Taking pebble dashing off the front of the house

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grapefruit gin
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Taking pebble dashing off the front of the house

Postby grapefruit gin » Sat Jul 08, 2023 10:49 am

Has anyone taken pebble dashing off their house? We have it on the front of ours and I hate it and a friend has suggested that we take it off and get the whole thing rendered and painted. Not sure why anyone would have done it in the first place and cover up the lovely Victorian brickwork but they did! If anyone has done it and could tell me if it was worth it and if they don't mind sharing how much it cost I would be very grateful. 
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Jayne Sheek
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Re: Taking pebble dashing off the front of the house

Postby Jayne Sheek » Mon Jul 10, 2023 10:54 am

For information I posted something on Nextdoor 2/3 years ago thinking I would get recommendations which I did but I'm putting below a conversation that took place between me and someone who had experience. At present I haven't had it done. My decorator- who's fabulous btw - his father is a builder recently took a bit of the pebbledash off at the bottom and it looked absolutely great but I'm told it comes off much easier at the bottom due to water infiltration - the rest is definitely not that easy and bricks are likely to get damaged

From my convo:-
Dynamic Restoration started removing the pebbledash on our property last year and then half way through realised it was too big a job and said he couldn't do it. He walked off the job leaving me with half the pebbledash removed. Took me 3 months to find another company that would take the job on and the bricks were so badly damaged it had to be re-rendered.

Also make sure you ask for lime mortar for any pointing (which is porous) as these old Victorian/Edwardian houses are meant to breath and not meant to have sand and cement pointing between the bricks.

Having lived through the whole nightmare of removing pebbledash here are some things I learnt:

- These houses were pebbledashed/rendered for a reason. Most likely the underlying bricks had weathered and needed protecting.

- These Victorian/Edwardian bricks are made with a hard "crust" and very soft inside, exactly like a loaf of bread. Removing pebbledash risks ripping the hard crust off the brick and exposing the soft inside.

- Pebbledash removal companies will grind or sandblast your bricks smooth to get them looking level and nice. This removes the hard outer crust and opens the brick to being weathered easily.

- Brick repair is a horrendous idea. They use a mix of cement and PVA glue with red brick dye. If you walk around the grid and look at other brickwork you will see repaired bricks "bubbling". This is old brick repairs peeling away. ALWAYS insist on brick replacement!

- if you have a lot of bricks damaged (which is likely due to the damage caused to the bricks by removing the pebbledash) and you opt for brick repair, typically you have to dye all the bricks on the front of the house to get a uniform look. This (in my opinion) ruins the look of the different coloured red bricks on these old homes.

- As mentioned previously these Victorian/Edwardian houses were designed to "breathe" and originally used lime mortar pointing. Never use sand and cement on these houses. Unfortunately your existing pebbledash is likely to be sand/cement and preventing your bricks from breathing, causing them to become 'rotten' and much softer and easily damaged when the pebbledash is removed.

- If you have it re-rendered try and opt for a lime mortar render or at a minimum a sand/cement/lime mortar mix.

Good luck with whichever path you decide to go down!(edited)
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Re: Taking pebble dashing off the front of the house

Postby gemima » Mon Jul 10, 2023 12:29 pm

Sounds like good advice from above.  I had a spectacular job done.  I was so unimpressed with my internal builders I went to Wandsworth Borough Council for my external builders and building restoration names for this kind of work.  I used Doug MacMahon: (the only builder I have ever used that kept on top of me rather than the other way round):


I went to see three different properties he had worked on before taking him on.  He cost an arm and a leg but I still get compliments from passers by when I open my front door.

Read his website about pebble dash removal.  

A line from his website
To suit all budgets, we offer three different types of lime mortar pointing, all offering the same high standards of protection and weatherproofing.

DM me if you want the name of my street or to see the work.
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Re: Taking pebble dashing off the front of the house

Postby JamTart » Mon Jul 10, 2023 4:56 pm

We used Doug Mahon several years ago after he was featured in the Evening Standard. The work still looks fabulous, people regularly comment on the beautiful brickwork.
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Re: Taking pebble dashing off the front of the house

Postby SW18_Dad » Mon Jul 17, 2023 8:51 am

Generally sound advice.

It can be easier to go over the pebbledash with flat render.

However, pebbledash is usually made with hard cement and it doesn’t breathe.

This can be an opportunity for external insulation.

My Victorian house is stucco and I’ve left it alone.
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