How to Render a Brick Wall
Rendering a brick wall is one of the most effective ways to improve the look of your property, especially if your home has outdated bricks from the 1970s. While it may seem like a complex project, rendering is actually a task you can tackle on your own, provided you have done your research and you have the right tools and materials.
Before we start with a DIY “How to” list, we would like to make one suggestion: If you are rendering your own house for the first time, START AT THE BACK OF THE HOUSE first! Your house is likely your biggest investment, so lousy workmanship is better hidden at the back of the house. Practice in an inconspicuous place first and by the time you are confident and your workmanship is up to scratch, then move to the front of the house. And watch some youtube videos so that you can see the methods that others are using.
- Concrete Render: Pre-mixed bags are available from Bunnings hardware store for about $23 per bag
- You can also make your own render by mixing the right amount of concrete, fine sand, lime, and water.
The amount varies on the type of wall you are rendering. For instance, a house brick wall will require about 1 part concrete, 5 parts sand, and 2 parts lime (optional). A retaining wall, on the other hand, will require a mix of about 1 part concrete, 3 parts fine sand, 2 parts lime, and 1 part sharp sand.
- Safety gloves and goggles
- Measuring tape, Spirit level
- Carpentry pencil
- Margin trowel for spreading
- Concrete mixer, shovels, buckets for mixing
- Construction buckets or wheelbarrow to transport the mixed render
Getting Started on Your Rendering
Step 1 – Prep the surface
Make sure the surface is dust and grease free before you render. Use a stiff bristled broom and give it a good sweep from top to bottom. Smooth surfaces like concrete or metal window frames have a lower absorption rate, so you may want to add a dash coat before applying the render. A dash coat is a strong mix of cement and water, flicked on the surface so that the render can grip it more firmly.
Step 2 – Mix the render
Make sure to follow the instructions on the bag. If you are making your own render:
- Mix the sand and/or lime in a circle and hollow out the centre
- Add the cement, shoveling in towards the centre until the complete mix is one uniform colour
- Hollow out the centre again and add about ½ a bucket of water, mixing them together,
- It is much better to have too little water so you add some more, than to have too much, which in turn will require more concrete and sand. You should aim for a smooth paste consistency for the render.
Step 3 – Apply the render to the surface
Typically, a single render coat that is 4-6mm thick should be enough for your brick wall. Apply the render at a 45° angle or simply place a hawk’s edge on the wall and begin brushing up from there. The aim is to get it as flat and smooth as possible. If you want to apply a second coat, wait at least 3 – 7 days for the first one to dry properly.
Step 4 – Touch up and texture finish
When the render is firm to touch, use a straight edge to flatten out the render and fill in any hollows. Once you have achieved a flat surface, you can add a number of decorative finishing effects, such as:
- Trowel Finish – Use a wooden float to skim the final coat for a smooth dense surface.
- Patterned Finish – Rub a ball of damp hessian into the surface to produce intricate patterns.
- Sponge Finish – For that smooth finish, use a damp(not wet) sponge to mop the hardened surface.
Keep in mind that during summer or on days with extremely high temperatures, you should render early in the morning or late noon so the render has time to adhere to the brickwork before the bricks suck the water out of the render mix.
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Disclaimer: These articles are written by a number of independent writers as a method of adding value and relevant content to Perth Property Inspections' website. These articles do not represent advice for any one specific circumstance. These blog articles are general information that does not represent any official advice from Perth Property Inspections. Please engage only qualified tradespeople for any work on your building or home and seek advice from qualified professionals who have inspected your specific requirements, property, location and local regulations.
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