All too often, even with the best of intentions, new and old flint structures are ruined by lack of thought or incomplete knowledge. Following a few basic steps can transform the aesthetics and strength of a structure, thereby keeping the tradition of flint working alive.
Though the prospect may appear daunting and complicated, many relatively simple repairs can be carried out by most individuals if they are prepared to expend a little time and effort. However, before undertaking any work it is important to assess the planned work correctly and if it is of major structural or historical signifance it may be important or even necessary to seek the advice of a professional or a conservation agency. Before undertaking any work it is recommended to spend a little time appraising, researching and documenting the structure. With just a small investment of time you will go a long way towards preserving the aesthetics and retaining the local distinctiveness of the structure. Damage can occur because of indifference or when the wrong repair techniques or materials have been employed. Using the correct methods and materials you are more likely to prolong the life of the structure.
There are various flint laying styles and a variety of finishes. These can vary according to construction period, the importance of the structure, the region and specific location. Clients are not always confident about the most appropriate style to use. Generally, the answer lies in matching the style and finish to the particular location and period of the property. If you are undertaking or supervising flint work asking a few of the following questions may help: Choosing the correct flint: Is it the right colour and size? Is it a field flint, quarried, or a beach cobble? Laying style: Are the flints upright or angled? Have they been laid randomly or in courses? What size are the joints between each flint? Finish: Has it been snapped or knapped? Has it been left unworked? Is it a combination of field and snapped flint? If snapped, at what ratio to unsnapped. Pointing style: Is the finished pointing style flush finish, line pointing, snails creep, galletting or ribbon pointing?