Rendering the external walls of a house provides a cheap and effective way of making a home waterproof and attractive to look at. Finding someone to render your house is however difficult if you want the job done properly and don’t know where to start. Not only that, but you also need an experienced tradesman who has many years of experience and can overcome the various problems that he might encounter.
A tradesman will have to take into account many factors when calculating an accurate house rendering cost estimate. Even a rough estimate needs skill and expertise to cover all the factors.
How much to render a house?
Probably the most important factor when calculating rendering prices is the area to be covered by the render mix. Professionals will usually calculate and submit a total price based on the rendering costs per square metre
||Average area (m2)
||Duration of job
||Total cost (£)
|Small mid terrace house
||40 to 50 m2
||4 to 6 days
||£3,000 to £4,000
|Large mid terrace house
||70 to 180 m2
||4 to 8 days
||£3,000 to £5,000
|Three bedroom detached house
||100 to 160 m2
||5 to 8 days
||£4,000 to £5,500
|Four/five bedroom detached house
||180 m2 minimum
||1 to 2 weeks minimum
Remember, these figures don’t include VAT. You will also find that the rendering prices vary depending on where you live in the country. London and the Southeast of England will always be more expensive than elsewhere in the country.
Another thing to bear in mind is that when rendering a terraced house, you will be working on the front and back, and will only need scaffolding on these walls. Furthermore, if you’re only re-rendering your home to weatherproof a particularly exposed wall, you might only need to render one wall to improve its appearance. If this is your plan then the cost to render the front or rear of the house will be slightly more than half what is shown in the table.
What types of render are available?
The type of material used is another factor that varies the cost of exterior house rendering. The commonest materials are
Polymer and acrylic
This material is usually applied as a thin finishing coat to enhance the appearance and seal underlying layers. As you might expect, synthetic materials can be just about any colour you want. Additionally, the surface can also be textured or smooth. These materials contain fibres to give strength and prevent cracking, thereby providing the modern rendered house with an attractive and durable finish. Prices will vary from £45 to £75 per m2 depending on where in the country you are based. Acrylic finishes are usually about £1 or £2 per m2 cheaper than polymer.
This is a single layer render and comes pre-coloured to your choice of shade. It comes in a bag and just requires mixing with water. Once it’s mixed to a slurry, the render will be applied by spray or trowel to a depth of about 15mm. This material benefits from reduced labour costs and provides a much more durable surface when compared with traditional cement render. Prices vary from £35 to £70 per m2 depending on where in the country you are based.
This is the traditional material used on exterior house rendering and is also the most common. The render is applied in two or three coats. The materials are very cheap but the labour involved in laying the render is expensive. Because there are no polymers or strengthening fibres present in the mix, cement render will crack if the underlying structure moves. Prices vary from £20 to £45 per m2 depending on where you live in the country.
What type of finish?
In addition to the type of material used we also have the type of finish available.
Smooth and roughcast
These are the commonest types of texture available. They are what they sound like and the tradesman produces the finished surface using his tools and expertise alone.
This is a decorative surface made by throwing small pebbles onto a smooth render surface. Those that stick are pressed in with a trowel. The renderer continues throwing shovelfuls of pebbles against the render background until they cover all the underlying surface. To finish off and to waterproof the surface, apply two coats of paint.
This is the same method as pebbledashing except that the tradesman uses a decorative aggregate rather than pebbles. Because the aggregate is more attractive to look at, a clear acrylic waterproof sealer is added to the final render coat rather than waterproof paint.
Rendering and re-rendering a house – FAQ
You only need planning permission to render your house when you live in
- A listed building
- A national park
- In a Conservation Area
- Within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- When the rendering material has a substantially different appearance from those used in the construction of the existing building
How long does rendering a house take?
