A modern history of home exterior styles

uk wall coatings union jack flag

To celebrate the Jubilee Celebrations across England, the Never Paint Again team thought it was a good idea to take a brief look at the modern history of Exterior wall coatings since HM The Queen’s coronation of 1953.

As we unfurl the banners and string them across the houses in the street, people who up until last week, probably never even spoke to each other before, and getting out the tables in readiness for one of the many Diamond Jubilee street parties around the UK this weekend.

I myself remember the Silver Jubilee back in 1977, when I was only 7 years old! I still have the photo from the street party in Millbridge, Plymouth (Palmerston street), but I sadly cant find it to include here!

A history of exterior wall coatings

So, lets talk about wall coatings, fashions in house exteriors, construction methods, and what has happened since 1953 when HM the Queen started her reign.

Yes I know it sounds irrelevant but bear with me and you will find out what I’m trying to say! Before this, there was a revolution in home exteriors, from the flamboyant designs of yesteryear, such as art deco, came brutalist and functional building, both loved and hated, but necessary to rebuild the UK after the war.

1953 and all that.

1953 was in the decade after the worst war in Living memory and many buildings that had the traditional type of wall finish up until then, which would have either been render, faced brick or, since the 1920′s, pebbledash, were being either demolished, or renovated to try and meet demand from the masses.

Exterior wall coatings at that time usually only consisted of cement based renders, or paint, often with harmful chemical such as lead, and a fairly short lifespan.

In fact lead paint was not banned in the UK until 1992!

At some point in the 1950′s, a fairly cheap, good looking and efficient new cladding product was developed in Europe which was an exterior insulation and finish system.

This provide very popular, especially in covering building that had been constructed cheaply, and the product soon became a popular export to countries around the world, the USA being a major importer. These are known in the UK as synthetic renders, or in the USA, synthetic stucco.

Exterior walls in the 50′s reflected the austere times of the day.

plymouth shop in 1950s

┬áLead paint. How we have moved on since 1953. On to the 60′s.

For many years, lead was used in all sorts of paints, mainly interior, but also exterior paint had lead in it, often for primers or for white paint. As knowledge grew of the dangers of lead, the 1960′s saw the formulation of titanium dioxide in paints and coatings, which replaced lead as a more safer and better additive.

The never paint again exterior wall covering system actually contains titanium dioxide, clearly showing how modern technology still has to look to the past for ingredients when making the paints in the factory. It also gives our exterior wall coatings added strength and weather protection for today’s awful British weather!

(Lets hope the weather lasts for the Jubilee celebrations eh?!)

The 1960′s saw many changes and advances in design and finish.

1960's house

The 1960′s generally saw Britain emerging from the dark post war days and the great cultural changes in the 60′s started to be reflected in what people had on their homes. Methods and materials used in house building were also now changing.

New colours of paints became available, and new forms of wall coverings such as plastic cladding, and of course, the dreaded stone cladding, something which now people cringe if many years ago they got some fella to stick stone cladding on the exterior of their 3 bed semi, in the hope that it would resemble a castle!

It didnt.

The queen herself at this time was consolidating her diminished Empire and many trips abroad, probably gave way to popular designs of the day with people being able to holiday or travel overseas like the queen did, and then bringing back ideas for their homes, so no longer were houses expected to be drab and dreary, after all this was the swinging sixties!

The 1970′s and exterior wall coatings.

The 70′s was marked by periods of industrial unrest, devaluation of the pound, and a general backlash from youth in the form of the various cultures and sub cultures of the time.

HM The queen, however, was still as popular with the British public as ever, and her children growing up, such as HRH Prince Charles, being more in the public eye, the newspapers started to take an interest in the goings on of Britain’s most famous family.

Housing was still in short supply and constriction enjoyed many boom times during the seventies, pushed further by the innovative approach to different building materials and styles, such as flat roof houses, in conjunction with new flat roof membranes being available.

