Acrylic vs. Cement Render: Which is right for me?

Renders are important to the elevation of buildings, whether they be internal or external. They prepare the wall substrate to be adequately built out for a flat face to be painted, textured or sometimes even clad. So it’s important to choose the right render. TUFFTEX has a range of render products for you to choose from, including acrylic and cement-based. Here’s our guide to choosing the right render for your application.

What is Cement Render?

Looking for an attractive and cost effective exterior finish? Then cement-based rendering is your best choice. Also known as dry bag render, cement render is the most commonly used form of render. It’s made up of three main components: lime, sand and cement.

  1. The lime – Helps the render to not crack when it dries and hardens up.
  2. The sand – Generally speaking, coarser sand is added to the concrete render when applying the undercoats and finer sand is used when applying the top coats.
  3. The cement – The colour of the render itself depends on the cement used in the mix (i.e. the lighter the cement used, the lighter the render will be).
Advantages of Cement Render
  • Cost effective: Its 3 simple ingredients make it very inexpensive and an excellent choice for those on a tight budget. Therefore, you can apply it to your entire property relatively cheaply.
  • Easy to use: It’s can be applied to any masonry surface, however it’s most commonly applied to bricks. You can create a smooth or textured finish depending on the techniques you use to apply it (i.e. bagging or trowelling). It can also be easily painted if you haven’t opted for to colour the cement itself and can be done at any stage after the render has dried (at least 28 days).
Disadvantages of Cement Render
  • More prone to cracking: It isn’t waterproof, which means it will crack over time. It may also show efflorescences (staining from the salt coming out of the bricks).
  • Requires professional help: It pays to have a professional prepare the walls properly as the success of the final render will depend almost solely on how well that walls are prepared.

What is Acrylic Render?

Looking for an attractive and durable exterior finish? Then the innovation that is acrylic rendering is your best choice. As the name implies, acrylic render is any type of render that uses acrylic, which is a type of pastlic, in the mix. A wet render, it’s growing in popularity making it a preferred choice.

Advantages of Acrylic Render
  • Excellent adhesion to all surfaces: Unlike traditional render which won’t stick, it can be applied to a range of surfaces such as painted masonry, uneven concrete brick, fibre cement and plasterboard.
  • Extremely flexible and strong: It ensures elasticity, which enables absorption, shrinkage and resists surface cracking. This is especially helpful if you live in an area where the climate can vary drastically.
  • Easy to apply: Can be rolled, trowelled or even sprayed onto a surface with no mixing required.
  • Attractive and can be applied in a range of ways: Can create different finishes, e.g. can opt for a finish that’s smooth just like concrete or attractively textured.
  • Incredibly fast drying: It takes just a few days to cure instead of a month like traditional render, saving you time. There’s also no need to add a second coat of paint to it as it can be tinted to the colour you’re going to paint your wall.
  • Better for your home: Allows the material underneath to “breathe”, allowing for a drier and healthier home. However, at the same time it’s also water resistant and will not succumb to bacteria and fungi.
Disadvantages of Acrylic Render
  • The price tag: The cost of acrylic render is usually greater than that of cement render for several reasons:
    • 1. Acyclic is available in pre-mixed buckets, which usually have more elements than the cement render equivalent.
    • 2. Acrylic is mostly used as a top coat, which means it requires an additional base coat to be applied first.


an example of acrylic wall rendering

Acrylic wall rendering


Not sure what you need? See our full product range or contact TUFFTEX today and our friendly team will point you in the right direction.