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Lime Render vs Silicone Render

Protecting the exterior walls of a building is essential for its longevity and appearance. Among the numerous options available, lime render and silicone render are two popular choices. Each material has unique properties that make it suitable for specific situations. This article provides a detailed comparison of lime and silicone render, highlighting their characteristics, advantages, and applications.

Lime Render – Traditional and Time-Tested

Lime render, a blend of sand, water, and lime, has been used for centuries to preserve and protect buildings. Despite its long history, lime render remains a popular choice for many builders and homeowners due to its numerous benefits:

  1. Breathability – A significant advantage of lime render is its breathability, which allows moisture to escape from the building, mitigating dampness and mould growth. This feature is especially beneficial for older properties with solid walls that necessitate a breathable finish to maintain structural integrity.
  2. Flexibility – Lime render is more flexible than many other render types, reducing the likelihood of cracking as the building moves or settles over time. This characteristic is particularly valuable for historic structures, which may have experienced movement throughout their existence.
  3. Environmental Impact – Lime render has a lower carbon footprint than silicone render because it consists of natural materials and absorbs CO2 during the curing process. As a result, lime render is an environmentally friendly option for those seeking to minimise their ecological impact.
  4. Aesthetic Appeal – Lime render provides a traditional, textured finish that many find visually appealing. Additionally, natural pigments can be used to colour lime render, offering a range of aesthetic possibilities.

Silicone Render – Modern and Advanced

Silicone render, a contemporary material, combines cement, sand, and silicone-based polymers. It offers several benefits that make it an attractive choice for modern properties:

  1. Water Repellency – Silicone render is highly water-resistant, making it ideal for buildings located in damp or rainy climates. The hydrophobic properties of silicone prevent water absorption, ensuring that walls remain dry and free from water damage.
  2. Self-Cleaning – One of the main advantages of silicone render is its self-cleaning properties. The smooth finish repels dirt and grime, allowing the building to maintain a clean appearance with minimal maintenance.
  3. Durability – Silicone render is highly resistant to weathering, UV radiation, and pollution. This resistance results in a longer-lasting option requiring less frequent maintenance and replacement than lime render.
  4. Versatility – Silicone render can be applied to various substrates, including brick, blockwork, and timber frames. This versatility makes it suitable for an array of old and new building types.

Choosing the right render for your property

The decision between lime render and silicone render depends on the specific requirements and preferences of the property owner. Lime render’s breathability, flexibility, and eco-friendliness make it an excellent choice for older, traditional properties. Conversely, silicone render’s water repellency, self-cleaning properties, and durability make it a superior option for modern, low-maintenance buildings.

Building Age and Construction Type

Your property’s age and construction type significantly influence the choice between lime and silicone render. Lime render is ideal for older, historic buildings with solid walls or structures made from traditional materials like stone or cob. Its breathability and flexibility help maintain the integrity of these buildings while allowing moisture to escape and minimising the risk of dampness and mould growth.


On the other hand, silicone render is suitable for modern buildings, especially those with cavity walls or timber frames. Its water-repellency, self-cleaning properties, and durability make it a low-maintenance option that performs well in various weather conditions.

Climate and Exposure

The climate and exposure of your property also play a crucial role in determining the appropriate render. If your property is located in an area with high rainfall or humidity levels, silicone render may be the better choice due to its water-repellent properties. This hydrophobic material prevents water absorption, ensuring that your walls remain dry and free from water damage.

In contrast, lime render is more suitable for properties in moderate climates. Its breathability allows moisture to escape, preventing dampness and mould growth. However, it is less water-resistant compared to silicone render, making it less effective in areas with heavy rainfall.

Aesthetics and Finish

The desired aesthetic appearance and finish of your property can also influence your choice of render. Lime render provides a traditional, textured finish that many find visually appealing, especially on older or historic buildings. Additionally, natural pigments can be used to colour lime render, offering a wide range of aesthetic possibilities.

Silicone render, on the other hand, provides a smooth, modern finish that is highly resistant to dirt and grime. Its self-cleaning properties ensure that your building maintains a clean appearance with minimal maintenance. Silicone render is also available in various colours, allowing you to achieve the desired look for your property. At EWI Store, we offer a wide range of samples to allow you to choose the perfect colour and texture for your façade.

Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of the render material may be a crucial factor for property owners who prioritise sustainability. Lime render is considered more eco-friendly due to its lower carbon footprint, natural materials, and CO2 absorption during the curing process.

In contrast, silicone render consists of cement, sand, and silicone-based polymers, making it less environmentally friendly than lime render. However, the durability and low maintenance requirements could offset its higher initial environmental impact over time.

Environmental impact relies on the amount of embodied and operational carbon a material has—the graphic below details what these terms mean.

Budget and Maintenance

Finally, consider your budget and willingness to invest in ongoing maintenance when choosing between lime and silicone render. Lime render is generally more affordable upfront but may require more frequent maintenance and repairs due to its susceptibility to cracking and weathering.

Although typically more expensive initially, silicone render is a long-lasting option that requires less maintenance thanks to its durability and self-cleaning properties. This reduced need for maintenance could save you money and effort in the long run.

Our Heritage Range headlined by our Lime Render is officially here! If you have other questions about lime render or silicone render, leave us a comment.


4 thoughts on “Lime Render vs Silicone Render

  1. We have a 1927 property themat is rendered at the top and has older style soft brick on the bottom we are a sea facing property and we are going to have the bottom half ie face brick work re pointed in lime pointing we are considering silicone coat rendering the top half once the sand cement has been removed is this advisable or should be slime render as well kind regards Clinton

    1. Hi Clinton, you’ll have to treat the split in render type with some care if you do choose to use silicone for the top half. It will obviously provide exceptional weather proofing and it’s breathable so there’s no breathability issues. If you need more specific help, I can pass your details onto our Technical Team?

    1. Hi Mary, it depends on what silicone render and grain size you choose, but at 1.5mm of EWI-075 will cost £6.78/m2 whereas NHL 3.5 Lime Render will be £10.86/m2 per cm of thickness. There’s many considerations depending on your substrate and what you’re trying to achieve.

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