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Building Facades: A Comparative Analysis Of Brick And Render Finishes – Unveiling The Pros and Cons

Render Finish is a layer of protection, highly recyclable always, looking fresh

When it comes to building facades, choosing the right finish can significantly impact the overall look and functionality of a structure. 

Among the various options available, brick or render options have been popular for their versatility and durability. In this blog post, we will delve into a comparative analysis of brick or render applications, unveiling the pros and cons of each. 

By exploring the benefits and drawbacks of brick vs render, we aim to look into valuable insights to help you decide on your next construction or renovation project, especially in the UK. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of building facades!

Definition And Overview Of Brick Finishes

Brickwork refers to the various treatments and techniques used to enhance the appearance of brick walls. These finishes can be applied to new and existing brick surfaces, providing different textures, colours, and patterns and do not need paint or sealant.

They served as protective layers for hundreds of years, enhancing the durability and longevity of the red bricks while also adding more value.

Pros Of Brick Finishes

Durability And Longevity

These offer excellent permanence, making them resistant to weathering, impact, and wear. They can extend the lifespan of the underlying brickwork, protecting it from moisture, UV rays, and other damaging elements.

Low Maintenance Requirements

Unlike other exterior finishes, these require minimal care. They do not need regular repainting or resealing and are resistant to fading, chipping, and peeling. That saves time and money in the long run.

Natural And timeless aesthetic

The natural beauty and warm tones of red bricks create a visually appealing look that can add character and charm to any building.

Bricks Rendering used as a professional application in commercial buildings

Cons Of Brick Finishes

Limited Design Options

Compared to other finishes like rendering brick, it offers fewer design options. While different textures and colours are available, the overall look is still limited by the nature of bricks. That may restrict the creativity and customisation potential for some projects.

Higher Initial Cost Compared To Render

It tends to cost more upfront than rendering or other exterior finishing materials. The cost of bricks, installation, and the extra labour required for finishes can make it more expensive initially.

Less Thermal Insulation

Bricks have lower thermal insulation properties than render or cladding systems. They have lower R-values, meaning they are less effective at insulating against heat transfer. That can result in higher energy consumption for heating and cooling in some climates.

Brick offers longevity with timeless looks. However, they may have design options and thermal insulation limitations. The choice between brick finishes and other exterior finishes depends on the specific requirements and preferences of the project.

Bricks Rendering secure investment used in Europe For centuries as a building material

Definition And Overview Of Render Finishes

These, also known as stucco or plaster finishes, are an exterior treatment applied to walls to create a smooth and uniform surface, giving an extra layer of protection. It is typically made from cement, concrete, sand, and water applied to the underlying wall structure. It can be tinted or painted in various colours to achieve the desired functions.

Pros Of Render Finishes

Versatility in design and colour choices: 

It offers excellent versatility in design options. It can be shaped and moulded into patterns, textures, and architectural features due to concrete. Additionally, a wide range of colours is available, allowing customisation to match the desired intention.

Lower Initial Cost Compared To Brick Work

 They generally cost less than brick and are a good investment. Because they use cement and sand, they are more affordable than bricks. That makes it a cost-effective option for those on a budget. It is not very costly.

It Can Provide A Smooth And Clean Appearance External Render

Render finishes are known for creating a smooth and clean look on the exterior of buildings and for long-run ability. That can give the structure a modern and contemporary look, enhancing its fresh appeal on road surfaces to give a smooth path. This is primarily used in the UK’s roundabout.

Rendering On Existing walls is generally considered less expensive

Cons Of Render Finishes Extension

Prone to cracking and damage over time: Render finishes are more prone to cracking than bricks. That can occur due to structural movement, temperature changes, or inadequate installation. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are necessary to keep it in good condition.

Regular Maintenance Required

They demand regular care to prevent deterioration and to maintain them. It may involve repainting, cleaning, and repairing cracks or damages over time. Failure to perform proper care can lead to more significant issues.

Limited Lifespan Compared To Brick

Render finishes have a shorter lifespan compared to brick. While bricks can last for several decades or even centuries, the rendering method may need to be replaced or repaired after 10 to 20 years, depending on the quality of installation.

Render Finish is a layer of protection, highly recyclable always, looking fresh

Explanation Of Alternatives To Traditional Brick Or Render

Regarding exterior wall treatments, several alternatives to rendering finishes can provide unique looks and functional benefits. These alternatives include cladding, pebble dash, cork spray render, roughcast, stone cladding, and timber cladding. Each alternative offers advantages and drawbacks, which we will explore in the following sections.


Cladding involves adding layers of material to the exterior walls, which can be made from various materials such as wood, metal, vinyl, or composite form. Cladding gives an extra layer of insulation weatherproofing and can enhance the visual appeal of a building.

