Thursday 22 August 2013

Fascinating Delaminations

Many of the stone slabs which once covered the ground floor and basement of Balintore Castle, have long since been, er, re-purposed in the gardens of the surrounding area. I am aware of some in the nearby village of Kingoldrum, and even the slabs in one of my neighbours' gardens look rather familiar.

Needless-to-say, re-flooring Balintore is one of the most expensive parts of the restoration both in terms of material and labour. The positive aspect is that when reinstating stone floors, one can install underfloor heating and insulation.

As a temporary and unsatisfactory flooring solution, we had arranged the slabs and slab fragments lying around into as flat a surface as we could muster. Today, we lifted these slabs in preparation for the proper flooring solution. Some of these flags were partially de-laminated when we laid them, but on lifting these up (several winters down the line), they miraculously cleaved into intact sheets right in from of our eyes, much is the way slates are produced, but without any of the effort. So one slab, for example, split into 3 new slabs, each roughly a centimetre in depth. Hurrah, this means that we have extra new slabs with which to patch the existing floors. albeit with some extra support underneath required. Some of the original floor slabs at Balintore are 3 inches thick - no support required!

The new stone surfaces revealed by the splitting were not what one would have expected. They were dark and riven with a beautiful greenish hue. The photograph was taken obliquely to the light to show the surface texture. The stone floors in Balintore are currently flat and a light dusty grey, but now I realise the original colour and texture could have been very different. A similar argument applies to the stone the castle was built from. It looks a purple-brown colour now, but originally before oxidation it was a mid grey. This become apparent to me one day, when I saw some stone, internal to a block, revealed.  So when first built, the castle was a very different colour.

newly split surface of stone stab : emerald and riven


  1. Dear David,

    As I'm playing with the idea of the restauration of a castle, I have a couple specific questions:
    1) Was Balintore for sale when you obtained it, or were there negotiations to do with the owner(s) when you wanted to buy it?
    2) What do the headlines of your financial plan look like? Do you have it all in place or is it more "as you go"?
    3) Did you at first fix a small part of the castle to live in?

    Kind regards,


  2. Oh, and my email is degendtkarel(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!