Does the render need replacing?


We use lots of sketches and photos in our building surveys

The article below gives you an example of the way that we write reports and in particular we wanted to show you how we use sketches in our reports which we know help our clients understand their property problems. We, of course, like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about the reports. can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, full structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters. As independent surveyors we can advise you on just about anything. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our independent surveyors and yes, we are members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association (ISVA).

Free phone 0800 298 5424

Does a building survey tell you whether the render needs replacing?

In a word, yes. We normally give an estimate of how much it would cost to replace the render.

It does depend upon a number of factors and there may be ways to repair the render although you have to be very careful with render as if it is not re-rendered professionally then this can stand out.

Blown or hollow render


What is the render hiding?

As Building Surveyors, we would ask what is the render hiding, if anything? This may well be our first question as over the years we have found that render has been used not only as a decorative finish or a more economical finish but also to hide problems. Is it hiding poor quality workmanship, is it hiding movement cracks or is it just a nice decorative finish. We must emphasise you will be surprised over the years how many times we have found render is hiding cracks in properties that are only visible when you truly understand how the building works and the forces in the building.

What does this patch of render hide?

Can you tell this property has been underpinned from the condition of the render in the photos below?

A rendered section has the building been underpinned?

Next to this corner is a bay window does this help you understand if this property has been underpinned or if there are problems with it?

Yes, this property has been underpinned. In this case the owner had repainted the render which we became suspicious about. We noted other factors in the property which allowed us to see there were problems.


Examining the render for cracks

We do of course look closely at the render for cracks or other defects that indicate the render is being used to hide something. However equally we look at the property as a whole and understand what we term as the 3D puzzle which is how the building fits together.

Hairline cracking

We may find for example that the roof has been amended, altered or parts removed which has resulted in cracks being caused to the walls and the render or equally we could be looking to the future to some extent where we believe that cracks will occur. Such things as distorted door frames and window frames give a good indication of this. Again, we come back to the fact that render is such a good material for hiding problems.

Hairline cracking barely visible in the photo we use a pen to indicate where it is.

Age of the render matters

When you have render problems you are talking about a considerable sum of money to make good any render issues. The first thing to understand is that render is an exterior face that is applied to another surface and over time loses its key or grip on that surface. It will also deteriorate externally and may even crack albeit that this is a hairline crack and dampness may get under the render. This ultimately would mean that the property has to be re-rendered. A Building Surveyor when doing a Property Report needs to be looking for signs of deterioration to the render or old repairs which can give away there will be future problems.

Blown or hollow render


Hairline crack defined

Literally a crack that is as thin as a hair.


Blistering starting to occur to the render

Signs of previous repairs

Poor quality render around newly installed plastic window


Render which looked in reasonable condition, when tapped the render was hollow

When render was opened up it was sandy.


For further information please see the following articles:


Cracks to my plaster, Is it a structural problem?

Cracks in my wall

How in our experience, insurance companies deal with cracks in properties

Why you have never seen any Building Surveys or Structural Surveys like ours


Different types of render

Smooth render

Pebbledash render

Stippled render


Render Detailing how to tell if the original render was of a good standard

You can normally tell whether the render is of a good standard or not by the drip detailing over the windows and the bell mouth to the base of the property.


Window drip detail

Window Drips help throw any excess water away from the window frames and therefore stop them from deteriorating as detailed in the Window Drip sketch below.

57 Window render drip

Drip detail over window

Window drip


Bell mouth to base of property

A bell-mouth is a curve at the base of a wall which throws the water away from the structure therefore preventing dampness.



Bell mouth detail

Bell mouth

Black painted line to imitate bell mouth

Briefest look at render

This article has given the briefest look at render; there is so much more that we could say. At the end of the day the problems are normally specific and different for each property.


Independent Surveyors

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a building surveyor we are happy to do valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, home buyers reports or any other property matters. Please contact us on 0800  298 5424 to have a free of charge friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

We feel our surveys are quite unique, as they are written to your level of knowledge. The surveys include photos and sketches and definitions. The survey will also include an action required section and an estimate of costs in the executive summary. We are more than happy to meet you at the property whilst carrying out the survey to discuss any specific issues you may have or have a general chat about what we have found at the end of the survey.


Commercial Property

If you are looking for commercial property, whether it is freehold or leasehold, we would recommend a survey as this will prevent dilapidations claims in the long run. You may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site , both of which we have been advised are very helpful!

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The contents of the web site are for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision.

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