Rendering a brick wall can alter and improve the appearance of the wall, often makes the wall less vulnerable to moisture and seepage and may even increase the value of a structure. In order to create an attractive and lasting finish, the brick wall must be adequately prepared and a suitable render coat must be properly selected, mixed and applied. In some situations, rendering should be completed in a series of two or more coats. Certain techniques can also be utilized to create a variety of decorative finishes.
Things You'll Need
- Digging tools
- Pressure washer or hose
- Cleaner, if needed
- Plastic sheets, bags or tarps
- Pigments, if desired
- Hose with attachment for light spray
- Rubber grout float
- Bucket with water
- Paint roller
- Wooden float
- Holding hawk
- Finish or sealant, if desired
Dig a small channel a few inches deep along the base of the wall. This will allow the render coat to begin below grade, eliminating the possibility for an unsightly transition line.
Clean the brick and mortar thoroughly. Use a pressure washer, strong spray from a hose or a suitable cleaner to remove all dirt and mold from the wall.
Cover all windows, trim and other vulnerable surfaces with plastic sheets, tarps, tape or any other suitable protective materials. Remove any fixtures that can be detached.
Prepare the render. Mix the powder into water or stir render purchased as a liquid until the desired color and texture is reached. Render should be prepared immediately before it will be applied. In most situations it will be ideal to apply multiple coats of render, as each layer of render should generally be no greater than 3/16-inch thick, unless otherwise specified by the render manufacturer.
Apply the first coat of render. If the mortar joints are deep, the bulk of this first coat will be used to fill the joints in. Use a trowel and rubber grout float to fill in the joints and run a moistened paint roller or wooden float over the work area to achieve a smooth finish. Work on only a few feet at a time and, if the edges of the render start to dry, spray the material with a fine mist to maintain a damp and workable edge. Let this and each subsequent coat cure for at least a day before continuing with the next coat.
Apply the second and any additional coats of render. Prepare these render coats by mixing in any desired pigments. Place render in small sections at a time with a grout float or holding hawk and trowel. Use a wooden float, paint roller, sponge or straight edge to smooth the render surface, check for evenness and make corrections as needed.
Finish the surface as desired. In some cases, the final coat of render is used as the top coat while other situations may call for the application of primer and paint or waterproof sealant.
Tips & Warnings
- Before beginning the preparation and rendering process, determine if the brick has a film or glaze that could inhibit render bonding. If this is the case, the brick surface may need to be sanded to ensure that a secure bond will form.
- Consider using corner or stopping beads on any corners and at the base of the wall. These are metal mesh strips that facilitate neat corners and a straight bottom line.
- Avoid rendering brick walls in extreme heat or direct sun, as this will cause the render to dry too quickly. If possible, shade the freshly-rendered walls to allow for slow curing.
- For large walls, it may be necessary to create control joints, as the render will shrink as it dries. Use a v-joint and straight-edge to cut a groove that will prevent shrinkage cracking.
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