We also saw, like the picture above, houses being built far cheaper than previously and many houses had faced brick and boards such as the one in the image. Builders were building just 2 walls, and the front and rear was in-filled with double glazing and wooden panels, which soon had flaky paint on them, and were often cladded instead with hung tiles or plastic cladding.

The emergence of Spray applied exterior wall coatings also became apparent with a few companies, such as Kenitex, and the also forerunner of London coating company appeared.

They were using spray coatings that had been developed from a company in the USA called Tex-Cote, who are still in business and one of Americas best known exterior wall coating companies.

Exterior wall coatings in the 1980′s

The textured exterior wall coatings that started to become popular during the late 70′s and early 1980′s unfortunately contained small levels of asbestos, something that was not removed from the formulation until about 1983, so if you have a house that had an exterior wall coating sprayed on, before 1983, it is best to call us for advice before trying to remove it.


london coating company van

┬áThe 1980′s saw an explosion of home improvement companies, and people generally started doing stuff to their houses that they would not even have dreamed of before!

Wall coatings were the “in thing” in the 80′s but as so many people jumped on the bandwagon, cowboy builders started getting into “the game” and pretty soon, just like double glazing, companies such as the one on the van above started to appear on Consumer programmes, the most famous of the time obviously being “That’s life” with Esther Rantzen, and directly influenced shows nowadays such as Rogue Traders.

External wall coatings during the 90”s

1990s textured coatings van

There is surprisingly not too much to say about the 90′s as far as exterior wall coatings.

Companies came and went, some new technologies in exterior wall coating started to appear, with more environmentally friendly ingredients, and lower VOC (Odours) from paints. New colours were emerging, and different ways of manufacturing were involved. During the end of the 90′s, the first websites appeared for exterior wall coatings and house painting services.

There was a wall coatings website, sort of, in 1994, started by ME, whilst at University, but to be honest there wasn’t much on there, no one understood the internet, and I also got fed up of having emails from people in the USA asking for me to go around that day and give them a quote!

Noughty but nice. Coatings for houses up to the present day.

….and here we are back to the present day, but looking back on the past few years.

The biggest change for exterior wall coatings is how they are sold, and we are glad to have directly influenced that by being the one of the first real textured wall coating companies who saw the potential of the internet. Our first site was in 1999, which admittedly wasn’t very good, then came lubec.co.uk in 2001, and then this site sometime in 2002, and was eventually published in 2003.

Up until then, although the methods and technology has not changed too much during the 90′s, the WAY the service was sold and also advertised was very different up until the early noughties.

Advertising for home Improvement services was very much “in yer face” with telesales, leaflet drops and all sorts of intrusive marketing which eventually laws were brought in to curb that.

Nowadays people don’t like being sold to and this form of marketing is largely dead now, and replaced by websites, in fact when we started, there were only about 5 or 6 wall coating websites in the entire UK, now there are hundreds, mostly advert sites of poor quality although there are one or two good ones now that certainly give me a run for my money!

The future of Exterior wall coatings?

Back to the future

HM The Queen won’t be around for ever and who knows who will replace her, but I do know that this weekend is to enjoy, and forget about the worries we read and see every day during the recession.

Shopping for home improvements

New ways of shopping, new ways of buying products and services are evolving, and searching for the best deal for products and services for the home can often be baffling, especially when Google keeps changing the way it ranks websites.

And going back to the point of all this, Normal paint will always be used as it is cheap and easy to apply, but it never lasts a long time and those fat cats at ICI and all the big paint factories know that! If you have a house, make sure the paint or coating you have on the exterior, makes your house into a home fit for a queen!

Well, despite personally speaking, I can be a dab hand with a pack or Tarot Cards, (!), but I can’t accurately say what the future will bring, but in 30 years time, when you are fed up with painting the house every year, and I come and see you to survey your house for a new wall coating, on the Moon, i’ll be sure to give you the best price I possibly can for your “Anti Gravity exterior wall coating”! :)

In the mean time, if you want to arrange a quote for next week or the week after, please SEND US AN EMAIL HERE and it will be attended to ASAP.

This page was previously at a different url and was edited and republished. Thank you

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