February 8, 2022

What is Bungaroosh?

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Bungaroosh example

Why is it almost exclusive to our Sussex seaside towns around Brighton? 

Bungaroosh, sometimes spelt bungerouche or bungeroosh, is a composite material used for building. It is generally found in the Brighton, Newhaven and Seaford areas and can incorporate a variety of substances and materials from coastal locations, some taken from the sea but also lime, gravel, coarse sand, flints and sometimes bricks. It is frequently used in external walls, but we have come across it in cellars and as dividing internal walls. 

Listen to Matthew Cox from Charles Cox Property Management explaining it in person.

Bungaroosh is combined products from coastal locations. Using pieces of brick, crumbling cliff, cobble stones, flints, chalk, pebbles, or any other product available, walls were created using a clay base and a limestone mix. 

With some of the properties, especially those from the Edwardian and Victorian eras, is that it was given a protective render. When this layer breaks down with age, the bungaroosh becomes porous. Walls made of bungaroosh are not particularly friendly in coastal locations, given that many of their products emanate from the sea and shore. 

These boundary walls are often found in Brighton, Kemptown, Newhaven, and Seaford and have been protected over time with the rendering.  

When homeowners or builders reveal the render, they will see this bungaroosh mess and think it is a bodge job by a local builder, but actually, it is a building method that is how many of these walls were built in the late 17th and mid 18th centuries.  

As with other building methods, bungaroosh can become affected by water and heat. As a result, the material will contract and expand and can create problems for the protective layer of render, but there are specialist surveyors, expert masonry contractors and experienced bricklayers who can improve your bungaroosh problems.