Rendering – A Look At the Different Types of House Rendering


This article introduces you to our rendering services. We explain the different rendering systems that are on the market today and we also have a look at some of the pros and cons of each. So let’s take a look.

First of all what does rendering mean?

Rendering has several meanings in the English language but in the building trade it comes from the word render meaning a coat of plaster or cement mortar applied to a surface.

Why Do People Render Their Houses?

Photo By Sarah Nichols

People have been rendering houses with an exterior coating for many years. In it’s primitive form mud houses comes to mind but rendered buildings in many different styles and colours can be seen throughout the world dating back centuries.

The reason people render their houses is to add a layer of protection to the property from the elements but it is also applied for decorative reasons. It can brighten up a tired building or hide poor brick work and joins where a new extension meets the original building.

Special effects, different colours and patterns can also be created completely changing the look of a property.

Some modern rendering systems also help insulate a property thereby reducing the amount of fuel needed to keep it warm.

So the main Key Benefits are:

. Helps protect against the elements
. It’s Decorative
. Some renders can even insulate and help reduce fuel bills

Listed below are the main types of render you are likely to come across.

Traditional Render Systems

1. Sand and Cement Render
2. Clay Render
3. Lime Render
3. Pebbledash Render

Modern Render Systems

5. Coloured render
6. Monocouche Render
7. Silicone Render
8. Acrylic Render
9. Insulated Render Systems or EWI

Sand and Cement Render

image showing bungalow with sand and cement render
Photo by P3 Plastering

This form of rendering is the most traditional and cheapest. It is just a sand and cement mortar mix that it applied to the walls which is then troweled up flat. It is also sometimes called flat render and left in it’s natural form will dry a cement grey colour. It can be left as it is but it is usually painted to a desired colour.

A colour pigment can be mixed into the mortar before application which will give it a coloured tint. Decorative coatings such as Tyrolean or Highbuildcan also be applied to add some extra weather protection and decoration.

The Pros of Using Sand And Cement Render

  • It’s effective.
  • It’s economical
  • It hides poor brick work
  • It can be repaired easily

The Cons of Using Sand And Cement Render

  • Not as weather resistant as some of the modern day renders.
  • The finish is quite basic
  • It has to be maintained
  • It is prone to cracking with movement
  • Needs to be painted

Clay Render

Photo by Creative Centre For Alternative Technology

Clay being a natural material was one of the first to be used as a render exterior coating. It is more popular amongst developers creating eco friendly buildings as it has undergone very little processing. Clay does attract and hold water so is best suited for application over straw or timber. It also softens when water is applied which is ok for repairs but not so good for withstanding the British weather.

Whilst techniques such as adding straw or oils to the mix have been tried it is still quite a vulnerable render material that has a poor resistance to erosion.

The Pros of using Clay Render

  • It’s environmentally friendly
  • It can easily be repaired
  • It’s cost effective

The Cons of using Clay Render

  • Poor resistance to erosion
  • Holds water
  • The finish is quite basic
  • High maintenance

Lime Render

Photo by Elliot Brown

Lime render is again another traditional render that is still used today. Being made with lime it has a huge advantage over traditional sand and cement render as it is flexible thereby reducing the risk of cracking making it particularly suitable for buildings prone to movement. It leaves an attractive traditional finish which will suit older properties or ones wanting a traditional style look. It is also eco friendly and durable but it takes longer to apply and the materials are more expensive therefore making it a lot dearer than a sand and cement render.

The Pros of Using Lime Render

  • It’s Flexible
  • It’s breathable
  • It has an attractive traditional look
  • It’s relatively low maintenance
  • It’s eco friendly

The Cons of Using Lime Render

  • It is quite expensive
  • A skilled application is needed
  • It takes longer to do
  • It requires quality aggregates

Pebbledash Render

There are two types of pebbledash render which are commonly known as dry dash or wet dash render systems. Dry Dash starts off life as a standard render application known as the receiver which is traditionally sand and cement or lime render. Whilst the render is still wet pebbles or small stones are thrown at it which create the pebbledash decorative finish.

Photo by P3 Plastering

Wet dash, or as it is sometimes called roughcast, is slightly different as the pebbles are first of all mixed with the render coat before it is applied.

Both systems are as good as each other from a durability point of view so it is really a matter or choice on the finish. The dry dash finish leaves a decorative pebble coating that can be left in it’s natural state with the pebbles showing or it can be painted. With the wet dash system the pebbles are already coated in the render mix which creates a more textured look rather than being able to see the pebbles so it is normally painted afterwards.

