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Rendering has been around for a long time. It is a good way to beautify and protect the inside and outside walls of your home. A freshly rendered home exterior not only enhances appearance but also adds more value to a house. However, if you are thinking about rendering you must first decide on what kind of materials you want. Next, you should consider what "look" you wish to achieve, and of course you'll want to get a good idea of what it is going to cost. Let's look a little closer at these factors, discover what rendering is, and come up with some approximate costs.

What Does Rendering Mean?

Rendering has been around for many years and it is used as a wall covering. Originally, rendering was done with mixtures of clay, sand, and cement. The process is similar to plastering, which was very common before modern wallboard became popular. In fact, plastering is a form of rendering made to cover indoor walls, while rendering is designed to cover masonry type walls. As home building and renovation technologies advance, more rendering materials are available, giving the homeowner some interesting options. Here are some rendering options you can choose from.


Cement rendering is very similar to traditional rendering methods with cement, sand, lime or clay. You can buy cement render already mixed or mix the materials on site. However, many people are now opting for cement render with polymers, because it provides more benefits.


Polymer cement render is created by adding special polymers to the mixture. This produces a more flexible surface. Polymers are materials whose molecules form chain or net-like combinations. Rubber is a good example or a natural polymer. Today's polymer cement render is made from synthetic polymers and this helps to prevent the hardened material from cracking. It also allows for a better bond to the surface. Polymer render can be purchased in many different colours and shades for your walls.


Like polymer render, acrylic render is very flexible and resists cracking when exposed to the elements for years. This is very important because exterior walls expand and contract according to temperature and humidity levels. Even though cracks may be tiny or hairline, they are still unattractive and can eventually become larger. Here are some additional benefits of acrylic:

  • Attractive finish - choose from many different colours.
  • Can be smooth or textured
  • Can cover a wide range of materials - most rendering can only be used on masonry because it simply will not adhere to other surfaces. This is not the case with acrylic. It can be applied to concrete walls as well as timber and many other surfaces.
  • Fast cure time - acrylic cures fast. In fact, it can cure in a matter of days instead of weeks (like most other renders).
  • Breathing - unlike most other rendered surfaces, acrylic lets air in and the walls can literally breathe. This helps to keep your home interior fresher and drier. Even though the walls can breathe, acrylic is resistant to moisture and is resistant to mildew, mould, fungus, and bacteria.
  • Easy to apply - Acrylic render can be applied with a trowel. However, it may also be rolled on or even sprayed on surfaces and is usually done in two separate coats.


If you are interested in the cheapest option for rendering, consider bagging. It is made with coarse cement and provides a rough texture.


When you need to cover rock or brick, stucco may be a good choice. It is composed of water, binder, and aggregate. Stucco is often applied for a decorative finish and can be placed on interior as well as exterior walls and ceilings.


Because plaster is affected by water it is only used indoors. Most homes had plastered walls until about 60 years or so ago. It took an experienced tradesman to provide a smooth lathe and plaster finish and was considered to be an art. However, plastering is becoming more common these days as many people are restoring older homes. Some modern plasters are polished and provide a shiny surface.


If your home or business has stone exterior walls, you may want to consider harling for maximum protection. In fact, it was used in many of the old castles in Scotland and is popular today. Harling is composed of lime render and small chips or pieces of stone. It is put on with a trowel and provides a rustic looking finish which is very durable and protective. Harl can be impregnated with colour so there is no need for painting.

What about Cost?

Your costs will depend on the type of rendering you select but it is not unusual to pay anywhere from $30 to $60 per square metre, if you plan to render a home exterior. The average rendering job is for about 400 square metres, so it would come between $12,000 and $24,000 (this is not including 10 percent for goods and services tax). More expensive polymer rendering can cost as much as $80 per square metre.

Costs are affected by the size of your home and if there is a second storey. When the workers must use ladders and scaffolds it is more labour intensive and difficult.

The best way to get a good idea of the costs, is to decide on the kind of rendering you need and ask local tradies about their square metre rates.

Who Performs Rendering Services

If you are skilled you may be able to do your own work, but this can be very challenging, and is the reason most people choose a professional service. You can find professional rendering companies and plasterers, locally. Some concretors may also provide these services. Painters and carpenters may be qualified too.

In most states, rendering professionals must be licensed in a trade, if they perform work over a certain dollar amount. For example, in NSW that amount is $1000. In Queensland, the maximum is $3300. Make sure to check all the requirements of your state and to choose a licensed and insured contractor with years of experience.

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