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Scratch Coat Rendering Ovingham

Scratch Coat Rendering Services In Ovingham

We Also Carry Out Large Repairs On Scratch Coat Rendering

Scratch Coat Rendering Services In Ovingham

Scratch Coat Rendering

What's the best way to upgrade your home? There are many methods, but applying render to the exterior walls comes very high on the list; not only is it cost-effective, but it also has a host of other benefits!

However, there are several different options when it comes to rendering, and choosing the right one can be difficult.

Also, the terminology can be confusing, as with the terms scratch coat and scratch coat rendering.

Never fear! The Render Hero Ovingham team is here to offer advice, guidance and a professional rendering service in Ovingham that you can count on for perfect results every time.

We'll enlighten you as to what both of these terms mean, and tell you all about the benefits of scratch coat rendering.


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What Is A Scratch Coat?

What Is A Scratch Coat?

When applying traditional renders, most plasterers add two coats (and sometimes more). The base coat is often referred to as a scratch coat, as it is typically applied with a trowel, and then scraped with a plasterer's comb or scarifier to create a mechanical key.

This thin layer fills and levels uneven surfaces, providing a strong foundation for subsequent layers.

Here's a more in-depth explanation:

  • Better Adhesion - The rough surface created by scratching the first coat provides a key for the second, finer finish coat to grip onto. This significantly improves the bond between the initial surface and subsequent coats. Without this key, the finish coat could simply slide off the smooth surface, especially on external walls exposed to the weather.
  • Strength and Waterproofing - The scratch coat serves as a solid foundation layer, adding strength and stability to the entire render system. It also helps create a more even surface for the next coat, which contributes to better waterproofing* for the building. A well-rendered exterior wall helps prevent moisture ingress and protects the structure from the elements.

*It's common for a waterproof additive to be mixed in with the render

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What Is A Scratch Coat Render?

We've looked at scratch coats as the base for a two-coat render system; now let's see what scratch-coat rendering is.

Also called a scratch finish render, this is a modern development that is rapidly becoming more popular.

While some people prefer a crisp, smooth finish, others like to add texture to their exterior walls for extra character and appeal. To achieve this, the second coat is also scratched back using a circular motion to provide a pleasing, textured appearance.

In this case, the textured walls are purely decorative rather than functional, although it does help to strengthen the overall matrix.

A Cost-Effective Choice

A scratch coat render is a budget-friendly alternative to pricier options like Tyrolean renders, which achieve a similar rustic vibe but require fancy tools. While we work with a variety of render types, a simple sand and cement render can be scratched on the final layer to create a textured look that rivals some of the more high-end options.

However, the type of render you choose ultimately depends on your property. Our professional render experts will assess your building's moisture management needs and recommend the most suitable render for the job. 

What Is A Scratch Coat Render?
Can I Apply A Scratch Coat Render Myself?

Can I Apply A Scratch Coat Render Myself?

While many experienced DIY enthusiasts can achieve good results, it's not a job that anyone can handle.

The Render Hero Ovingham team is highly skilled and trained to deal with all types of render, each of which has its own application methods.

Applying render may seem simple, but it's crucial that each stage is performed perfectly to ensure that the render is successful and lasts a good long time.

When tackling this job, you need to take into account all of the following factors:

The substrate

Are you applying render to brick, stone, concrete block, or a painted surface? Each type of material will help determine which render can be used, to some extent. Choose the wrong type, and it may not work!

The condition of the walls

The walls have to be checked for any damage before the render is applied. It may be necessary to make repairs or install a mesh support with timber screed battens in order to strengthen the rendered wall.

Suction control

Some substrates are more absorbent than others, made from porous materials that draw the moisture from the render mix. This will cause it to dry out too quickly, which will make it crumble and fail. Some contractors recommend applying PVA to the walls, but this is not a good idea as it traps the moisture inside, leading to problems with damp and mould.

It's best to spray the wall lightly before applying the render, and it takes a trained eye to determine exactly how much water is required.


The wall surfaces must be thoroughly clean, and that means getting rid of moss, algae, lichen and all manner of dirt and grime. Any traces of dirt could contaminate the mix, causing the render to fail.

The Correct Mix

It's essential to get the mix right. Although most renders come with instructions, achieving the right consistency can be a challenge.

If you're using a sand and cement render, you need the right type of sand. Rendering sand (also called sharp sand or plastering sand) is ideal, and some coarse sand can be used in the initial layer. However, you should avoid using building sand, as this often contains traces of clay, salt, and other impurities. These can cause the render to shrink and crack as it dries, compromising the overall integrity of the external wall.

Rendering sand is washed to remove these impurities, creating a more stable mix.

Many professionals add waterproofing agents and plasticisers to make the mix creamy and more workable. Lime is also sometimes added, especially when working on older buildings, as this allows moisture to escape naturally.

Finally, you'll need a cement mixer for the best results with certain types of render mix.