Pebble Dash

Pebble dash is a technique that involves applying a thick layer of mortar to the wall surface and then embedding small stones or pebbles into the mortar. It creates a textured finish that is both longevity and visually attractive.

Cork Spray For External Render

Cork spray render is a sustainable alternative that involves spraying a mixture of cork granules and binders onto the wall surface. It offers excellent thermal insulation and sound absorption and is environmentally friendly.


Roughcast, also known as wet dash or harling, is an exterior finish that involves throwing or spraying a mixture of sand, cement, and small stones onto the wall surface. That creates a rough and textured outlook that is highly durable.

Stone Cladding

Stone cladding involves attaching thin slices of natural or manufactured stone to the exterior walls using adhesive or mechanical fixings. It offers a luxurious and timeless aesthetic while providing additional insulation and protection.

Timber Cladding

Timber cladding involves covering the exterior walls with wooden boards or panels. It offers a natural and warm look, enhances insulation, and can be sustainably sourced.

Choice Of rendering is a Difficult Decision from popular choice and to find a solution from a list of options

Factors To Consider When Choosing Brick Or Render

When choosing between brick and render finishes for your project, there are several factors to consider, and they may require attention to detail for different projects like a floor for penetrating damp and roof tiles.

Design Preferences Of Brick Vs Render

Consider the desired form and style of your building. Brick offers a natural and timeless look used in the UK for hundreds of years, while render finishes provide a smooth and clean appearance. Evaluate which option aligns better with your design vision and architectural style.

Budget Constraints Of Bricks Vs Render

Evaluate your budget and the cost implications of each finish with a cup of tea. Brick finishes tend to have a higher upfront cost due to the requirements and labour involved, while render finishes often offer a more affordable option. Consider the long-term expense as well.

Climate Considerations Advantages Of Bricks Vs Render

Take into account the climate conditions in your location. Bricks are permanent and can withstand various weather elements, making them suitable for hot and cold climates. Renders may need additional insulation in colder climates or specialised coatings to protect them because they are exposed to moisture in wet climates and freeze and expand.

Maintenance Requirements Advantages Of Brick Vs Render

Assess the level of maintenance you are willing to commit to. Brick finishes generally need less conservation, requiring periodic cleaning and minor repairs. Render finishes may need more regular look after, including repainting and addressing cracks or damages over time.

By considering these factors – design preferences for the glaze, budget constraints, climate considerations, and care requirements the contractor decides whether brickwork or render finishes are better suited for your project. It needs some planning permissions to reduce price, minimise the outlook of a building that has some underlying brickwork that is old enough to provide an extra layer, and considerations of brick suppliers, clay and the area you want to renovate.

Key Takeaways

  • Brick finishes offer superior durability compared to render finishes. Bricks are resistant to weathering and fading and require minimal maintenance.

  • Brick finishes provide a timeless and classic look, adding texture and character to a building facade. 

  • Render finishes offer a sleek and modern appearance with the option to choose from various colours and finishes.

Last words

All in all, when choosing between brick or render finishes for building facades, several essential factors must be considered. Brick finishes offer timeless and natural, exceptional durability, and low maintenance requirements. Render finishes, on the other hand, provide a smooth and clean look, affordability, and customisation options. 

Ultimately, the decision should be based on your design preferences, budget constraints, climate considerations, and maintenance requirements. By carefully evaluating the pros and cons of these factors, you can make an informed decision that best suits your project goals. 

So, whether you opt for the classic charm of brick or the versatility of render, both options have unique benefits and considerations. Remember to consult with professionals and experts to ensure you choose the right finish for your building facade.

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About Loftera

Loftera bridges the gap between homeowners and trusted tradesmen, serving as the go-to platform for top-notch home improvement advice and solutions. With a foundation rooted in hands-on construction expertise and a commitment to transparency, Loftera connects you with local, vetted professionals, ensuring quality and reliability for every project. Explore our carefully curated articles, benefit from expert insights, and discover a seamless way to transform your living spaces. Whether you’re contemplating a renovation or seeking the best tradesperson in your vicinity, Loftera stands as your reliable guide in the realm of home improvements.

Joe Bruckland

Joe Bruckland

Construction Expert and founder of Loftera

Having immersed myself in the construction and home improvement world for over two decades, I’ve developed a deep-seated passion and expertise in the intricacies of the industry. My journey, beginning on construction sites and evolving to helm significant home renovation projects, has provided me with a hands-on perspective and a wealth of knowledge that I bring to Loftera. Holding certifications from premier industry bodies, I’ve been a go-to consultant for leading construction magazines, participated in industry forums, and collaborated with renowned tradesmen and architects across the UK. My mission is simple: to demystify the complexities of home improvement, ensuring homeowners are empowered with information that is both current and reliable. Through Loftera, I aim to provide insights that are a blend of field experience and data-driven research, cementing my commitment to be an authoritative voice in the home improvement landscape.

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