Old skills in use as house is restored

The work taking place at Ardress House.
The work taking place at Ardress House.

Traditional skills are being kept alive with the re-rendering of Ardress House, outside Portadown.

The 17th-century farmhouse is undergoing a facelift thanks to a £120,000 investment from the National Trust, which will restore the original facade to its former glory.

Local tradesmen will carry out the essential repairs to make the building waterproof and it is estimated that it will take up to a year to complete.

The house and grounds will remain open to visitors while the work is carried out.

Edward Mason, general manager for the National Trust Mid Ulster properties, said, “When Dublin architect George Ensor built Ardress House in the 1700s, building techniques and materials were very different from those used in the last 50 years.

“The original façade was made of weatherproof materials to protect the walls. However, in the 1960s a cement-based render was applied to Ardress. This left the building susceptible to problems with damp, cracking render and flaking paint, caused by trapped moisture.”

He added, “To ensure protection of the farmhouse a lime render will be used due to its distinct advantages over cement-based render.

“Lime is less dense and more breathable and closer in strength to many of the types of material used by the Ensors when Ardress was built.

“The simple advantage of using a lime render is that it allows the walls to breathe and diffuse any water vapour that penetrates into them.”

Ardress House is open from Thursday-Sunday in July and August and on weekends in September from 1-6pm.