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CRL Self-Build Guide: External Render Finishes

Renders can range from textured to perfectly smooth, they can be painted in a world of colours and mixed with traditional or modern materials. A render finish could be the key to giving the external aspect of your self build more versatility.

While render has been used for hundreds of years it has continuously evolved as tastes and fashions have changed. Today's modern homes built with block and render feature a smooth finish delivering a smart contemporary look with clean lines. A pebbledash render was a popular option in the 1970's and 1980's and today new lighter silicon based materials are being used.

Render finishes are not only aesthetically pleasing but can be a preferred type of external finish in some locations such as exposed rural places or homes on the coast.

A smooth render finish is very common in many parts of rural Scotland and Ireland for example where buildings exposed to the weather are given extra protection from the elements by this type of surface which can also coated with special weather resistant paints. A render finish can also be applied over the top of external insulation wrapped around the outside of your home to deliver high thermal performance.

One of the most interesting things about a render finish is the ability you have to play with colour and texture, something that is not possible with a stone or brick facade.

Mixing a render finish with cladding for example is a popular choice to create a modern yet functional design. If you feel like a change you can paint the render on your home a new colour and totally transform the look and feel of the place.

If you're planning an extension to a traditional brick or stone built home, a rendered extension can be a great way to combine the two buildings or distinguish old from new.

Practicalities

Traditionally a sand and lime render was used to cover the exterior of buildings but this was eventually superseded by a sand and cement solution. However concrete render can have some limitations. This kind of render is not flexible enough to deal with the movement that can occur in a new building during the settling phase when it is first used.

 

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New render formulas have been introduced to help deal with these issues. Silicon based renders are flexible, allowing for movement and because they are also much thinner and lighter than concrete they have less affect on the the structural stability of a new home.

Despite all the innovations traditional lime render is still an option for some situations, and not just for listed buildings but for new builds too. Those with an eco approach to self build may not be comfortable using a synthetic product such as silicon and prefer to use a natural alternative such as lime.

Lime render is very flexible and can be used on a variety of substrate surfaces including traditional masonry such as brick or stone, straw and earth. The natural and slightly rougher finish in contrast with the sleek modern smooth finish of silicon renders, is perfect for rural and rustic buildings.

 

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