The rendering process

Here at Render Hero in Ovingham, we specialise in transforming exteriors with render options of all kinds, including the timeless appeal of scratch finish render.  

The following steps offer an idea as to how we create that unique textured finish on your walls.


Before we begin, a thorough inspection of your property is paramount. We will check the condition of the substrate and look for any potential hazards or health and safety concerns.  

This allows us to plan for any challenges and bring appropriate equipment.  

Choosing The Render  

We then work with you to choose the ideal render. A sand/cement mix specifically formulated for exterior walls is our usual starting point. We factor in your wall type and the prevailing weather conditions to ensure a long-lasting finish. 

Safety First 

The safety of our team and your property is our top priority. We arrive fully equipped with gloves, eye protection, dust masks, and sturdy footwear. Drop cloths and sheeting are laid down to protect surrounding areas. 

Prep Work 

We clean the wall, removing any dirt, dust, or loose materials. Cracks and defects are addressed with a suitable repair mortar, ensuring a sound base for the render. Any old bricks with a particularly crumbly texture will need to be removed and the wall repaired prior to the base coat being applied.

The wall surface is lightly dampened to enhance adhesion (especially if we added lime to the render). Excessive moisture is avoided, as it can weaken the render. 

Preparing The Mix 

Using our expert knowledge and experience, we create a perfectly balanced render mix for your walls. The consistency needs to be firm yet workable, so we can apply it at a steady rate without it drying out too quickly.  

A typical mix is made from one part cement, three parts plastering sand, with water. Additives such as waterproofers, plasticiser or lime can be added at this stage.

Applying The Base Coat 

We apply a very thin layer of the first coat of render in sections, aiming for a consistent thickness of around 10-15mm. A steel plastering trowel is typically used to keep the render flat and perfectly even. Depending on the type of render and the conditions, we may scratch the surface to provide a better grip for the second coat (as explained above).

This is allowed time to cure before we move on to the next stage.

Applying The Finishing Render

Once cured, the base coat might have a slight sheen. We may gently roughen the surface with a wire brush or coarse sandpaper to create an ideal key for the scratch coat to adhere to, if a sand-cement scratch coat wasn't applied.

The render mix is prepared again, following the same process. This will be slightly thinner than the base coat, typically around 5-10mm. 

We then apply the top coat in manageable sections, using a straight edge to keep the wall flat. While the render is still workable, we use a comb rake for horizontal lines, a notched trowel for a swirling pattern, or a dabbing motion with the trowel for a stippled effect. Our skilled experts ensure a consistent and aesthetically pleasing scratching pattern across the entire wall. 

Final Touches

For a touch of textural finesse, a damp sponge can be used to gently glide over the scratched surface shortly after application (before it fully cures). This technique softens the peaks of the texture for a subtler look. 

The rendered wall is left undisturbed to fully cure, adhering to the manufacturer's recommended drying time. During this crucial curing period, we take steps to shield the wall from direct sunlight and rain. 

Inspection And Tidy-Up

The team will make a final inspection of the finished render to ensure it is sound and curing nicely. All tools, equipment and waste will be removed from the site to leave it perfectly clean and tidy.

Do You Need Planning Permission?

In the vast majority of cases, you won’t need planning permission to apply a scratch finish render to your external walls. However, it depends on a few factors: 


Building regulations can vary across different parts of Ovingham. Some areas, particularly those with a strong focus on preserving local character, might have stricter rules regarding external alterations. Here's how location can influence planning permission for scratch finish render:

  • Conservation Areas - These designated areas aim to protect the architectural and historical heritage of a specific location. Rendering an external wall in a conservation area often requires planning permission, even for seemingly minor changes like applying a scratch finish. 
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks - Similar to conservation areas, these designated landscapes have stricter planning controls. Rendering an external wall in an AONB or National Park might require planning permission, even if the property itself isn't listed. 
  • Local Planning Policies - Individual local authorities can have their own specific planning policies. These policies might outline additional regulations for rendering external walls, such as restrictions on colour palettes or material types. 

The best course of action is to contact your local planning authority (LPA) directly. Their website might also have a dedicated section outlining planning permission requirements for your specific area.

Do You Need Planning Permission?

Property Type 

Certain property types have additional planning permission considerations for external alterations: 

  • Listed Buildings - These buildings hold significant historical or architectural importance and are protected by law. Any alterations, including rendering external walls, almost always require planning permission from your local planning authority. 
  • Properties in Conservation Areas - As mentioned earlier, rendering an external wall in a conservation area often requires planning permission, even for properties that aren't listed buildings themselves. The focus here is on maintaining the overall aesthetic harmony of the designated area. 

