EXTERNAL ENVELOPE Rendered beautiful

Rachel Wilson of K Rend discusses the rise in render’s popularity for new buildings, and its use in creating desirable as well as long-lasting finishes


nce a favoured product for existing buildings, rendering has now become a mainstream finish

for new builds, with its ability to provide a longer lifespan combined with good looks. Whether you want to achieve a tradi- tional or more contemporary finish, render complements natural materials such as wood cladding, natural stone, red brick and metal. In renovations, render can repair the signs of ageing easily and update or maintain an aesthetic for the future. Thus render has a cosmetic as well as practical role to play. A good render forms textures and colours that give a building a unique and distinctive character, as well as year round protection to help strengthen its overall performance. It should always be considered early in the design process however, with the amount of exposure, movement and construction requirements taken into account.

Rendering external walls can also help towards creating a healthier building. Hydraulic lime renders provide excellent long-term performance but also offer a permeable surface, allowing vapour to pass through the building. This is preferable to a sealed surface like traditional sand and cement plaster, which locks in moisture creating a more favourable environment for damp. External walls are then breathable and able to regulate humidity, creating a healthier environment. Creating a breath- able building is very important, as controlling humidity of the building will limit damp and erosion problems. There are many renders on the market and choosing the right one is crucial to get the desired texture finish and lifespan from the product. A lime-based render is a more flexible, softer product helping build- ings adapt to the small changes that may happen when they expand and contract in changing weather conditions.

One example of the innovations available is the use of silicone technology as an integral part of the cement based render system. The different ranges on the market come in standard colours, with special


colours also available upon request using the natural colour system (NCS), offering something for every design. Some of the ranges consist of silicone thin coat which has a very fine texture finish and is suited to lightweight systems such as external wall insulation. It is available in three different textures with a particle size between 1 mm to 3 mm thickness. Silicone scraped texture provides an attractive range of one coat applications plastered directly onto block work. This is achieved by floating to a level surface and then scraping back, removing 2 mm of the aggregate to leave a uniform texture. Lastly, silicone roughcast can be applied as a low maintenance alternative to dry dash and traditional painted finishes. Once applied, a coloured render eradicates the need for periodic painting, meaning the building is ensured a freshly rendered appearance for a prolonged period with little continued maintenance necessary. This is a key way to ensure the building continues to represent the concept you origi- nally envisioned.

Correct application of the product is crucial to ensuring the best performance and avoiding costly mistakes which, in turn, secures the quality of the finished projects. In fact, render has been included as one of the changes to the charter on the latest 2017 NHBC standard. This is to support house- builders in raising and maintaining the standard of builds across the UK. The UK render market is estimated to be worth £100-120m annually and contin- ues to demand innovation and technical development from all suppliers. The onus is on manufacturers and suppli- ers to provide detailed technical information on performance, suitability and application to decision makers supporting them in their decisions and throughout the build process. The level of customer service should be a key differentiator when deciding which render supplier to work with.

Rachel Wilson is the digital marketing executive at K Rend



A good render forms textures and colours that give a building a unique and distinctive character

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