Covering the outside brickwork with render, waterproofs the underlying structural components. You cover the brick or concrete with a shell made from mixing cement, sand and lime with water. And, you can even choose other types of render with different surface textures. Finally, finish the property’s rendering with two coats of exterior–grade paint. You see, this not only provides extra waterproofing but also gives the house a character of its own.
What do you reckon is the average cost to render a house in the UK? Would it surprise you if I said it was between £4,200 to £5,500 for a 3 bedroom detached house of 110 to 160m2? This calculates as an average across the country of about £25 to £35 per m2. Furthermore, if you live in London or the Southeast you can add about another £10 per m2 onto this!
How Much Does Rendering a House Cost?
Sand and cement are relatively cheap, compared to other building materials. So, the largest parts of rendering costs come from labour charges and scaffolding.
You’ll always need scaffolding when working on a house of more than one storey. Not only is it safer, but the tradesman needs to exert a steady pressure when applying the render onto the wall. You definitely can’t do this if you’re stretching or overbalancing from a ladder.
Typical house rendering prices will vary depending on several factors.
- Ease of access.
- Heavy rain affects render by washing the cement out of the mix.
- At temperatures below 4°C, water expands and turns to ice. The crystals then interfere with the chemical bond between cement and sand.
- If you render under a hot sun, the water in the mix evaporates before it completes the chemical reaction.
- Size of house.
- Do the walls need any preparation work or repairs before applying the render coat?
- Whether you have a smooth or textured topcoat.
- Which part of the country you are in. London and the South East will always be more expensive than elsewhere.
|House size||Price range||Duration|
|2 bedroom bungalow||£2,500 to £3,500||4 to 6 days|
|3 bedroom semi-detached house||£4,200 to £5,500||6 to 9 days|
|4 bedroom detached house||$6,700 to £8,300||7 to 14 days|
A bungalow doesn’t need full scaffolding for access to the walls. However, the professional may need a platform to reach the upper parts of the wall. Usually, they’ll use scaffold boards resting on two or three concrete blocks. However, all buildings with two storeys need scaffolding for a safe working platform. In the table above, scaffolding costs aren’t included for the bungalow but are for the houses.
You should check whether the walls have any existing render. If so, you’ll have a waterproof surface preventing the new render from bonding. To remove this problem, remove some or all the existing surface to provide a key for the new render. The prices given include:
- Removal of existing render.
- Repoint and key existing brickwork.
- Application of new render.
- Smooth sponge finish to new render.
Prices don’t include applying exterior paint or any other exterior textured finish.
What is the difference between plaster and render?
You’ll probably have heard of these words and know approximately what they mean. But did you know that plastering and rendering are basically the same processes? They’re both designed to provide a smooth surface for decorating, but one is exterior and one is interior.
Exterior wall rendering needs different ingredient proportions to make the surface weatherproof. Interior plastering isn’t exposed to the weather so it’s only designed to give a smooth and hard surface. The following table shows relative ingredient proportions in plaster and render. (Figures come from the Civil Engineering Portal.)
|Parts By Volume|
|Top finish coat||1||12||30|
|Top finish coat||1||3||6|
As you can see, render has a higher proportion of cement in its mix. While plaster has more lime and sand. Render also uses coarse sand, while plaster uses fine sand. So, a plaster finish will end up smoother.
To summarise the similarities and differences between plaster and render:
- They both provide a smooth and hard protective surface.
- Rendering protects an outside wall while plastering protects an inside wall.
- The exterior render mix contains more cement to provide a weatherproof and hard shell.
- The interior plaster mix contains less cement because it doesn’t have to be weatherproof.
- A render mix for external walls uses coarser sand than an internal plaster mix.
Alternative textured finishes
Smoothcast or smooth sponge finished render has its advantages but can be boring to look at. Unfortunately, planning constraints might restrict your choices of textured exterior render. The approved type may depend on the traditional finish of buildings in your locality. Or, whether you have a conservation order on your property. Always check with the local authority first.
There are alternatives to the traditional rendering types. One of these, known as pebble dash render has a very interesting texture. The tradesman throws gravel with a shovel onto the wet render topcoat so the stones stick. The professional gently presses the pebbles to ensure a good bond between the gravel and the render. Pebble dashing might sound simple but you need to throw the gravel with a consistent force against the wall. You also need the base render to be at precisely the correct stage in its chemical reaction and drying process. If the render is too wet the gravel will knock the render from the wall. If the render has set too much, the gravel won’t stick. Having said this, pebble dashing was very popular during the late 1940s and 1950s. During that period, construction suffered a skills shortage and pebbledash disguised low-quality rendering.
