Last Updated Sep 14, 2018 · Written by Craig Gibson
Are you looking for a way to transform the appearance of your house and add more to its resale value than the cost of a renovation?
Then consider rendering your walls. Render is most commonly applied to exterior walls and that's where it makes the most dramatic visual difference, but also consider plastering interior walls as an alternative to simply repainting.
Thicker than paint, render is a surface finish that can be applied to a wall to give it a completely different appearance. It is a commonly used technique in Europe, but has only recently become popular here in Australia. When a brick wall is rendered, the gaps between the bricks are filled, giving a smooth or textured finish that can be pre-coloured or painted over. It must not be confused with plaster, which is used indoors and is softer and slow-drying.
In the United States, stucco, a type of plaster finish, is used as a render. Here in Australia, cement and lime renders are more commonly used. There are also new acrylic-based renders that can be used instead of or in addition to cement renders. Sort of a cross between paint and plaster, acrylic renders come in a wide variety of colours. They are usually sprayed on by professional painters or rendering services. The difference between these render-like finishes and ordinary paint is that they are much thicker and give a surface a textured appearance.
Traditional render is a mixture of sand, cement and clay that is spread over the surface of a wall to "render" or give it a smooth or textured. Advances in technology have seen other types of render developed, and it now comes ready mixed and is more resistance to cracking. The most common types you will encounter include cement render, which is a mixture of sand, cement and sometimes clay and/or lime.
A newer version of cement render, polymer modified cement render, comes pre-mixed. While it costs more, polymer modified cement render is said to adhere better than cement render and because it can come in a variety of colours, may save you the cost of painting.
Acrylic render is the most popular and durable type because it resists cracking, which is a common problem with cement render. It gives you a range of options in terms of texture finishes and colour as well as water resistance and flexibility that reduces cracking on your exterior façade. It is typically applied over cement render which makes it much stronger, flexible and able to breath under it.
If you want a more coarse look then opt for bagging render, and also happens to be the cheapest type of render. Acrylic render is becoming increasingly popular because it resists cracking, which is a common problem with cement render. It can also be skimmed over the surface of a cement render, which may be a money-saving option if several layers of render are needed.
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Before you go ahead with your rendering project, take the time to work out if it is worth the expense. Rendering an entire house could set you back anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 - depending on the size. You need to balance this outlay with what your home is likely to be worth after your project is complete.
Rendering costs vary according to the type of render used, the amount of render needed, the difficulty of the job and the cost of the service. As a rule of thumb, expect to pay anywhere from:
This will increase if you have a multi-storey home, where you will need to factor in scaffolding to your budget. Most renderers will include this in their quote.
Learn more: How much does rendering cost?
While both bagging and rendering solutions often come pre-pigmented, there are tricks to ensuring a pigmented render of any kind produces even colouring. For this reason, painting after rendering is often advised, but it depends on the products you're using and the expertise of the rendering service. If you're planning on tackling a rendering project yourself, ask your supplier for their advice. Some surface preparation may be needed and you may be advised to apply a sealant and paint over the render. Whether you're doing the job yourself or hiring a professional service, don't skimp on the "little" details. The extra cost of surface preparation or painting will be well worth it and if you are renovating to sell, the benefits of achieving professional results far outweigh any savings you might achieve by cutting corners.
When it comes time to hiring a renderer, take time to make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask then include:
The best way of finding out the cost of your rendering job is to get quotes from local renderers. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.
You might also like: 5 considerations for rendering a brick home