Are you looking for a quick and inexpensive way to uplift the look of your garden wall?
Applying a fresh coat of render is a great choice for hiding worn our bricks and giving your wall a smooth, finished look.
In this guide, we will show you how you can render a garden wall.
Tools for Garden wall rendering
Gather the following tools to successfully render your garden wall:
- Mixing bucket
- Rendering mortar
- Wooden plank
- Long-handled bristled brush
Step-by-Step Guide on how to render a garden wall
Follow these easy steps to apply render on your garden wall.
Step 1. Repair any structural problems
The outcome of the rendering job will only be as good as the quality of the wall itself. Before applying anything on the walls, ensure that moving bricks are fixed and cracks are filled in.
You might need to bring in a professional to repair big structural problems on the wall, for example, a large crack or a shaky wall.
Step 2. Remove any details on the surface of the wall
If your garden wall has details such as alarm boxes, vents, pipes, and other accessories, you will need to remove these before smoothing your wall with render. You can reinstall these items after you are done applying the rendering system.
Be careful as you remove items off the wall to prevent unnecessary cracks and breakages, which can cause costly damage to the wall.
If the wall was previously rendered, you will need to break the old layer first. Avoid applying a fresh coat of rendering material on old, broken render.
Step 3. Clean the wall
For a nice, professional-looking finish, you want to apply render on a dust-free and grease-free wall. When you clean the walls, you will avoid problems such as bumps, hollows, and uneven surfaces.
So, for this part of the project, you will need a stiff-bristled broom with a long handle. Scrub the surface of the wall to remove any dirt that may be on it. Carry on with this process until you are satisfied that the wall is clean.
Next, use a hose to water down the wall. You shouldn’t skip this part especially if your wall is made of absorbent materials such as sandstone. Watering will also keep your rendering mortar from drying and becoming difficult to work with.
Step 4. Prepare the render
Different rendering systems have varying preparation methods, so follow the instructions on the bag containing the render powder. Generally, you will need to mix the render mortar with water in the right proportions.
Pour water into a large mixing bucket and add the right amount of mortar. As a rule of thumb, 20kg of render powder requires about 8 litres of water.
Use an electric mixer for fast and easy mixing of the render mortar. If you do not have one of these, you can rent from your local hardware store. Try to get a toothpaste consistency when mixing the mortar.
Finally, always clean your tools immediately after use to keep the mortar from drying on the tool.
Step 5. Apply the render
You should be ready to apply your render as soon as you mix it so it will not dry out and become too difficult to use.
There are different ways to apply the render mortar onto the wall. An easy method is to use a trowel to scoop the render from the mixing bucket onto the hawk. Then, place the hawk against the wall at a 45-degree angle and use the trowel to push and smear the render onto the wall.
Apply the mortar from the bottom of the wall to the top. The base coat should have a thickness of about 5mm. Continue like this until the entire wall is coated with the first layer of render. Next, you will need to install a stabilizing mesh.
Step 6. Install the rendering mesh
Now that your wall is ready, the next step is to prepare to install a render mesh onto the wall. The mesh, usually made from fibreglass material, helps to stabilize the rendering mortar and prevents it from cracking.
You can buy this mesh from your local hardware store. Measure the length and width of your wall and use these dimensions to buy the right size mesh.
It is important to buy the right type of mesh too. When you use a substandard mesh, it is like using no mesh at all. When buying, ensure that the mesh has a pressed weave to provide maximum stability.
The mesh should also have an alkaline resistant coating that will not break down and leave the render bare as if there was no mesh installed in the first place.
Cut the mesh to size and install it into the wet render. Use a trowel to push in the mesh, working from the middle up and from the middle down to prevent the mesh from wrinkling.
The cut pieces of mesh should not have space between them. Rather, they should be at least 100mm lap between each piece to ensure continuity.
Use a wooden plank to level out the render and mesh surface. Move the levelling plank from the bottom of the wall to the top until you achieve a flat surface.
Step 7. Apply the second layer of render
Allow about 30 minutes for the render coat to harden and the mesh to adhere to the surface. Then, apply the second layer of rendering mortar using the steps outlined above.
We recommend that you keep the second layer of render to no more than 10mm thick. If you make the render too thick, it might not dry evenly and it will eventually crumble.
Give this second coating another 30 minutes to dry then use the wooden plank to straighten out the surface, always moving from bottom to top.
Step 8. Fill in the hollows
After successfully straightening the wall, you might still notice some parts of the wall are not completely firm. These parts will usually look lighter in colour than the rest of the rendered wall or appear wet.
To fill in these hollow parts, simply run the flat edge of a wooden plank across the surface of the wall, specifically focusing on any raised or wet-looking surface. Depending on how dry the wall is, you might need to add a bit of water.
Step 9. Sponge the wall
Sponging gives the wall a finished look. Before moving on to this step, allow a couple of days for the surface of the wall to dry and stiffen up completely. Other rendering systems dry fast and you might only need to give it about 2 hours.
Dip a clean sponge in water and squeeze out the excess water until it is just damp. Then, wipe the entire surface of the wall.
As you wipe the wall, rinse the sponge in water so that you are using a clean sponge to avoid scratching the wall. Repeat this until the entire wall is smooth.
There you have it, a nicely rendered garden wall!
Here are additional recommendations to help you get the most from your wall-rendering project:
Choose the right type of rendering material
Rendering material can be categorized into mineral, acrylic, silicone, lime, and monocouche. Each has different properties, with some being more porous, resistant to algae, and easier to apply and maintain than others. They also have varying price points with silicone being the most expensive and mineral rendering being the cheapest.
When choosing a rendering system, keep in mind factors such as your budget and level of expertise. You will also need to consider if you need attributes such as waterproofing, colour and texture.
Lime might be a good choice for garden walls. Not only is it attractive; it is also breathable and it prevents mould and other moisture problems. However, applying lime rendering has a bit of a learning curve. A better alternative is polymer-enhanced lime rendering systems, which are easier to work with.
Consider the surrounding property
Before rendering and adding any decorations to your wall, think about how it will fit into the rest of the property. For example, before applying a coloured or textured render mortar on your garden walls, consider whether it will complement your house.
Keep in mind that any awkward beautifications can affect the perceived value of your property. If possible, consult a design specialist and your estate agent to find out the impact this project will have on the value of your home and what changes you can make to improve.
You do need to be a bit handy to render a garden wall. But, with the right tools and some elbow grease, our guide will help you successfully execute this project. The trick to a perfectly rendered wall is proper preparation. Start with a clean wall, prepare the mortar in the correct proportions, and use the application techniques we recommend here and you will be proud of your beautiful wall.