Roughcast is another textured finish, similar to pebbledash. Rather than gravel, they throw a pre-mixed mixture of mortar and stone chippings onto a smooth top coat of render.
Both pebbledash and roughcast:
- Provide very low maintenance decorative finishes.
- Disguise poor quality rendering.
- Provide hardwearing surfaces.
- Improve the ability to shed rainwater.
- Give a high impact resistance.
Painting pebbledash and roughcast surfaces are very labour intensive. The uneven surface needs more care and you must cover every part.
If you want a textured finish but don’t want the extra expense of pebbledash, use exterior paints with a textured finish. These exterior paints can fill cracks in the surface and will soak into the render to give good waterproof protection. Remember, all types of paint will weather over time and need regular maintenance and repainting. To get around this problem, mix a mortar dye and a waterproofer in with the final topcoat mix. The weather won’t affect the finished colour and the surface won’t need painting. However, take care to consistently add the dye in all the render mixes so that the wall is the same colour throughout.
Another way to texture the surface is to apply a Tyrolean finish (or Weber render). This is also known as an Alpine finish because it originated in the Austrian Alps as an ornamental render. This needs the standard base and top render coats on the wall as usual. On top of this, apply the Tyrolean finish. You can buy it in a variety of colours and mix it separately in a bucket. It’s preblended with its colouring so that you only need to add water and apply using a Tyrolean gun. This is a machine with a reservoir to hold the mix. The operator turns a handle, rotating a metal comb that flicks tiny lumps of finish onto the wall.
- The pre-blended Tyrolean mix only needs added water on site.
- It’s a durable covering and very weather resistant.
- The colouring is consistent throughout the mix and doesn’t require any further painting.
- You can apply It indoors and out.
- It gives a sound–absorbing finish to internal render.
Typical prices of Weber Cullamix Tyrolean render are about £45 per 25kg bag. Depending on the thickness of the Tyrolean coat, this bag will cover approximately 0.5m2.
Who will do the work?
As a general rule, tradesmen skilled in handling mortar will be able to apply render to an outside wall.
- A plasterer.
- A bricklayer.
Both these trades will understand how to go about preparing and applying render in all its forms. Each trade will usually have a labourer to mix the render so the tradesman doesn’t need to stop.
If you want to have a go at rendering a wall, it isn’t easy. Not only must you ensure the render sticks to the wall correctly, but you must also apply a consistent thickness across the entire wall. Make sure you produce a smooth surface and remove any holes or cracks where water can get behind the render.
A professional learns how to mix and apply the sand and cement during a long and structured training programme such as an apprenticeship. Don’t expect to learn to apply sand and cement render from watching a few YouTube videos, it just isn’t going to happen. Something like a rendered wall, vital in keeping the inside of the house free from damp, is not something to play around with. There are, however, small jobs that you can safely try. Start with a small patch where the existing render has crumbled away. There are often plenty of those around door and window frames. So, start small and learn how to fix blemishes and repair cracks before you try anything more adventurous.
House Rendering Cost FAQ
Does rendering a house add value?
Generally, the answer is yes. It shows prospective purchasers that you have a good waterproof shell on the outside of the house. However, make sure the render is in good condition so no water has got behind the shell. If you can’t afford to render everything, just render the front elevation of the house as that’s the side that people see from the road.
How much does it cost to render a detached house?
Usually, this depends on the size of the house, whether you need scaffolding, how many walls it has, and the type of render used. However, for an average 4 bedroom detached house you’re talking about £6,500 to £8,000. Usually, this will take about one to two weeks to finish.
Does rendering stop damp?
Normal brick and concrete block allows rainwater to soak through cracks and poorly finished surfaces. However, if you give these surface a coat of render you’ll give a waterproof shell to the brick. Remember to cover the dried render with a good quality exterior grade paint and ensure the render stays in good condition.
Hiring a professional
Having the outside walls of your home covered with a mix of sand and cement render is a good way to waterproof the building. Especially, if the existing brickwork is starting to crumble with age. Not only that but render looks good too. Choose the tradesman wisely and remember that both bricklayers and plasterers know how to apply render.
If you wish to find a professional, look locally for a plastering or building company that has many years of trading history in your area. You’ll avoid the cowboys in the construction industry, and contact customers who’ve employed the company before. Alternatively, why not use the tradesmen we’ve already vetted? Just fill out the form on this page and you’ll receive 3 or 4 estimates from tradesmen local to you.