Has anyone attempted DIY rendering? I'm not talking simple bagging where you sponge the mortar over the bricks, I mean that smooth flat finish typical of new townhouses.

I am planning a small scale garage renovation. It is currently made of bessa blocks. I am laying a course of house bricks above the lintel and securing a pitched frame on top of this (made of timber with fibro cladding) to serve as a faux peaked roof (currently it is flat).

Therefore I will be attempting to render over bessa bricks, house bricks, and fibrous cement sheeting.

Has anyone tried the ready mixed acrylic renders for such jobs? Is it suitable in my case?

What about the cheaper option of a simple sand/cement mix?
Do I need any additives to help it stick to either the bricks or fibro?

What about the joint between fibro and brick? Is there any way to prevent cracking here in the future, or can I just render flush to the fibro and paint the fibro (or is that going to look like i did just that?)

Hope someone can help, thanks.

hi Dan im a bricklayer and was building piers the other day and a renderer was rendering the piers i had finished the day earlier.he swears by the DULUX products associated with rendering.first coat 60% addhesive 20%sand 20%cement.the next coat was the wetter 100% addhesive i believe for the smooth finish.also i would definitely think the cement sheet join will crack.silicon should do the trick there. rendering over cement sheet i wouldnt think will be a problem with the addhesive etc .good luck let us know how you go. Darren.
Thanks Darren,
still laying the bricks above the lintel (takes a while for us inexperienced), just wanted to make sure this was all gonna work before we finish the job.

Any idea what the actual name of the adhesive is? Is this a render mix or just like an additive to help the sand and cement stick?

Someone else told me Melcann as a mix too, heard of this?

Definately going to render it first and paint it later, don't like the idea of mixing oxides in and having dubious colour spread.

I'm not sure I've read your post accurately, but I've got a couple of health & safety and building regulations comments to make.

Hope I don't sound like a wet blanket, but here goes:

Regarding the bricks above the lintel - make sure these bricks are properly secured and tied to some sort of framing structure. You may not stay at the property forever, and the next people may install (eg) a basketball ring. A young man died about 18 months ago in Victoria by slam dunking into a ring fixed to a single skin brick facade, which came down on top of him.

If you know a tradesman, its worth getting an expert opinion on the safety of what you are doing. If this means paying a building surveyor, do it. Single skin brick walls / facades / parapet walls are notoriously unstable and unsafe.

Regarding roofing over the existing roof. The Victorian Building Act has recently changed to make it illegal for anyone other than a licensed roofing plumber to install roofing. This includes impervious shade sails and clear plastic roofing. Even an 'ordinary' plumber, or a licensed builder, is now not allowed to install roofing.

It's worth checking with the building department of your local council. And yes, you can do this anonymously if you prefer.

Sorry if I'm raining on your parade. Good on you for giving it a go. Just make sure that all your hard work is safe and legal and covered by your household insurance. You'll be glad you did!


Dear guys,

Always good to get dictionary definitions on non-commonly used words:

// noun a horizontal supporting member above an opening such as a window or a door. [Middle English, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin: boundary]


hi Dan.yes the product is definately for rendering.ask in the shop.also just a question,how many bricks above the lintel?single brick or double?hope you are also using wall ties within the mortar to fix it to some sort of framing for a safe job.
i agree with Kristine totally re an inspection although not necessarily a tradesman,some have no idea.a qualified inspection would be the way to go.

good luck

Hi Dan,

I havn't done any rendering myself but saw an interesting demonstration last week at the Knox Bunnings DIY ladies night.

The guy there was using a bag of render mix to which you just add water. You need to paint over it later. He was using it on bricks and cement sheeting in the domonstration. To give a smooth look over bricks he recommended filling in the gaps between the bricks first, then doing another layer a week later.

It looked quite easy (although of course he was an expert). His comment was that anyone who could put 'icing on a cake' could use this render. I'm sure it would be cheaper to make your own render, but for a small job like a garage it might not be worth the bother (ie. you would need a cement mixer etc).

Sorry can't remember the name of the ready mix render but assume you could find out by calling Bunnings.

Good luck. Let us know how it turned out.

Thanks for all the advice so far.

I guess a building inspector is probably a good way to go, I didn't even consider it for such a small cosmetic job.

Basically I am laying only 2 rows of bricks above the lintel. These will be tied in to the walls going back. 3 bolts are placed in the mortar spanning these 2 rows of bricks and the timber frame will be bolted on to these. The timber frame begins below the wall height, so this can be tied in also. I am extending some steel strips back through the roof and attaching to the rafters for additional support.
The whole weight thing was very much a consideration in this design. I was considering just using a timber frame, but was concerned that some weight was needed to support the walls - as the garage door is an old canopy style with the heavy steel weights, which could theoretically pull the walls together if there was no weight above the lintel.
In fact the garage didn't look too bad to start with, it was that the bricks above the lintel were very unsafe and were leaning and cracked. They weren't tied in to the walls or roof at all.
So I figured if I have to replace them, may as well go for something stronger and better looking.

If this project gets finished in the next couple of weeks (provided the inspector doesn't make me pull it down) i'll post some before, during and after pics.


Kristine thanks for the advice.
Just to clarify - I'm not altering the roofing in any way. Just a simple peak at the front to pretend the whole garage is pitched.
I am no expert in this area but cracking can occur due to the different thermal characteristics of the different materials. When one material absorbs more heat than another, it may expand at a different rate causing cracks. Try using a mesh to shift the stress.
Look under plastering supplies in the Yellow Pages.

The Dulux products I believe you are referring to go by the name of Acratex.

Wattyl also has a range of products (and probably a bigger range) that go by the name granosite.

Personally I would stay away from attempting to do this yourself. The web sites above both suggest the job is often beyond the capabilities of the average DIY'er, even if they are handy. Trowelling to a flat finish is quite difficult from what I can tell, these guys make it *look* easy.
Hi Dan.

I'm a carpenter and appreciate what you are trying to achieve
My advice in relation to the intersection of the different materials is to create a control joint

You actually excenuate the line where the two materials meet and show a definite line

You often see this above brickwork over windows where all the bricks are cut to form a straight line and filled with a mastic as close to the Mortar colour

Back to the join you can purchase special purpose light guage expanded metal strips

Imigine a v jointed strip with about 50mm of mesh on either side which you fix through. The V section is capable of linear movement and controls the expansion and contraction

You can see this product at any good plaster supplies

Look forward to the pics

Good Luck
Thanks Frank,
I've looked at that sort of thing and that is probably the way to go if I'm joining sheeting and bricks.
However halfway through the project I've changed my mind (hate it when that happens) and am just going to brick along the existing slope of the roof and forget about the frame and cement sheeting. This way it won't be as high, not as unstable, and it will work out easier and cheaper.
I'll just put some flashing and a barge board on top after rendering and it should look pretty good.

I ended up getting the DIY render from Bunnings (Aust Builder's i think) as someone else mentioned here. Not quite ready for it yet but will be soon.
I'll keep posted how I get on. Thanks for the help so far..