Rendering Using a Scaffold Tower

Rendering can involve lots of pushing and shoving, if you use a ladder, but hire a scaffold tower and you will be able to enjoy the experience as you evolve from a beginner to a rendering artist as you go from wall to wall.

Whether you create art or not from your scaffold tower is very much down to how prepared and practised you are.

Let’s get the niggly little questions answered first.

What is the Difference Between Rendering and Plastering?

Only internal walls are plastered, because the plaster contains gypsum that will crumble when it’s exposed to moisture. Consider what happens to plaster when the damp gets in… not really ideal for outside, is it?!

Rendering is a far stronger material, which will resist water on outside walls. Rendering is a very old practice, originating in Australia where settlers protected their houses against the elements with a mix of cement, lime and sand. Rendering has come a long way since its humble beginnings and is now a popular way to protect houses worldwide.

Of course the industry has moved on and developed renders that use acrylics, polystyrene and colour to create more durable, flexible render limes and cements. Render no longer just protects houses, it decorates them too!

Make sure you take advice when you shop for your render; check that the render you buy is appropriate for the substrate: get the wrong one and you’ll be doing it all again in a few months.

Get Rendering!

Initially hire a scaffold that accesses all of your wall. For a 2-storey house you need a 5.2 metre tower. Hiring scaffold tower is exceedingly beneficial as it allows you to reach larger sections of the wall, so you’ll get a smoother, more even application; you won’t have to shunt and push a stepladder around, which wastes time and energy.

Hired scaffold towers are quick to assemble and lock securely into position, making it easy for you to have quick access to your rendering materials: rag, scoop, plastic float, wire brush, container for mixing the render (wheelbarrow or cement-mixer) and enough render lime or cement to cover your wall.

If you have paint on your wall, use a gel or paste remover, then use a low-pressured washer to clean the rest of the walls.

Once you have a completely cleaned wall, you’re ready to apply the undercoat (two if you live in a particularly exposed area, or none if you have a ‘monocouche’ render, which doesn’t require an undercoat). Your undercoat should be about 8 – 12 mm thick.

Spraying the wall slightly before you apply the render will prevent the application from cracking as it dries (if you’re in a particularly warm area).

Mix the render and water following the directions carefully on the packet you’re using.

Fill your bucket with render and hitch up your hired scaffold tower.

With your trowel heap some render onto your float, then scoop some from your float onto your trowel, so it rests on the length of one-half of your trowel. Starting from the bottom corner of the wall, work your way up, layering the render on in about 10mm thickness. Cover areas of about one metre’s width at a time, using gentle sweeping motions to blend each strip into the next.

From the comfort of your scaffold tower do the same across the wall until it is covered and smooth. Before the render sets is the time to get creative (you have about four hours!).

You should then leave your render for between 10 hours and 4 weeks before painting (check the guidelines on the render packet). Some recommend, in hotter climes, that you spray the wall to prevent cracks appearing in render that has dried too quickly.

Now hop off your hired scaffold tower and marvel at your masterpiece. Good job!