Pebbledash as an exterior wall coating is one of those “Marmite” type things; you either love it or hate it.
From a money point of view, it also only has a finite lifespan so when the outside walls of your house look tired, with missing stones, cracks, hollow render and bald areas of pebbles, now is the time to consider getting it spruced up but more pebble-dash may NOT be the right answer!
Pebbledash is not everyone’s cup of tea and when the time comes to have it replaced or repaired, many people wrongly think that having it re-dashed is the only answer, after all, if you try and paint pebbledash with normal masonry paint, the end result WILL look terrible.
Firstly, let’s define what “Pebbledash” actually is.
The wall covering known as Pebbledash (or pebble-dash, or roughcast) is an exterior wall covering, that is formed of a coating or covering of a sand and cement based render, with the final coat of the dash having small stones or pebbles being literally, thrown at the wet surface by a builder.
This exterior wall finish was made popular here in the United Kingdom since about the 1920′s, when housing was in greater demand, and builders were forced to cut costs wherever they could and the dash was principally applied to cover poor quality bricks.
Original pebbledash found on older properties actually has tiny pebbles, dredged from the sea bed and washed, the motive being that this would repel water from the house walls. Nowadays a more correct definition would be “spar dash” which are small flint chips or similar, and applied in the same way.
Caution must be taken whilst working on this particular type of wall, or even walking close to a spardashed wall as the flint chips can be extremely sharp.
What happens to Pebble-dash over time?
Pebbledash, the original type, has some weatherproofing qualities, however like many thing, it will only last as long as your home does not suffer from frequent bad weather, and also the job was done correctly all those years ago.
Even considering this, many homes were pebbledashed during the housing boom of the 1980′s and often applied to homes where the pebbledash finish does not suit the character of the house, the (expandable) image above left is a prime example of that.
Pebbledash is not flexible and is prone to cracking.
Once the cracks start to appear, they let water in, which then freezes and expands in the wall, pushing the coating of dash AWAY from the bricks underneath. This process gets worse and worse over time and can end up with chunks of wall actually falling off like the house we did below.
The stones themselves also fall off (A quick glance at the ground at the base of the wall should prove that), and the weatherproofing qualities of the wall covering quickly disappear, leaving the wall open to the weather.
The stones cannot be replaced. This is also evident where a pebbledashed house has had previous repairs or alterations, the 2 areas of wall NEVER match up.
Many people wrongly consider painting the wall, and I assure you that this is a very long process due to the rough texture of the wall, and very time consuming, using 2 to 3 times the amount of paint a rendered wall would take.
When you or the decorator have finished, even if you have used good quality masonry paint, the end result would look terrible, utterly awful. Once you have painted the wall, you are them committed to having it repainted around every two years!!!!!
What is the most sensible option for pebbledash?
Considering the points above, the home owner has very few options available; they can either have it re-pebbledashed (which will almost certainly be spar dash, not pebbles) or they consider a durable weatherproof pebbledash wall coating from NEVER PAINT AGAIN instead.
If the home owner chooses to have it re-pebbledashed there are a few things to consider.
If the pebbledash is firmly stuck to the wall, when a builder forcibly removes it, his tools WILL rip out the mortar joints and the faces of the brick beneath, causing potential structural damage to your house.
Ironically if the chap doing the job is somewhat of a “cowboy builder”, they may apply a coat of pebbledash ON TOP OF the existing coating. This massively increases the LOAD on your walls, adding extra weight to something it was not designed for.
This extra weight itself can pull the older pebbledash away from the wall even more, and/or it can seal up the house, denying the walls ability to “breathe” and can CAUSE DAMP.
So if that’s a no-go, what option do I have left?
The benefits of having an Exterior wall coatings on pebbledash
In considering the above information we can see that SPRAYING a paint or coating into pebbledash is by far the best way to achieve a uniform paint coverage, however if the wall is in poor condition, much repair has to be done beforehand. Never paint again have experience dating back to the 1980′s, with transforming pebbledashed houses.
In addition, if the pebbledashed wall has bald areas with no stones, these must be reinstated by spraying cement with what is known as a tyrolean gun, and this blends with the existing dash to form a uniform texture across the wall.
The house is then masked up and a coating of a latex modified render wash is applied, by hand, to the walls and allowed to dry.
The wall coating teams then apply a primer coat, and then finally a top coat of a very thick exterior textured coating which, when applied over pebbledash, gives a beautiful, weatherproof finish, which will last for up to 20 years!
The coating will repel damp , mould and algae, is not expensive, and will not need to be repainted! This also comes with a 15 year insurance backed guarantee offered by the contractor.
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