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What you need to know about ashlar detailing

What is ashlar detailing?

Ashlar has two different meanings: there is ‘ashlar stonework’ and ‘ashlar plasterwork’.  The more expensive ashlar stonework can be imitated using render; this is ashlar plasterwork. The modern way to achieve a neat banding detail in plaster or render is using ashlar bead, more about this below.

Ashlar stonework

Ashlar stonework became popular in the Georgian period, using finely dressed, square-cut stone detail. This is seen on Bath facades, where the stone cuts form banding details over the wall surface. Ashlar stonework was incredibly expensive, yet in demand, so builders developed a technique of cutting lines into exterior render so it looked like the ashlar stonework. They copied the quoin and banding of stonework, resulting in a similar look at a lower cost. Ashlar renderwork was common practice until the late 1800s.

In the 1800s there were two ways of making the ashlar detailing in render:

  • Cutting grooves with a tool into unset render or marking with a roller
  • Pressing battens into the first render coat, rendering with a second coat and removing battens when dry.

Ashlar detailing today

Ashlar banding is still used on modern buildings, either to look like Georgian details, or to add sharp details bands to a façade. To choose the right render system for ashlar detailing, use the free Render System tool here and choose ashlar in the second step.

You can still tool cut ashlar detail into modern renders, which have the benefits of increased durability and ease of maintenance due to additives in the render that often include silicone.

Tool cut ashlar details can be made into a through-coloured monocouche render (such as ProRend Colour). Alternatively a thicker basecoat can be tooled which then has a thin coat render applied as a finishing coat. This render can either be painted or left natural.

Ashlar bead

The modern alternative to tool cuts is ashlar bead – a shaped plastic strip that is embedded in the render. ProBead ashlar bead makes neat straight banding with a 25mm detail. Using ashlar bead greatly reduces labour time, so is a cost effective alternative to manual detailing.

Ashlar bead is cut and fixed to the substrate, giving an accurate detailed finish to the rendered façade. Ashlar bead suits modern design details or a modern interpretation of Georgian detailing as they can be precisely placed.

ProBead ashlar detail beads are are easy to cut and fit, available in 18 colours, and have fast delivery to site. The ashlar bead colour can match or contrast with the render colour to give many finishing options for the design of the façade. Ashlar bead is easy to paint giving an option to change or refresh at a later date.

Order ProBead ashlar here, and take a look at the rest of the ProBead range.

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