Render is always part of the design and building conversation but how much do people really know or understand about it?

Render covers a wide range of applications, purposes, textures and styles. Different renders have different benefits – knowing what 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 goes back thousands of years. Lime-based renders or plasters – quite similar to what we use even today – have been around since 7,500 BC. 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. 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.

What is render?

In its most basic form, render is a cement mixture applied to a rough surface to create a smooth, even and 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.

Modern day construction uses a mix of cement, sand, lime and water as the primary ingredients, which delivers precise consistency across large surfaces and through multiple applications. Thanks to continuous research and technology developments, other materials including marble, aggregates, silicone and acrylic are also added to create different varieties of render.

Why render?

Rendering makes buildings look good, inside and out, providing a consistent, smooth surface, regardless of the condition of the substrate. No matter how rough your brickwork or joinery is, you can achieve an even layer to cover it all up, enhancing the final design aesthetic.

In addition to enhancing visual appeal, rendering also improves insulation, eliminating the chances of drafts and water penetration, especially in timber buildings. It can also increase fire safety by providing a fire-retardant barrier to more flammable materials beneath. Additionally, the right render can work with natural lighting, reflecting and enhancing it in darker spaces, or softening and absorbing it in particularly bright buildings.

The different types of render

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

However, renders can be broken down into two primary types: cement and acrylic.

Cement renders are, generally speaking, considerably cheaper, are also easier to work with, and can be mixed on site, which is very useful for covering larger areas.

Acrylic renders come pre-mixed and offer better water resistance – an important factor if you’re living in a particularly rainy or damp environment. Their resistance to mould reduces the need for maintenance. Acrylic renders are also flexible, minimising cracking and the need for patch-ups, especially in new builds where the property will go through a ‘settling’ period.

To know more about selecting the right types of render for your next project, visit Rockcote Enterprises FAQs Page.