Pebble dash

pebble dash

Pebble dash

Pebble dashing, also known as roughcast, is a wall covering typically found on exterior walls. It's a decorative gravel finish applied to a render coat on buildings. Pebbles are tossed and pushed into two coats of a lime and sand foundation.

The result is a wall covered in tiny, smooth pebbles.  Some masons consider pebble dashing to be an art form, and they can make their own special blend of base coat.

Pebble dash dates back to the 1920s when builders would use it to cover old bricks on the outside of a building. Aside from pebble dash, property owners occasionally use stucco, render or brick to cover external surfaces.

It was a low-cost way to refresh and weatherproof the exterior of your house. The building method was also common during the Arts and Crafts movement, the Tudor period, and “is commonly found on medieval buildings,” according to the article.

What most people don't realize is that pebble dash is a modern variant of a Roman-era rendering technique that involves throwing a mixture of quicklime and sand at outer walls to create a stippled impact.


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What Is The Purpose Of Pebble Dashing?

What Is The Purpose Of Pebble Dashing?

Pebble dash houses arose in the aftermath of World War One, when there was a severe housing shortage, supplies were scarce, and houses had to be constructed quickly. Pebble dash began as a way to conceal the low-cost bricks used in the construction of these homes.

It was made out of dredged sea pebbles that were dumped by hand onto wet sand and cement. It was also common because it was easier to apply than stucco or rendering, particularly in areas where skilled labourers were scarce. Other than accessibility, below are other reasons why property owners choose pebble dashing:

  • It's a low-maintenance finish that needs no maintenance.
  • It's very durable and will last a long time.
  • Not only that, but it's a simple way to conceal rusty, tired, or low-quality brickwork.
  • Lastly, it has better water-shedding properties and protects the foundations of the house from bad weather.

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How To Pebble Dash A Wall

The most important rule of rendering is that each of the two coats must be thinner (i.e., less cement) and weaker (i.e., less cement) than the one before it. The proportions of the blend can be altered in a variety of ways. If you're going to use hydrated lime in your mix, keep the cement/lime to sand ratio to 1 to 3.

In other words, lime is considered to be a component of the cement content of the mix, and the proportion of cement may be adjusted by changing the proportion of cement.

  • Mix the lime with the water according to the manufacturer's instructions and set aside for 24 hours to slake (or hydrate).
  • Combine 1 part slaked lime, 6 parts sand, and 1 part cement in a mixing bowl. The materials are mixed into a slurry and are then thrown at the working surface with a trowel or scoop.
  • Pebble dash the mixture onto the wall with a trowel. Maintain a level trowel and use its edge to create a smooth, flat base layer on the wall.
  • Roughly an hour later, before the base coat has completely hardened, scratch the surface with a notched trowel to produce a grooved surface that will aid in the adhesion of the second coat. Allow 24 hours for drying.
  • Drain your pebbles full after rinsing them thoroughly. Place them in a large bucket or a large flat bin you can set beneath the wall you are pebble dashing.
  • To make your top coat, combine 5 parts sand, 1 part slaked lime and 1 part cement in a mixing bowl. Apply this in a smooth, even layer to the wall.
  • Lay plastic sheeting under the pebble-dashing wall. This catches the loose pebbles as they fall and allows you to quickly collect and reuse them until the whole wall is protected.
  • With one side, hold the bucket or tray of pebbles below the wall, and the other, scoop up some pebbles with a scoop or trowel. Pebbles can be thrown at the wall. Some of them cling to the cement, while the rest land on the plastic.
  • Continue throwing pebbles at the wall until you have an even layer of pebbles covering the entire surface. Lightly press the pebbles into the wall with the flat of the trowel then allow to dry for 24 hours.
  • Keep the trowel level and use its edge to create a smooth, flat layer
  • If any of the materials to be used are frozen or if there is a chance of frost damage before the render has taken an initial collection, do not attempt to apply it.
How To Pebble Dash A Wall
Pebble Dash Colours

Pebble Dash Colours

Pebble Dashing aggregates preserve the exterior fabric of new and refurbished buildings while also offering a low-maintenance, visually appealing finish. There are several varieties of this spar dash such as sharp-dash, Sharpton.

Below are some of the decorative aggregates available in the market.

Ashton cream

This is a blend of white and cream marble ; the stones give a nice speckled pebble dash finish.

Barley corn

A mix of gold, yellow, orange, and cream colours. It has a more rounded appearance compared to other stones.

Buff quartz chipping

It's a careful mix of beige, cream, and orangey-yellow.

