because we are as green as possible. This does include choices concerning building materials and their suppliers, which is why we bought this paint, and sourced it within Wales.”

Painting in Lockdown - Repainting exterior walls with Earthborn Silicate Masonry Paint

Since the property gained it’s 5 star status the inside is, and has to remain, smartly comfortable, but the outside is highly visible and appearance is absolutely paramount. That is why, given the opportunity during lockdown with brilliant weather and no guests, Fiona and the team gave the cottage another coat of paint to brighten it up, ready to welcome guests in the summer. This time the walls were in good condition, so no remedial work was needed, just a coat of primer stabiliser mixed with paint, and then a coat of undiluted Silicate Masonry paint to finish. 

Painting exterior walls with permeable paint

“We have preferred to use masonry brushes rather than rollers on stone, this does use more paint than a masonry roller would but we feel it gives a better finish on our type of building. The paint is slightly thinner to work with but goes a lot further than the coverage indicator, we’ll save some in a sealed container should we need to do any further touch-ups.”

When Fiona originally ordered the Earthborn Silicate masonry paint in 2009, the colours where listed as numbers. So, this time around, Fiona first checked with a colour card and purchased a tester pot to be absolutely sure that they were picking the same colour as before.

Over the years Earthborn silicate paint colours have changed a lot. They have now named all the colours and have recently brought out a new Silicate Masonry paint range with 48 standard colours. The new colours are inspired by natural tones of the landscape, the colours have been carefully formulated to suit both modern and period homes. If you haven’t already seen Earthborn’s new colour card, you can order one here. 

"Making a home with all modern facilities inside an ancient body, and without destroying character, was a challenge - but it seems to have worked and we have been very heavily booked since we opened, with a high number of repeat guests too, which we consider the best form of accolade. We are always happy to explain the renovations to our guests on request- and many are interested."

Inside Tintern Abbey Cottage

The cottage is within the original boundary wall of Tintern Abbey and has full frontal Abbey views. It is walking distance to all the attractions of the village including eateries, craft centre, pubs, even a vineyard and brewery- as well as being right on several long-distance footpaths. A bus stops at the bottom of the drive making the whole of the lower Wye Valley accessible without a car and great for linear walkers. 

The cottage is a 5 star Holiday rental, it has won awards such as Best in Wales Award from Visit Wales on two occasions, SE Wales Regional Winner and was in the final 4 for 2020 Awards (Lockdown has ceased any finalists this year).

F and M at Tintern Abbey Cottage with abbey panorama

Staying at Tintern Abbey Cottage

Tintern Abbey Cottage sleeps 6 people in 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms. Offering short breaks and longer stays year-round, pets and children are welcome and on some dates there are reductions for parties of only two people staying. 

If you wanted to find out more about these cosy cottages in Wales, please visit their website:

Painting Exterior Walls with Eco Paint

To view our full range of eco-friendly exterior wall paint, please see the Wall Paint, Exterior section of this website. It has a wide range of breathable paint and paint suitable for applying over conventional (acrylic) paints. Or to discuss the options available to you, please do contact our friendly team.

[All Tintern Abbey Cotage photos copyright Momouthshire Cottages used here with kind permission.]