Wattle & Daub: Craft, Conservation & Wiltshire Case Study
3.6 Daub
4.1 Soils
4.1.3 Strength
4.2 Dung
4.2.2 Lignin
4.2.3 Urine
4.3 Fibre
5.4.2 Renewal

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5.2 Defects and Decay

Wattle and daub has a reputation for being friable and unable to endure the damp British climate, yet this is something of a myth: it is generally the lack of respect for the fabric which has led to neglect and lack of maintenance. Where sheltered, wattle and daub may last almost indefinitely, as demonstrated by intact 14th century panels. Even when in exposed locations, a daub panel will survive indefinitely if appropriately maintained.

The proper diagnosis of defects should form a part of an ordered appraisal of the structure as a whole. It is extremely important to note that where a timber frame has deteriorated, the load paths may have altered. Stability of the building may have become dependent on one or more vertical staves taking a vertical load. Where such a stave is subsequently removed there is a risk of structural instability or collapse. It is therefore imperative that this matter is considered as part of the appraisal process, when choosing repair options and when writing schemes of works.