Many factors determine the length of time taken to render your house. The most important include:
- The area to render
- How easy it is to access the walls
- How high are the walls and how much scaffolding does the work team need
- What type of render
- How many people in the team
- The weather, including temperature
Having said all this, the average time for a normal three bedroom detached house will be about a week. Smaller houses will take about five days whereas a larger house can take up to two weeks, or even longer depending on the size. For full details look at the table earlier in this article.
Does rendering improve insulation?
As it stands, modern renders have a very slight insulating effect. But, they are more about weatherproofing your building than anything else. However, if you’re going to the expense of re-rendering your house and paying for the scaffolding, it makes sense to consider external solid wall insulation and render. It’s best to get a quote from a professional for this work but you can expect to pay about £100 per m2 for external insulation with render. Another thing to remember is that insulation render systems are charged at 5% VAT whereas render alone attracts 20% VAT. The extra saving in VAT might help payback in just a couple of years.
Does rendering a house improve its value?
Definitely! Two of the main reasons to render a home is to improve the appearance of old crumbling brickwork as well as providing a waterproof layer to protect the surface. Both these will improve the value of the house and heighten its ‘curb appeal’, making it more desirable to buy.
What are the alternatives to rendering?
Rather than covering your crumbling brick pointing with render, you can re-point the existing mortar joints. Although this will look better than before, it will be impossible to disguise crumbling brick. Although repointing will give some assistance with preventing the ingress of water through the wall, it certainly won’t be as good as a coat of waterproof render. However, if you just need to repoint a small area, then this will be a lot cheaper than rendering the entire wall.
Timber or plastic cladding is another alternative. Softwood timber cladding works out at about £50 per m2, but you’ll have the added expense of regular maintenance and painting. Hardwood cladding costs about £90 per m2. And, PVCu cladding is about £50 per m2. On top of this, you’ll have to comply with the Building regulations‘ thermal insulation conditions if you are re-rendering or cladding more than 25% of the existing wall.
Remember that alternatives to render might not be allowed under your local Planning regulations. Always confirm with your local authority before starting on a project like this.
Can you pressure wash render?
Yes, you can. But, be careful you don’t strip the paint or render from the wall, especially if there are cracks in the render. It’s far better to use a standard garden hose and a long-handled broom to clean render.
Does a rendering company require specialist qualifications?
Although anyone can have a go at rendering, you probably won’t get very far and you’ll make a real mess. To do a good job requires specialist knowledge and years of experience. And, as you’re paying out to have it done, it makes sense to get the best contractor you can afford. You’ll find that most indoor plasterers also work on external render, as the methods used are the same and most plastering training courses cover outside rendering as well.
Qualifications to look out for are ‘City & Guilds’ which run a reputable apprenticeship scheme for most building trades as well as ongoing professional education. The various C&G courses start at ‘Level 1’ and continue upwards. So, the higher the number, the more skill the tradesman has. A reputable tradesman may have other skills and been on other courses to further enhance their skill set. Ask to see a list.
Tradesmen need to have an understanding of the various Building regulations involved with rendering external walls. These have been covered elsewhere in this article.
Tradesmen need insurance to cover not just themselves, but also their workforce and their customers. Ask for proof that he has insurance cover.
What are the different brands of render?
Normal render, made from sand and cement, is mixed on-site using generic materials. However, there are specialist companies that produce their own patented versions.
- K Rend. This is a silicon-based water repellent and breathable render with thermal insulation properties. It needs very little maintenance and is available in a variety of colours.
- Parex produces a variety of construction chemicals for various applications. Their high performance renders provide coverings in a choice of colours, incorporating thermal insulation as well as non-insulating renders.
- Weber is another well-known company that provides weatherproof facades, tile fixing adhesives, flooring systems, and technical mortars. This company also provides silicon-based renders with or without insulation, as well as ready-made render boards. All their products come in a variety of colours to suit any application.
How can I find a qualified plasterer or renderer?
The easiest way is to use the online tool on this website and let us do the donkey work for you. You’ll receive about three different quotations from qualified rendering companies near where you live. Just fill out your details, and start the ball rolling.