Pebbledash covers much of the UK,s early to mid-20th century housing stock and was primarily invented to give a cheap, fairly weatherproof, low maintenance wall coating over poor quality brickwork. Pebbledash, the traditional British (and Irish) version anyway, should last between 20 and 40 years, so much of the older style homes that have this wall covering are now looking at the prospect of having it replaced or removed and replaced with something different, but what exactly? The wall covering does not last forever and at some point the homeowner will need to make some decision as to what to do with his or her pebble-dashed house, so making the right choice is paramount. This is why we are constantly getting calls and emails from people who own this type of house and are looking for some sort of solution, which typically amounts to repair, replace or repair and cover with a spray applied exterior textured coating.
Old and newly painted pebbledash side by side Original pebbledash, first seen on domestic houses in any number was during the housing boom after World War 1, and as the homes needed to build quickly, with materials in short supply, they used pebbles, dredged up from the sea bed, which were then thrown (literally) by hand, onto wet mortar. The bonus was it covered up poor quality bricks underneath and didn’t need to be painted afterwards. That is fine, if you like the look of this ugly stuff, but some people didn’t and ended up painting over the pebbledash, which itself causes another problem as once you paint it, you need to do it again every few years. Pebbledash over time, loses the pebbles (just look at the base of the wall after heavy rain) and when that happens, it exposes the unpainted mortar underneath. This will absorb the rain, and the water will stay in the wall until a cold snap, by which time the water inside the wall will have frozen.
When it (water) freezes, it expands, and that is how cracks in walls occur. Once this process starts, it gets worse over the years, causing more cracks and also hollow patches of render where the wall covering is just hanging on the wall rather than being affixed to it. This is when the house starts to see damp patches inside. Repair of these areas is problematic as any builder will tell you, if you rip off and replace a bad patch of pebbledash, or you have an alteration to your house, the 2 areas (old and new) will NEVER match up, this image below clearly illustrates this problem.