Case Study – MicroCement in a Grade II listed building

Project introduction and historic overview

Opus Bathroom was recently commissioned to design and install a family bathroom in an old watermill located in Sayers Common, Hurstpierpoint. The building dates back to the early 17th century and has undergone various adaptations over the centuries, including a rebuild in 1869 and the addition of a Victorian mansion in 1877. This expansion allowed for much of the early milling equipment to be upgraded, sustaining the mill until its closure in 1966. The building was awarded Grade II listed status in 1983. The restoration efforts, including the watermill and engine machinery all showcased on the lower ground floor. This area is opened to the public for the annual open day, highlighting its historical industrial significance.

Clients brief

Modern 21st century bathroom but with a sympathetic approach to the period of the property. Warm neutral tones, Scandinavian style with boutique tiles. Must include underfloor heating with a shower and bath, preferably separate.

The challenge.

Being a Grade II listed building always throws its challenges as you cant alter the structure or exterior aesthetic without prior approval, this can also result in a problem with internal finishes too. We came up against several obstacles that would pose an issue for the design. Iron pillars, low ceiling heights, un-level surfaces and access issues. Our clients wanted to achieve having not just to a bath and shower but having them separate from each other. Traditional shower enclosures would not work due to ceiling height issues & access restraints from the iron pillar, off the shelf floor tiles would not work as the subfloor was 60mm out of level and extremely bumpy…. We really had to think outside the box on this one.


The solution

Using microcement in Grade 2 listed buildings requires careful consideration to ensure that any modifications are sympathetic to the historic character and fabric of the building. Here are some key points to consider:

Compliance with Regulations

  • Planning Permission: Any alterations to a Grade 2 listed building typically require planning permission and listed building consent. Consult with local conservation officers and planning authorities to ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Historic Fabric: Ensure that the application of microcement does not damage or cover historically significant features. Preservation of the building’s original materials and architectural details is paramount.

Aesthetic Considerations

  • Sympathetic Design: Choose microcement finishes and colors that complement the building’s historic character. Opt for more traditional textures and tones that blend seamlessly with existing materials.
  • Matching Surroundings: When applying micro-cement to floors or walls, consider how it will interact with surrounding historic features, such as wooden beams, stone walls, or period fixtures.

Application Process

  • Non-Invasive Techniques: Ensure the application process is non-invasive and reversible, preserving the integrity of the original structure. Avoid extensive preparation methods that could damage the underlying historic fabric.
  • Expert Application: Hire skilled professionals with experience in working on listed buildings and applying microcement in a historically sensitive manner.

Benefits of Microcement in Historic Buildings.

  • Thin Application: Ideal Works Microcement’s thin application layer (typically 2-3 mm) means it can be applied without significantly altering the building’s dimensions or structure.
  • Durability and Maintenance: Microcement provides a durable, easy-to-maintain surface, which can be beneficial in high-traffic areas of historic buildings.
  • Moisture Resistance: Its water-resistant properties make it suitable for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where moisture could be a concern.

Practical Examples

  • Flooring: Use microcement on floors to create a durable, easily cleanable surface that still respects the building’s historic character. Choose neutral colours and finishes that mimic traditional stone or wood.
  • Bathrooms and Wet Areas: Microcement can be used to update bathrooms while preserving the building’s character. Ensure any modern fixtures and finishes are in keeping with the historical context.
  • Feature Walls: Apply micro-cement to specific walls as a feature, ensuring it complements rather than overshadows the building’s historic elements.

Case Studies and Examples

  • Conservation Projects: Look at examples of other Grade 2 listed buildings where microcement has been used sympathetically. This can provide inspiration and demonstrate how modern materials can be integrated into historic settings.
  • Architectural Guidance: Consult with architects and conservation experts who specialize in listed buildings. They can provide tailored advice and design solutions that respect the building’s heritage.


Using microcement in Grade 2 listed buildings can be a viable option if approached with sensitivity and respect for the building’s historic character. By working closely with conservation professionals and choosing appropriate finishes, it is possible to enhance the functionality and aesthetic of the space without compromising its heritage value.Micro-cement-grade-II-listed-building

As you can see, we chose the perfect finishing product for this bathroom. Please check out the project on our gallery pages.

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