Your home is an important asset and how it looks on the outside reflects you and your family. An increasingly popular method of protecting and improving the exterior of a property is to cover the brickwork and other construction material in a coat of render. A mixture of cement, lime, acrylic, or sometimes other materials protects against erosion and cracking, preventing the possibility of future costly repairs. The process of applying the mixture is called rendering. While normally, a task is done by a professional, it is possible with proper research and the correct set of tools to complete it yourself. We’ll look at the different types of render and the tools needed and briefly outline the process so you can have some idea of what is required.

The Various Types of Render

Traditional render is a mixture of cement, sand, an aggregate blend, and water mixed by hand or a rendering machine. Modern renders are moving away from using cement; the newer products use different materials to improve their protective abilities, guard against biological growth or even change the colour of the mixture. The different types of render fall into these categories –

  • Mineral – this cement-based one-coat render with lime and polymers will need additional painting to protect from the rain.
  • Acrylic – this type uses acrylic and polymer ingredients, normally pre-mixed and pre-coloured; it’s durable but can attract algae.
  • Silicon – a premium product that uses silicon to add an extra level of waterproofing, it is though very expensive at around £60 per square metre.

One other type is Lime render, an older product applied in multiple coats; it is making a comeback due to its flexibility and aesthetic qualities.

Rendering Tools

The tools needed to render are quite specialised. It is recommended that you source good quality examples; you can hire them or purchase new; after completion, a healthy second-hand tools market exists to claim some money back. The equipment needs to render successfully is as follows –

  • Stainless Steel Trowel – a key tool that is ideal for multiple applications throughout the process.
  • Square Notched Trowel – used to apply to render at the right thickness.
  • Bucket Trowel – used for moving wet render or adhesive.
  • Plastic Render Float – Used to get a textured finish.
  • Sponge Float – this tool is used to smooth out the basecoat.
  • Corner Trowel – this trowel enables you to render around corners.
  • Speedskim is not essential, but a great timesaver smooths a wide area.

Additional to this list is the appropriate PPE equipment to keep you safe and deal with unexpected accidents or minor injuries, boots, hard hats, eyewear, gloves and a first aid kit.

The Rendering Process

Rendering the exterior walls of any property is very similar to the internal plastering process; this short article doesn’t allow for a complete listing, but further research will find a wealth of excellent online guides for budding amateurs. The process takes around two full good weather days and follows these steps –

  • Cleaning and preparation – the surface will need cleaning to remove any loose particles that may impede the render from adhering.
  • Mixing renders correctly – always follow the instructions; a mixing machine is a recommendation.
  • Applying the first coat – apply the first coat, scratch and leave to dry.
  • The further coats – depends on what type of render is used.
  • Float and sponge – this finishes the topcoat for the desired effect.

Remember that rendering is a skill; if possible, practice on a garden wall before tackling the main project; with proper research, the correct tools and a positive outlook, there is no reason you can’t prevail, good luck!

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