How to Render a Brick Wall

Author: | Last Updated: 12 Mar 2022

Are you planning to do a little home renovation in your spare time? Maybe you have a brick wall out in the garden or front of your house that you’d like to spruce up. If so, you might be looking up how to render a brick wall. Rendering is a great way to update the look of your home and can be done relatively easily. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to render a brick wall step-by-step. So if you’re ready to get started, read on!

What is rendering?

Rendering, also called cement rendering, is when you apply a layer of render onto a surface—in this case, a brick wall. Rendering can be done internally or externally. Rendering is usually done to improve the look of a wall, but it can also have some protective properties depending on the render mixture. While rendering is relatively easy, there are some basic principles you need to follow since it is not a one-procedure-fits-all sort of undertaking. But once you have these basics down, you’ll be able to use them for any kind of rendering project in the future!

What are the kinds of renders available?

Render mixtures are made with cement, water, sand, and lime. Most builders and home DIYers use a mix of 6 parts sand, 1 part cement, and 1 part lime (6:1:1), and this is the standard ratio you’ll see used. If you want to waterproof this render for your exterior brick wall, you can buy waterproof additives to mix into the render. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your render mixture is not going to be stronger than the material you plan to apply it to; once the render mixture dries dries and contracts, the wall will move along with it, and if the mixture is stronger than your wall material then it may damage the wall.

If you are hesitant to create your oen render mixture, you can also buy commercially-available ready-made products. There are types that have acrylic or silicone mixed into them, which makes them water-resistant and long-lasting. Whatever you choose, always follow the manufacturer’s directions for mixing.

How to start rendering your brick wall

Once you have your render mixture and tools ready, you can get started on rendering your brick wall. Remember that if your brick wall is newly-made, you’ll need to allow at least seven days before rendering, to give the mortar time to harden and settle.

Step 1: Gather your supplies and tools

Rendering can get messy and you’ll want to move relatively fast once you get going, so it’s best to have all the things you need nearby once you’re ready to start. We recommend having the following:

  • Trowels
  • Steel brush and broom
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Hose
  • Wheelbarrow or other mixing container
  • Sponge
  • Brush

Make sure you wear adequate protective gear when working with render mixtures. Use boots, a tight-fitting face mask, eyewear like goggles, and gloves.

Step 2: Prepare the wall and area

Once you have all your supplies and your protective gear, you can get started on the wall. It’s important to remove all the dirt and dust that have gathered on the wall, and to remove any plaster or loose building material that may prevent the adherence of the render mixture. Use a stiff broom and a steel brush to thoroughly clean the bricks, then follow it up with a wash solution of detergent and water, scrubbing to thoroughly clean the surface. Rinse the wall well to remove any cleaning solutions, then re-wet it another time as the render will need a wet surface to stick to.

Step 3: Mix the render

Whether you’re mixing your own render or preparing a ready-mixed bag, you don’t want to mix it ahead of time (e.g. while you’re cleaning the wall) because render can dry fairly quickly. If using ready-made mixtures, follow the manufacturer’s directions. In general, you can make the render mixture by pouring the water into a clean wheelbarrow or other container, then slowly adding the dry render mix, making sure to stir thoroughly as you add mixture. Make sure that it is smooth and free of lumps, but thick enough that it can be on a trowel without sliding off. Once your render is mixed, move on quickly to the application stage.

Step 4: Apply the render to the wall

Since a brick wall is uneven, make sure you work the render into the mortar joints to provide some stability and flatten the surface for the full layer. Use your steel trowel to apply the render in long strokes with even pressure all throughout, building it up to a consistent thickness all throughout the wall. If you come across holes or clefts, fill those in with render as you apply. A hawk can be useful for brushing and smoothing the render onto the wall while you apply. Depending on your render solution, you can aim for a layer of anywhere from 2 mm to 10 mm thick. One layer will usually suffice for most projects.

Step 5: Finish up the rendered wall

Once the application is done, leave the render to try for around half an hour, then smooth and flatten out the layer by screeding. Use a straight edge and scrape the render layer until you get a smooth surface. If there are any hollow spots, fill them in with more render, and then screen once more to keep the surface flat.

You can also use a wooden trowel or a “float” to smooth out the surface even more, up to your desired texture. Another option is to use a damp sponge which can also give the wall a different kind of finish—make sure that you use a damp sponge, but not one that is sopping wet.

Step 6: Clean up the wall and area

Check if you’ve covered any vents with the render layer; if you have, use your float to “slice” a straight line, then use a small tool like a utility knife to cut around that area. Run the damp sponge again to remove any unsightly marks. Dispose of any leftover render properly and hose off the area to prevent any render clumps from hardening on the floor.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully rendered your brick wall! Now you’re ready to give that wall a whole new look.

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