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Rendering is the process of applying a protective coat to the external wall of a building. Render allows the building’s walls to stay fresher for longer by protecting them from water damage, wind and corrosion over time. The process is also often done for aesthetic purposes, as the finish can be rough, smooth, coloured or patterned, depending on the client’s requirements.
As specialists in render cleaning, we’re aware that identifying and choosing the right type of render for your property can be confusing when so many different render types of finish are available. This is why we created our own guide to modern render - we hope this answers some of your questions about the wide variety of renders that exists.
If you are still unsure about the type of rendering your building has or would like to have yours rendered, get in touch with us. We can organise a site visit and book you in for a free sample clean.
Cement render is a mixture made of fine sand, cement, lime and water. Since the war, it has been a very popular building finishing process due to its strengthening, water-proofing properties, and attractive finish. Cement render is usually applied to stone, brick, concrete and mud brick.
One thing to consider is that modern cement render should not be applied to old buildings (pre-19th Century). Those are usually made of either non-hydraulic lime or natural hydraulic lime and don’t work well with modern cement render. Applying it to an old building would speed up its deterioration and keep the moisture in without allowing it to evaporate.
Cement render is more cost-effective when it comes to building materials. However, because it requires three coats, it is more labour intensive.
Lime render is one of the oldest types of render. Extensively used by the Romans, it has been proven to stand the test of time. Most buildings pre-19th Century are built using lime, and although its popularity started to decline with the rise of other building materials, it’s still the best option for renovating old buildings.
That is because lime render is breathable - it collects moisture before allowing it to evaporate. Sand and cement render, on the other hand, locks in the moisture and is therefore not suitable for old buildings, as it would speed up their deterioration.
Silicone render has become one of the most popular rendering options. This is because of its ease of application, breathability, flexibility and durability. It can also come pre-coloured, making it easier to apply since you don’t have to add a topcoat. Coloured renders are usually through-coloured and thus more cost-effective because there is no need to paint them, even when they begin to slightly wear off.
One of the cons of silicone render is the price. It is more expensive than other rendering finishes; however, this is due to its fantastic qualities, such as longevity - it should last a minimum of 25 years.
Polymer, or mineral render, is usually a cement render that has added polymers. Those polymers are used to add different qualities to the cement, making it more hydrophobic, flexible and permeable.
Polymer renders are a common choice for high-rise buildings - their weatherproofing properties mean that the render is less prone to damage. Polymer render is also easier to clean, meaning that the upkeep is easier and cheaper.
One of the downsides of mineral renders is that they need to be painted after application, of which can raise costs.
Acrylic render is a cement-based render with plastics added to the mix to increase the material’s flexibility, durability and hydrophobic properties. Acrylic render can be applied in a few different ways, including spraying, which makes it one of the easiest renders to apply. Two thin coats of acrylic render need to be applied to the property’s walls.
One of the many benefits of acrylic render is its drying time - it takes around 2 days to fully dry, as opposed to up to 28 days with different types of render.
Monocouche, otherwise known as a scratch render, is a cement-based render with added silicones. It has better water-repelling properties than traditional cement render and increased breathability, which allows the water to vaporise.
It is applied in a thick coat, similarly to cement render. Monocouche uses white Portland cement, as opposed to traditional, grey cement. Thanks to this, colour can easily be applied to it.
Scratch render can be through-coloured. This means that even if the render cracks or splits, the damage is not as visible.
Although renders tend to be durable, you cannot completely prevent staining or algae growth. Environmental factors such as pollution will have an impact on render, as well as external factors like graffiti. To keep rendered buildings looking their best, it is recommended that they are cleaned every year.
It is important to contact a professional before cleaning render - using the wrong methods and chemicals for the wrong type of render can further damage the surface of the building. This type of damage is difficult to fix and will usually require completely rerendering the property.
At Spectrum, we have extensive experience cleaning render and have developed restoration methods that are quicker, safer, and cheaper. Instead of using a high-pressure jet wash, which can damage the render, we use a steam wash. It is the safest method to use as it cleans the walls well without the potential of damaging more delicate surfaces.
By using rope access and cherry pickers, we minimise the risk of accidents while still managing to clean difficult-to-reach surfaces. By avoiding the use of heavy machinery and scaffolding, we have previously saved our clients up to 70% in access costs.
We have been restoring and renovating render successfully for many years. You can check out some of our more recent work on our social hub. We effectively restore facades of buildings back to the way they looked when they were new - with no paint, no scaffolding, and very minimal disruption.
For more information, visit our render cleaning service page here.
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