=Render or notA good first question is do you really need to render? Render has
downsides, so if its not needed its as well to leave it off.
Good reasons to render:
* the masonry is an ugly mess
extensive masonry damage
* construction type requires render, eg earth wall
to [[Insulation|insulate]] a 4" wall
* lightweight blocks used for exterior wall
Downsides of render include:
* need to renew it all occasionally
sometimes increases risk of damp problems
* frequently doesn't look as good as unrendered walls
sometimes can damage the masonry underneath when it comes off later
=The LawRendering can be illegal.
1. When rerendering more than 25% of a wall, its now required to bring
wall [[insulation]] up to a certain level. This often requires fitting
2. Rendering an unrendered wall in a conservation area, or rerendering
a [[Listed Building Basics|listed building]] with a different material
mixture can both be illegal.
=MixesCement render is often 6:1 with plasticiser. [[Mortar Mixes|Other
mixes]] also get used.
Lime render is usually 3:1, though mixes are sometimes made a bit
richer, anything up to 2.5:1. Sometimes people include horsehair in
The [[sand]] used in either case can be builder's sand, sharp sand or
a mixture. A mix seems to be a popular choice.
=Formal and informalRendering can be done in a formal or informal style.
Formal uses accurate straight lines, beaded edges, and ends up dead
flat & level. Generally this suits modern buildings and formally
styled old houses. For this style,
# beads are fixed
# level strips of wood are laid down, adjusting them to get them all
level. 3 feet spacing is good
# The strips between these are filled in, using a timber stick or
feather edge to get them dead flat
# remove timber and fill
For a more informal result, no such procedure to get everything
precisely aligned is used, and the result is that lines and surfaces
aren't entirely level and flat. Rather than setting up accurately
level strips, one simply begins wherever and progresses over the wall
at will, not worrying about precision. This style suits less formal
old properties much better than the more precise approach.
Each method looks out of place on some buldings.
=Lime renderLime render suits some types of old building, both stylistically and
Earth walls and timber frame should use lime, not cement. Lime is more
permeable, more tolerant of movement and softer, all of which are
important on such walls.
Lime is also often recommended on old soft brick walls, though
discussing the use of lime versus cement on such walls often results
in disagreement. Spab on this.
Lime is a softer material than cement, and lime render should use
round corners to avoid unsightly damage.
=LathRender sticks well to some substrates, to some it doesn't. Some
substrates give good firm support to the render, some don't. Where
stick or support are insufficient, lath is used. Lath provides a
material that render can adhere to, and it reinforces the render.
Expanded metal lath (EML) is by far the most common lath in use today.
Some historic buildings use nailed wooden laths, often oak, or woven
=StrengthIf house movement occurs, which is no rarity on old buildings, the
best outcome is for the render to break. It may be tempting to make
the render stronger so it won't, but...
* this doesn't work, a layer of render can't support 100 tons of
the weakest element of the wall breaks, ie the bricks, causing
greater damage than cracked render
So in short the render should be weaker than the wall its applied to.
=Wall preparationAgain opinions differ... there are a few ways, all of which work in
There are 2 issues that prompt preparation: suction and a friable or
broken surface. A porous wall can suck a fair bit of [[water]] out of
applied render, causing very weak render that fails quickly. A friable
surface can result in poor adhesion, as can a broken surface.
==PVA/EVA=A coat of dilute PVA blocks suction and glues the surface together.
[[Adhesive|PVA]] is not water resistant, [[Adhesive|EVA]] is.
==Water=Wetting the wall before rendering solves the suction problem.
[[Water]] should be applied more than once, a lot gets sucked up. This
reservoir of water in the wall also keeps the new render damp for
longer, helping ensure it cures properly.
==Lime=A watery solution of lime is used where lime render will be used, and
the surface is in poor condition. It soaks in well and works as a slow
acting [[glue]], and is more compatible with some old building types
than [[Adhesive|PVA]]. Several coats can be needed.
=ShapingFlares: Where water will drip off where render stops, such as above a
window, the render is usally flared out to move the drips further out,
reducing wetting of masonry directly below. Metal bead is used to help
form the shape (plastic is also available)
Top edge: Where there is bare wall above rendered, the top edge of the
render should be sloped to shed [[water]]. Failing to do this can lead
to freeze/thaw cycle damage to the render or the brickwork, increased
risk of damp and earlier render failure.
Bare bottom: its generally advised to leave the bottom foot or so of
walls unrendered. This acts as an evporation zone, reducing risk of
=Texture==Smooth=A smooth finish stays cleanest longest, but has no visual detail. Its
achieved with a float or a wetted paintbrush. The surface is floated
to remove roughness and more or less even it out, without being fussy.
Then a wet paintbrush is gently run downward to get rid of the float
edge ridges, and smooth any slight indentations. This is all done
before the render sets, so is inevitably done in patches (except by
==Dry brushed=Tamp with a dry brush once the render has dried to give a mild
texture. Using a dry sponge in a circular motion is another option.
==Patterned=Patterns may be made with trowel & comb. Typically the wall is combed,
and the edges floated flat. This is another finish losing popularity.
Less often a simple diamond shaped scoring of the render is seen.
==Pargetting=Sometimes 3d artwork is incorporated into the plaster. Small
plastering tools may be used. Obviously this takes a fair amount of
time and skill to do well.
==Hurled=Render can be applied by throwing it on, and leaving it untrowelled.
This leaves a very rough craggy surface. Such a surface does attract
dirt, and takes more work to clean or paint.
==Pebbledash=Pebbledash is a pebbled mortar finish. Its popularity has declined.
There are 2 ways to apply pebbledash:
# apply mortar, trowel it more or less flat, throw pebbles on
# mix pebbles in with the mortar, throw the mix on, and gently water
the surface when it has set to remove the thin film of cement from the
face of the pebbles.
==Imitation stone=In some areas its popular to sculpt render to look like ashlar blocks.
Grooves are made in the render to imitate mortar joints.
==Scratchcoat=Any non-final coat should be scratched after application to enable a
good key to the next coat. Scratching tools include a scoring comb, a
block of wood with some [[nail]]s, or for small areas even a stick
=Colour[[Paint]]ed render may look nicer, but it needs repainting at times.
Lime render is near white, or light pink if made with red [[sand]].
Lime also sheds slightly (microscopically) over the years, making it
to a very limited extent self cleaning.
Incoporating just a small amount of subsoil into lime render removes
some of its brightness, giving a broken white colour. This isn't often
For render that won't be painted, coloured aggregate is occasionally
added for decorative effect. Gently brushing the render the next day
exposes more of this. Running [[water]] gently down the surface once
its set exposes rather more.
=QuantityAn inch (2.5cm) of render uses about 50kg [[sand]] and 7.5kg cement
per square metre.
=See Also* [[Special:Allpages|Wiki Contents]]
[[Special:Categories|Wiki Subject Categories]]