Render | Beneath the Surface

Render: we talk about it all the time, but what is it?

Render covers a wide range of applications, purposes, textures and styles. Different renders have different benefits and knowing which to choose will make the difference between a failed job that needs patching up every six months and a reliable render that may last for years.

So, let’s take a look at what render is, where it comes from and what to use for your next project:

The History of Rendering

Rendering has been around for thousands of years. In medieval Europe, a mixture of sand, clay, straw and even animal dung was daubed onto a wattle, or panel of woven sticks or strips, to form weather-resistant walls. Lime-based renders or plasters, closer to what we use today, have been around since 7,500 BC and the ancient Romans applied a layer of lime, sand, gypsum and marble dust to their dwellings to create a smooth surface layer for their frescos and wall paintings.

What is Render?

In its most basic form, render is a cement mixture applied to a rough surface to create a smooth, even, sometimes purposefully textured finish. Brick or rock walls, rough flooring, form joints, plasterboard and any other uneven surface can be given a consistent, aesthetic finish, both internally and externally.

What is Render Made Of?

Across the centuries, render has contained all sorts of materials, from the straw and manure of wattle and daub to hemp fibre, mud and even animal hair.

These days, cement, sand, lime and water are the primary ingredients and offer a precise consistency across large surfaces and through multiple applications. With modern research and technology, many other components – including marble, aggregates, silicone and acrylic – are also added to create different varieties of render.

Why Render?

The simplest reason for rendering is to make your home look good, inside and out! Rendering provides a consistent, smooth surface, regardless of what lies underneath. So however rough your brickwork or joinery is, you can achieve an even layer to cover it all up!

Rendering also improves insulation and eliminates the chances of drafts and water penetration, especially in timber buildings. It can also increase fire safety offering a fire-retardant barrier to more flammable materials beneath. Added to this, the right render can work with natural lighting, reflecting and enhancing it in darker properties or rooms, or softening and absorbing it in particularly bright buildings.

The Different Types of Render

Render comes in many variations of its original cement-lime-sand combination, all offering their own unique benefits and characteristics.

However, you can break renders down into two primary types: cement and acrylic.

Cement renders are, generally speaking, considerably cheaper. They can also be a bit easier to work with and can be mixed on site, which can be very useful if you’re covering a larger area.

Acrylic renders come pre-mixed and offer better water resistance – an important factor if you’re living in a particularly rainy or damp environment. They are also often more mould-resistant, reducing the need for maintenance. A key benefit of acrylic renders is their flexibility, reducing cracking and the need for patch-ups, especially in new builds where the property will go through a ‘settling’ period.

We’ll discuss these different forms of render in a future blog post – so stay tuned!

For help selecting the right types of render for your next project, visit our FAQs Page or call us on 1300 736 668.