Rendering vs Plastering

Rendering Vs Plastering – Know the differences

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What’s the Difference Between Rendering and Plastering?

Key Takeaways:

  • Key Difference in Processes: The article clarifies that rendering involves covering exterior surfaces, while plastering is focused on interior walls. The key disparity lies in the materials’ strength, with exterior rendering requiring greater durability due to exposure to natural elements.
  • Material Composition Variations: Rendering and plastering share common ingredients of cement, sand, water, and lime, yet the proportion and consistency differ. Render, designed for external use.
  • Distinct Purposes: Rendering serves the dual purpose of fireproofing and waterproofing while enhancing visual appeal on exterior surfaces. It employs a thicker cement foundation and can offer varied finishes.

The differences between render and plaster and when each should be applied are frequently misunderstood. Therefore this article was put together to help you understand the difference between Rendering vs Plastering. To see how they vary, it’s necessary first to comprehend why the two processes are frequently mistaken.

Cement plaster and render are both types of mortar coatings used to create a smoother, more equal surface on the blockwork. While the application of cement renders and plaster differs, they are both made from the same ingredients: cement, sand, water, and occasionally lime.

rendering vs plastering

Rendering vs. Plastering – The Process

The processes of rendering and plastering are both used for covering walls. Plastering refers to coating interior walls/inside walls, whereas rendering refers to the process of covering exterior surfaces/outer walls.

The strength of the materials used in each is the main difference between rendering and plastering. This is because, as you can imagine, exterior surfaces need greater durability and the resilience of materials must be that much higher than for interior walls.

The amount and consistency of the constituent materials also have some variation. Render contains more cement than plaster and is, therefore, thicker, which is needed as it is used on outside walls.

Plaster, on the other hand, takes less cement because it’s used on internal walls and isn’t exposed to the elements like wind, rain, or sun, so it doesn’t have to be as durable as the natural elements.

Plaster is typically constructed of finer sand, whereas render is typically built of coarser sand. This is because plastering is done before painting to give a smooth surface for an even paint finish.

Rendering vs Plastering

Rendering vs Plastering – The Purpose


Rendering is the process of covering the outside surfaces of the property in order to fireproof and waterproof it while also making sure it is visually appealing, for example, by providing a smooth finish. Render is made of the same materials as plaster but with a significantly thicker cement foundation that allows it to be used outside.

Lime gypsum and fine sand are included in the rendering mixture to get a polished finish. Render is the last layer on external walls, and it can be smooth, flat, patterned, or textured, depending on the client’s preferences. To make your internal walls fire-resistant, you can use a fire-resistant coating (FRC) over the render.


Plastering is preparing the interior ceilings and walls of the property for wallpapering or painting. The mixture uses less cement and less coarse sand than render, resulting in a smoother, lighter surface than its exterior counterpart.

While both are mortar coverings that sit on blockwork tops, plaster is not resistant to weather. It serves primarily as a decorative feature that is water-resistant and easy to clean. It also has fireproofing properties, useful in older buildings made of clay or mud.

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Rendering vs Plastering – Mixture Composition

Though both render and plaster use the same material mixture, the

 composition ratio used to create the mixture for the process differed because of their intended purpose and application.

Rendering materials contain more cement to make them stronger and more durable. Adding extra cement to the cement render composition reinforces your building exterior and protects it from water and heat. In addition, coarser sand is used in the render mixture to make it thicker. Some materials may even have gravel to make them more resistant and tougher.

When it comes to plaster mixtures, finer sand and less cement produce a smoother finish. Sometimes, lime gypsum is added to the cement mixture in order to create a creamy texture on the walls.

Rendering vs Plastering – When to Use


As already mentioned, the consistency of render and plaster differs due to the varying strength requirements for their respective applications. Rendering is utilised on exterior walls for a variety of reasons:

  • Waterproof and fireproof a building
  • Add an extra layer of insulation to the walls
  • Repair cracks in external walls
  • Change the colour of external walls or coat exterior surfaces
  • Enhance the creamy appearance
  • Boost the texture of external surfaces
  • Increases the value of a property
  • Cut down maintenance costs in the long run
cracks in external wall

Exterior wall rendering is done by putting the render in sheets, troweling it on, and finishing it with many tools, based on the desired finish. Many individuals like a flat, smooth surface, while others prefer a textured, patterned look. This is a matter of personal preference and the requirement for the render to blend in with the rest of the house.


In contrast, plaster is used for the following reasons:

  • Smoothen and flatten your interior walls
  • Prime interior walls for wallpaper installation and paint
  • Enhance the overall beauty of your walls and ceiling

It must be totally set and dry before applying paint or wallpaper to freshly plastered walls. Before applying the decorating material, allow for a week to a month of drying time. When it is dry, there will be no visible black spots on a freshly plastered wall, and the entire surface will be a constant light colour.

The number of layers of plaster materials and ambient conditions, such as the weather and internal heating and cooling, all influence the time it takes for the plaster to cure. The dark patches visible on the walls are due to mould and plaster that did not dry properly.

plastering the wall

Now that you know the difference between rendering and plastering, you can better understand the materials that may be used as part of the Damp Proofing treatment of your property. If you identify the need for Rendering or Plastering Services on your property, then please get in touch and get a free quote.

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Jake Fitzgerald - Damp Surveyor

Surveyor of Timber & Dampness in Buildings (CSTDB) & ( MRICS ) Chartered Quantity Surveyor

Jake is a qualified chartered quantity surveyor and experienced damp specialist with a unique skill set in thermal imaging. With a focus on effective solutions, Jake combines his expertise in quantity surveying and thermal imaging to accurately assess and address damp-related issues. He utilises advanced technology to identify hidden moisture sources and develop targeted strategies, ensuring comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for his clients. With a commitment to open communication and client satisfaction, Jake delivers cutting-edge solutions that tackle damp challenges head-on.

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