How to tell if render is lime or cement?

How to tell if render is lime or cement
How to tell if render is lime or cement

How to tell if render is lime or cement?

When it comes to external renders on a building, there is a very big difference between lime and cement, but the question is, how can you tell?

For us, here at Leyden we can spot the difference a mile off, well that’s a slight exaggeration, but we can do it from 50ft at least. The starting point should be the building itself, because heritage or period properties that are rendered ‘would’, or at least ‘should’ be finished in lime, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case these days, because cement is a cheaper alternative.

When a period building is rendered properly in lime it works in harmony with the building itself. It’s authentic, it matches the original material and above all else, it works exactly as it was designed to when it was first rendered years ago.

When a property is rendered in cement, that external ‘shell’ is suddenly more prone to cracking, it’s then susceptible to water ingress, can lead to damp and ultimately can damage the property. This is the reason why conservation officers and planners often insist on a lime render on historical and listed buildings.

OK, so we’re lime experts here at Leyden and we understand that not everyone has the same level of expertise that we do. So, if you don’t have that knowledge how can you tell if render is lime or cement? Well, the answer to that is simple … you can’t, not really.

To the untrained eye, lime render and cement render pretty much look and feel the same. But don’t be fooled into thinking that they perform in the same way, because they simply don’t. Heritage and period property need to be preserved and looked after for the future and to do that, you need lime renders with their breathable qualities that protect and enhance the building.

But here’s a word of warning when it comes to lime renders. There is a very big difference between lime specialists that use the correct materials and authentic methods and builders that simply drop in a handful of lime is a way that the guy Tik Tok drops salt on an overpriced steak. If you’re going to work with lime, do it properly like we do at Leyden, that way, it won’t let you down.

At Leyden, it’s our aim to bring period property back to life by using true craftsmanship, not just on renders, but on hand-crafted pointing, lime plasters and decorative features. Our company has knowledge, an appreciation of the fabric of older buildings and a detailed understanding of the techniques and materials required to complete any job in an honest, respectful and friendly way.

So, if you’d like to know more about lime render finishes to your external walls, then get in contact with us at Leyden on, we are after-all, serious about craftsmanship.

Matt & Hannah

Back to top :