What is wet dash?
Often used in the more exposed locations in the north of the UK, wet dash is a mix of several components: three parts sand, one part cement and one part small – usually a sharp granite – gravel. This is all mixed manually and applied to the wall in a thick layer. Once dry, the layer is painted, to create a coloured finish. Although very strong, dash render is brittle and not particularly resistant to cracking.
What is silicone render?
Silicone render is often referred to as a thin-coat render. Thin coat renders have two distinct layers: a base coat, usually reinforced with a fibreglass mesh, and a thin top coat which has the colour pre-mixed into it. The whole system is usually only a few millimetres thick, but the thinness and reinforcement make for a very strong, crack resistant, and flexible render.
Why use large-grained silicone render instead of wet dash?
- Silicone render is durable. One of the main reasons for dashing is its robust and durable finish. Silicone render is a highly flexible and durable product that is very resistant to cracking and weathering.
- You won’t notice the difference in appearance. Silicone render has that same rugged finish that is distinctive with wet dash. The good news is that there is a whole range of silicone render. You can opt for a rough finish to emulate the dash, or go for an ultra smooth 1mm finish which has just a slight texture to it. With dash you just have that one option of a rough finish.
- You can colour your finish. Silicone render comes pre-coloured in a huge array of different colours, so you can pick any sort of colour finish you want! There’s no need to paint the dash after application, silicone render is pre-coloured and the same colour all the way through the top coat, so even if you scratch the surface it won’t show like dash.
- Silicone render is easier to mix. Wet dash will require premixing several different ingredients to get the right recipe for the render. Get any of these ingredients in the wrong ratio and you may have issues with the finish. Silicone render comes pre-mixed so you don’t have to do any preparatory work, just apply straight onto the basecoat.
- Silcone render is easier to apply. Silicone render is a one application, hand-applied product. You can render a whole house in just a few hours onto a pre-prepared surface.
Silicone as an alternative to roughcast and dry dash
We think silicone also makes for a great alternative to other traditional renders. Thin coat render like silicone is much more flexible than these old-fashioned renders. This makes it more versatile, as well as being more resilient. Once you start using thin-coat silicone render, you really won’t want to go back.
For the customer, it is always annoying to have those random stones dropping off the wall 5 years down the line. This is almost unavoidable with dry dash, but with silicone render the pebbles are deeply embedded in the mix, and there is no danger of any loose stones.
Silicone render is breathable too. Where your old style mix of sand and cement blocks up the wall, this render allows moisture to move through the wall. Another great reason to use silicone!
Will silicone last as long as dash?
EWI Pro silicone render has an expected lifespan of more than 30 years. This is more than any guarantee you will get on a dash render system. In our opinion there is no reason why a silicone render can’t last as long, if not longer, than a dash render.
Will silicone cost more than dash?
This will depend somewhat on the type of dash system you are using. Thin coat renders are usually a bit more expensive, but you will use less of them because of the thinner layer required. You might be surprised at just how cheaply you can get a thin coat system.