Acrylic Render vs Cement Render: Which to Choose?

Rendering involves the application of a layer of cement or acrylic paint to a surface, usually an exterior wall.

Rendering makes the wall more durable, stronger, water repellent and fire-resistant. It can also be used to change its appearance, including texture and colour.

Acrylic and cement render are the two most common types of render available in Australia and are used on homes across the country.

Trying to decide between the two?

Read on as we cover all you need to know.

What is Acrylic Render?

Acrylic render is a type of coating that helps in creating a smooth finish on the walls on the exterior of a building. The term is used to refer to all sorts of rendering with acrylic in the mixture.

Acrylic itself is a clear plastic material with great strength and stiffness.

The word acrylic refers to a family of petroleum-based plastics made from the derivatives of natural gas. You may also hear it be called polyacrylate.

Also known as acrylic stucco or acrylic texture coating, acrylic render can be used as an alternative to traditional cement render. It can be applied as a base coat or topcoat over concrete, foam, or a variety of other surfaces.

It can be used to cover over bad quality bricks, or to provide a decorative finish on new buildings.

What is Cement Render?

Cement render is a mixture of sand, cement, lime (optional), and water that has been applied to brick, concrete, soft stone or even mud brick.

Cement render has a very long history. It is thought to have first been used by the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids. The Egyptians used gypsum as a base for the render, which was simply made from raw gypsum mixed with water.

A Cement render can be made to suit different design requirements by adding different colors or textures to the base material, and is usually one of the last steps in the construction phase after building materials have been put in place.

Cement rendering is used mostly on the outside of buildings with flat surfaces. It is applied in two or three coats; the final coat can be smooth, textured, or patterned. The topcoat may also be coloured with pigment.

Rendering is a common way to finish a wall that has been built from raw materials like bricks or stones. Cement rendering is a popular way of finishing building exteriors in Australia as well as some parts of Europe and Asia.

Cement render can also be used to repair existing render that has been damaged or has cracked over time.

Appearance

Acrylic provides a larger range of texture options, which allows the walls look smoother than stucco or cement.

It also can have a gloss finish, which makes the walls look wetter, which can be desirable in some instances. This makes acrylic render ideal for residential and commercial facades in residential and commercial buildings.

Acrylic Render is available in more colours than Cement Render, allowing you to find a colour that suits your house.

Application

Acrylic Render does come with a couple of downsides relating to application.

The process of application requires more care as it is less forgiving.

Acrylic Render can take up to two days to fully dry, while cement render can take up to a month to be ready for painting.

Cement render is fairly easy to apply and you should have no trouble finding workers to do the job.

However, keep in mind that cement render needs to be mixed on the building site, which can lead to issues with mixing ratios.

Strength and Durability

Acrylic Render has been used for quite some time now and it is known for being very durable, but also for having a high level of flexibility.

This makes it perfect for dealing with different weather conditions and temperature changes so you can get virtually no cracks after the application.

The fact that it is resistant to water means that it will not weaken or deteriorate over time.

Traditional cement rendering is also long-lasting and durable, withstanding extreme weather conditions without compromising its appearance. Its durability makes it a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties.

However, while still very popular and widely used, cement render doesn’t have any additives such as polymers or acrylics and therefore isn’t as strong or flexible as the other two main types of renders (Acrylic Render and Polymer Modified Render).

Flexibility

Acrylic Render is more flexible than Cement Render. This means Acrylic will be less likely to crack over time.

Cost

Cost is likely to be the determining factor when choosing between these two types of renders.

Cement render is a cost-effective way to improve the appearance of your building exterior. It can be applied over existing paint or rendered surfaces, so replacing old plaster on your home won’t break the bank.

Acrylic Render is the more premium option, offering superior durability and options for look and feel, but it comes with a much higher price tag.

Polymer Modified Render

This particular type of rendering is more commonly referred to as “poly” and it involves adding a polymer additive to the cement which helps in improving its strength and making it more flexible than other types of cement renders.

This makes polymer cement render ideal for older buildings, as well as those with uneven surfaces or jobs where you’ll want to create sharp edges or corners as part of your design.

Many people confuse acrylic render with polymer-modified render, which can contain anything from liquid rubber to latex or even vinyl.

However, they are not the same thing as true acrylic renders which contain ingredients like copolymer emulsions and methyl methacrylate monomers.