Canterbury Spar

It's the most preferred material in pebble dashing. The mix of smooth pebbles in salmon pink, white, grey, brown, and black, are also used for decorative gardening.

Derbyshire Spar

It is sized 3-8 mm and is suitable for pebble dashing, with subtle colours of peach, creams, grey, and white providing a mellow finish.

Is Pebble Dashing Expensive?

Your home will take on a whole new look if you pebble dash it. It's a smart way to boost the aesthetic appeal of your home while also increasing its resale value if you plan to sell. A pebble dashed house will cost roughly between £2,000-£3,000 depending on the size of your house.

For a pebble dashing job, it's critical to recruit the right specialists. You want to make sure that the right tools and materials are being used. This isn't the kind of project that can be completed on a weekend.

Labour and time

Pebble dashing your home can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days, depending on the size of your house. It would normally cost between £140 and £160 a day per labourer.


For pebbles, you can expect to pay anywhere from £8 to £20 per 25 kg. The cost of materials will depend on the size of the area.

External paint

If you want your pebble dash painted as a finishing touch, expect to pay between £10 and £25 per meter squared.

Is Pebble Dashing Expensive?
Is Painting Pebbledash A Good Idea?

Is Painting Pebbledash A Good Idea?

Painting your pebbledash can appear to be a good choice if it has become noticeably weathered but is otherwise in good condition. It would give you a new look without too much expense or effort – or so you'd imagine.

Pebbledash isn't really ideal for painting because of its rough, bumpy surface. Painting the numerous peaks, troughs, and sharp edges is a nightmare – and the realism is much worse. Furthermore, paint is never a long-term alternative outside the building.

Can you get rid of pebble dash?

Yes you can, while the process is long and painstaking, it's not entirely impossible. This is done with a coloured render, which eliminates the need for repainting, or sand and cement render, which requires painting once installed. All of the old pebbledash will be removed, and the bare bricks will be rendered.

How to Repair Pebble dashed External Walls

Repairing pebble dashed exterior walls isn't easy. It isn't impossible, though. The first step is Pebble dash removal and rendering. It is a time-consuming operation that requires the use of hand tools, and the brickwork will need to be washed to return to its original state.

Repair and paint the exterior

It is possible to paint it, but given the texture of the surface, this is a difficult task because it won't get every surface of the building covered. Paint rollers aren't going to cut it, and stippling the whole region can take a long time. Spray paint will is a more efficient alternative and will save a lot of time.


Removing the current pebble dash and rendering over the bare bricks is needed for a properly executed rendering job. Applying new render on top of an existing finish would put undue strain on the walls.

Does Pebble Dash cause damp?

Pebbledash loses its pebbles over time especially at the base of the wall after heavy rain, revealing the unpainted mortar beneath. The rain will be absorbed, and the water will remain in the wall. The water inside the wall will freeze as the weather changes. The water spreads as it solidifies, causing cracks.

If this process begins, it just gets worse over time. More gaps and hollow patches of render will appear soon, indicating that the wall covering is simply "hanging" on the wall rather than being affixed to it. This is when the interior of the building begins to show damp spots.


Pebbledash is a type of wall covering typically used on outside walls. Pebbles are thrown and pushed into two coats of a lime and sand foundation. The result is a wall covered in tiny, smooth pebbles. It is considered an art form by some masons who may mix their own special blend of base coat.

Pebbledash comes in a variety of colours, with some stones already pre coloured. The colour tones are inspired by granite, sandstone and slate. Contact Render Hero today and let us help you choose the best solutions for you.


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is pebble dash rendering?

Pebble dash rendering involves applying a layer of mortar to a wall and then pressing small pebbles into it. This technique offers a textured finish that is durable and weather-resistant.

How long does pebble dash rendering last?

Properly maintained, pebble dash rendering can last over 20 years. Its longevity depends on the quality of materials used and the conditions it is exposed to.

What are the benefits of pebble dash rendering?

The benefits of pebble dash rendering include its durability, low maintenance, and weather resistance. It also provides a unique aesthetic that can enhance a building's exterior.

Can pebble dash rendering be applied over existing finishes?

Yes, pebble dash rendering can be applied over existing finishes if the surface is properly prepared to ensure adequate adhesion and longevity.

How much does pebble dash rendering cost?

The cost of pebble dash rendering varies depending on the size of the area, the type of pebbles used, and regional labour costs. Typically, it is considered a cost-effective option for exterior rendering.

What are the main differences between pebble dash and roughcast rendering?

The main difference is in the finish: pebble dash uses larger pebbles pressed into the render, while roughcast involves a mix of small stones, sand, and lime applied together, giving a coarser texture.
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