Derbyshire Aggregates
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Dashing Information – History

Pebbledash is the modern version of a rendering process that dates from Roman times: a mixture of quicklime and sand, thrown at external walls to give a stippled effect.

In Britain, it is thought to have originated in the 16th century in East Anglia, where there had been a recent revival of brickmaking, but none except the grandest could afford a whole wall full of the smart new bricks. Then pebbledash was called “roughcast” – a mix of lime, sand and stone – and it was slopped over mostly jumbled stone exteriors like plaster, to fill the gaps.

Three hundred years later, it was this “roughcast” that caught the eye of the Arts and Crafts movement, instigated by William Morris. In particular, it was the renowned architect C F A Voysey who pioneered the use of pebbledash in the late 19th and early 20th century. He deliberately designed buildings with cornices and window surrounds that would be highlighted when the ”dash” was laid. And his houses often used pebbledash as a design feature. The architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner says that Voysey sowed the seeds of the modernist movement because his houses were white, clean-lined and pebbledashed.

Voysey’s use of the material was taken up after the war when domestic design took a leap forward. The nation wanted something new and modern for its houses. Pebbledash fitted that bill. Plus, it was cheap and durable (a coating of pebbledash is expected to last at least 70 years).

Nowadays experts are quick to draw a distinction between that suburban post-war pebbledash – a mixture of sand, cement and aggregate – and roughcast rendering in which slightly larger stones are applied to the walls and then painted. But even they agree that in certain places any old pebbledash is the perfect covering.

Many a grand Scottish castle is pebble dashed, as are many other buildings exposed to harsh conditions in remote, weather-beaten places pebbledash is stylish and sensible.

In the past this form of finish was used to produce uniformed finishes on buildings were the basic wall construction and finish was inadequate. The use of render and dashing was originally use to protect the sub straight that on its own would not be able to with stand the weather it was likely to be subjected to. In common with all render finishes pebble dashing will not add any additional strength to a wall. The aggregate used on the render tended to be local stone that gave the area a uniformed appearance given that most houses would use the same quarry. Over the years the development of aggregate products made especially for dashing gave home owners and builders greater choice of colour and texture. Today we are able to produce colours that are blended to create almost any desire colour scheme and with the increased availability of coloured renders virtually any colour choice can be catered for. Aggregates are now sourced from around the world a far cry from the original local quarry choice.



Applying the pebbledash

Pebbledashing helps keep heat in the home

The Benefits include:
  • Improved water shedding properties
  • Gives good impact resistance
  • Provides a low maintenance decorative finish
  • Protects the substrate
  • Gives architects and designers a wide choice of colour and texture
  • Very quick, easy and cost effective way to renovate the exterior of any house or building.
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