Is it cheaper to remove the render and re-render or to restore the brickwork?

Removing render and re-rendering is a great way to remove old and tired render and re-applying it to make the walls of your property to look nice. It is as simple as it sounds. The costing of this will be to remove render and re-render. Re-rendering can cost anything between £40-£80/sqm and removing the render can cost between £15-£44/sqm.

Another way to make the walls look good is to restore the brickwork. Compared to re-rendering, restoring the brickwork may include many things such as jet-washing the brickwork and re-pointing the mortar in order to make the wall look good. This means that not only will there be a cost to remove the render, there may be a number of other costs in order to restore the brickwork. The cost of removing the render here will stay the same (£10-£45/sqm). The cost to jet-washing walls can cost anywhere between £100 and £350, whereas re-pointing the mortar in the brickwork as well as restoring the brickwork can cost anywhere between £30-£120/sqm depending on what is required.

When we compare the cost of a standard semi-detached house at 120m2 we can see the costing:

To restore the brickwork will be cheaper than re-rendering with a typical 120m2 semi-detached house and brickwork can look good when fully restored, However, by paying the extra for re-rendering, you are also getting protection against the elements and render doesn’t have to be as maintained as brickwork. Short term, restoring the brickwork is the better option. Long term, re-rendering is the cheapest option.

Main reasons that make lime render fail

The main reason that lime render fails is that it is painted with unbreathable paint. This causes lime render to fail because it traps the moisture and cannot allow it to get out. The lime render has to be painted with lime wash – a breathable paint.

When moisture is trapped between the render and the wall, it can cause cracking and bulging. It won’t necessarily cause a large crack but a hairline crack which, if left untreated, can cause a bigger problem and more damage. Moisture that has penetrated the render and got trapped could cause the render to start breaking away from the wall and would leave the brick walls exposed to the elements.

By using lime wash, you are not only allowing the lime render to breathe but you are also adding extra protecting to the wall and giving it a decorative finish.

Why is rendering so messy?

he mess from rendering comes down to two things – Workmanship and the system itself.

The workmanship is a key part in keeping the mess of render to a minimum. When working on site, it is vital that the renderers keep their work space clean. This space being the area around walls they are rendering.

Different stages may encounter different levels of mess. For example: the render removal process may just require removing lumps of render whereas the scratching process of a scraped texture system will require removing the dust left behind, hence more mess. How a worker deals with these messes, will affect how messy the rendering will be.

Renders are requiring to provide protection against the rendering. This may be to prevent wet render from defacing any features or windows or to prevent the dust getting into small area which cannot be reached later on. A common protection for this is to lay plaster sheeting on the floor, around features and over windows. This allows for easy removal later on and helps the works to be mess free.

Also, some systems can be more of a mess than others. As touched on in the previous point, a scraped texture system will require the scratching process at the end, which produces load of dust. However, this does not apply to all systems and a system such as a thin coat render may be less messy. The difference in mess between these two systems comes down to what is falling from the walls. A scraped texture system may have both wet render and dust falling, whereas a thin coat render may only have wet render.

To summarise, how messy the rendering works are come down to both the system and the workmanship. A system may produce more mess than a certain system but it’s how a renderer deals will the cleaning up of this mess, whether they put protection down for easy removal or spending time everyday cleaning up the mess left by the works.