Extent of Changes 

The extent of the changes you plan to make with your scratch finish render can also influence the need for planning permission: 

  • Colour - Significant changes in colour compared to the existing render might require planning permission. Local planning authorities might have specific colour palettes designated for certain areas to ensure continuity of appearance. 
  • Material - While scratch finish render typically uses a sand and cement mix, using a drastically different material compared to the existing render could trigger the need for planning permission. 
  • Overall Appearance - Major changes to the overall visual impact of your property's exterior, such as rendering a previously unrendered wall, might necessitate planning permission. 

It's important to remember that planning permission requirements can be complex. While this explanation provides a general overview, consulting your local planning authority is the most reliable way to determine if your specific project requires planning permission for scratch finish render.

Scratch Coat Rendering FAQs

While we've focussed on scratch coat rendering, you may have some questions about renders in general, so here are some that we are often asked:

How Long Does Render Last? 

The lifespan of external render in GB English can vary depending on several factors: 

  • Render Quality - A high-quality render, properly applied, can last for several decades – typically 30-50 years or even longer with good maintenance. Lower-quality renders, especially when applied by inexperienced or unskilled contractors, will deteriorate much faster. 
  • Weather Conditions - Harsh weather like persistent rain, strong winds, or extreme temperatures can accelerate wear and tear on external render. 
  • Maintenance - Regular inspections, thorough cleaning and occasional minor repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of your render. 

Is House Rendering a Worthwhile Investment? 

House rendering can be worthwhile for several reasons: 

  • Increased Property Value - A well-maintained rendered exterior can enhance the visual appeal of your property, potentially boosting its market value. 
  • Improved Weather Protection - Render acts as a protective barrier against rain, wind, and extreme temperatures, safeguarding your walls from damage and improving overall weatherproofing. 
  • Reduced Maintenance - Compared to bare brickwork, rendered walls are generally easier to maintain and require less frequent redecoration. 
  • Aesthetic Enhancement - Render offers a variety of colours and textures, allowing you to customise the look and feel of your property's exterior. 

Does External Rendering Make Your Walls Stronger? 

External rendering can contribute to the strength of your walls in a few ways: 

  • Improved Stability - Render provides a solid outer layer that helps to distribute stress across the wall's surface, potentially reducing the risk of cracks. 
  • Weather Protection - As mentioned earlier, render acts as a barrier against the elements, which can help to prevent weather erosion that might weaken the wall over time. 
  • Waterproofing - A properly applied render system can improve the overall waterproofing of your walls, preventing moisture ingress, which can lead to structural issues. 

Can You Paint Scratch Coat Renders?

In theory, it's possible, but you must use the right kind of paint! Painting the textured surface risks losing its breathability. Also, you may cover up the texture, which defeats the object of opting for this type of render in the first place.

If you want a particular colour, discuss this with us, and we'll use a through-coloured render.

Can You Render Over An Old Scratch Coat?

You can, as long as it is in good condition and has a flat, rough texture. We may need to treat the surface to ensure a secure bond with the top coat.

What's The Difference Between Rendering And Plastering?

Essentially, they're the same, except that plastering is generally reserved for internal walls. It generally requires the same level of skill, although rendering exterior walls is usually more involved.

Also, there tends to be a wider choice of.

Scratch Coat Rendering FAQs
Render Hero Scratch Coat Rendering Specialists In Ovingham

Render Hero Scratch Coat Rendering Specialists In Ovingham

Transform your property's exterior with the appeal of a scratch finish render. At Render Hero, our skilled team is passionate about creating beautiful and long-lasting finishes. We use only high-quality materials and professional application techniques to ensure a stunning result that complements your home. 

Contact Render Hero today for a free, no-obligation quotation. Our friendly team will discuss your project requirements and advise you on the best colour and texture options to achieve your desired look. We'll provide a transparent breakdown of the process and costs, allowing you to make an informed decision. 

Don't wait any longer to give your home the charming and characterful upgrade it deserves. Get in touch with Render Hero today and let's discuss how we can bring your vision to life! 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is scratch coat rendering?

Scratch coat rendering involves applying a base layer of plaster to a wall, which is then scratched to create a key for the final coat. This process ensures strong adhesion and durability.

Why is a scratch coat necessary in rendering?

A scratch coat is crucial in rendering as it provides a rough surface that enhances the bonding of subsequent layers, ensuring a stable and long-lasting finish.

How much does scratch coat rendering cost in the UK?

The cost of scratch coat rendering in the UK varies depending on factors such as surface area and material choice, typically ranging from £20 to £40 per square metre.

How long does scratch coat rendering take to dry?

Scratch coat rendering generally takes about 2-3 days to dry completely, although this can vary based on weather conditions and the thickness of the application.

What materials are used in scratch coat rendering?

Common materials used in scratch coat rendering include cement, sand, and lime, which are chosen for their ability to provide a strong, durable base for further rendering.

Can scratch coat rendering be applied to any surface?

Scratch coat rendering can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including brick, block, and stone, but the surface must be clean and stable to ensure proper adhesion.
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