Rendering life-long success

Matthew Allen of Sika discusses the key considerations when specifying render to ensure that a long life, as well aesthetically pleasing, result is achieved

A building’s external surface is integral to its overall design success. For many, deciding on the most appropriate system which falls in line with their design aspirations can be a challenge, due to the variety of render systems on the market. Companies with experience in building finishing and rendering can support specifiers in identifying a solution that is both practical, sympathetic to the property, and aesthetically pleasing. The correct specification can improve a home’s aesthetic appeal, protect brickwork against the elements, and make the building more energy efficient.

Path to perfection
This outer skin adds personality and character to a building, and is one of the principal ways a designer can make their mark on how their creations are perceived by occupants and visitors. This is aided by firms who offer a wide standard range of ‘through’ colours which can be applied in a variety of textures.

Most renders are suitable for machine spraying or hand application. A spray-applied render is ultimately faster and more efficient than the traditional hand-applied method, and provides a crisp, clean finish on a wide range of substrates. To avoid variations in shade, render should ideally be applied to whole elevations at the same time.

Thermal performance
At a time when the UK needs to improve its ‘energy-deficient’ building stock, one of the most significant benefits of modern renders is that they can be combined with insulation, to not only improve the external aesthetics but also significantly improve a building’s thermal performance without affecting the interior space. ‘Wrap-around’ external wall insulation systems will significantly reduce heat loss through the external envelope and ensure a warmer more comfortable internal environment, while at the same time creating a more attractive exterior.

An appealing finish
A successful example of the aesthetic appeal of render can be seen at a recent development of luxury homes, close to the historic market town of Kendal. Situated in the southern gateway to the Lake District, Stonecross Meadows is a stylish development of three, four and five-bedroom semi-detached and detached homes. The developer, Jones Homes, required a weatherproof render in two contrasting colours which offered ease of application and would successfully complement the homes’ natural stone facade. This led to the specification of a one-coat weather resistant and breathable render.

Jones Homes specified more than 5,000 m2 of render in Pale Yellow and Smokey Grey for the homes, garages and surrounding walls of the development. The render was spray-applied to the concrete blockwork in a consistent finish, and to provide additional reinforcement and crack resistance at stress locations around openings, mesh was embedded during the application process.

Whatever the substrate, there is a render to suit in a wide range of styles, finishes and colours to meet the design requirements. Rendered facades offer versatile, efficient and cost-effective solutions for any new or refurbished building regardless of the type or age of construction. They can be used to improve the outer skin of a building, update the aesthetics, adding huge kerb-side appeal, and can be an important step in improving a building’s long-term thermal efficiency.

Matthew Allen is national specification manager for the Sika Building Finishing team