The Pros of Using Pebbledash Render

  • It’s weather resistant
  • Done well it can look attractive
  • It’s easy to repair
  • It’s not very expensive

The Cons of Using Pebbledash Render

  • Not as weather resistant as some of the modern day renders.
  • The finish is basic
  • It has to be maintained
  • It is prone to cracking with movement

Modern Render Systems

Advancements in technology means that traditional renders have come a long way. Special additives such as polymers, silicones and acrylics have created cost effective solutions to a variety of construction issues. Not only do these modern day renders deal with practical problems encountered with some traditional renders they also come in a wide range of colours and different finishes giving a homeowner so much more choice and flexibility.

So lets have a look at these modern renders.

Coloured Render

Coloured render is really a general term used for the modern through coloured polymer renders that are available today. It is not a separate render system on it’s own but it gets a mention here as I am always asked if we do coloured render. Well the answer is yes but first of all you need to know what coloured render or through coloured render actually means.

As we mentioned above traditionally render had to be painted or at best you could add some colour into the mix which would give it a coloured tint. Modern day coloured render is what is known as through coloured which means that the colour pigment is added during the manufacturing process. When the render is mixed and applied to the walls it is a solid colour throughout the render rather than a coating. The benefits of this are that you can choose from a range of available colours and you will never have to paint it. That is unless you change your mind on the colour at a later date.

The main render systems in the coloured render market are:

Monocouche Render

Monocouche is a one-coat cement based through coloured render that is weather resistant and breathable. It’s scraped render finish has a lovely clean crisp look and it is available in a range of colours. It is more expensive than traditional sand and cement render but it gives a much nicer finish and is much more durable. Although measures are taken to reduce the risk of cracking on application it is not crack resistant so unsuitable for buildings that are prone to movement. It is low maintenance and does not need painting.

The Pros of using Monouche Render

  • It’s water resistant
  • It’s low maintenance
  • It doesn’t need painting
  • It’s breathable
  • It has a crisp clean finish
  • There are a nice choice of colours

The Cons of Using Monocouche Render

  • It’s not crack resistant

Silicone Render

Photo By K-Rend

Silicone is known for it’s ability to repel water and it is this silicone technology that has been incorporated into cement based render systems to create a high degree of water repellency to the render surface. Despite this it is breathable and has a nice natural look finish to it. It also comes in a range of colours and is low maintenance.

The Pros of Using Silicone Render

• Water Repellent
• Low Maintenance
• Allows Structure To Breathe
• Natural Looking Finish
• Extensive colour range

The Cons of Using Silicone Render

  • Not very environmentally friendly
  • Can be quite expensive

Acrylic Render

Acrylic resin is a type of plastic that is added to the render during manufacture. It makes the render more flexible so it is less prone to cracking due to movement and it also provides some extra water resistance. It comes in a range of colours and textures and reduces the risk of cracking through movement. It is also available in a range of colours, finishes and textures.

The Pros of Using Acrylic Render

  • Flexible and more crack resistant
  • A range of colours, finishes and textures
  • Water resistant
  • Reasonably priced

The Cons of Using Acrylic render

  • Not very environmentally friendly
  • Does not allow property to breath

An added benefit of using modern day renders is that different special effects and finishes such as brick effect and stone. These effects can also be mixed together to create smart individual designs. We also discussed the traditional pebbledash render above but modern renders have also enabled this system to come back into life. With the use of new coloured modern render dash receivers instead of traditional sand and cement the majority of the pros that were previously associated with this type of render have been eliminated. Due to the modern render receiver that is used they are now much more weather resistant and the wide variety of different aggregates has enabled some really attractive finishes to be achieved.

These new systems are more expensive due to the materials used but they are proving to be very popular because of the other benefits they provide.

You can have a look at a project we carried out in Sheffield using one of the Wetherby pebbledash systems here

Insulated Render System or exterior wall insulation EWI

Photo by Weber

An external wall insulation system or EWI is a rendering system that provides external thermal insulation to a property in addition to the protective and and decorative render coating. Thermal installation materials such as polystyrene, mineral wool etc are used to clad the exterior of the property which is then covered in a suitable render finish. It is a popular choice where other insulation methods cannot be used for example there are no wall cavities to fill as it does not reduce the internal space of a building. Once completed the property looks just looks like it has received a smart new exterior render and the insulation has not encroached into any of the existing living space.


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Areas We Cover

  • Sheffield
  • Rotherham
  • Doncaster
  • Barnsley
  • Worksop
  • Retford
  • Chesterfield

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