What is bagging

Bagging a house is an alternative to rendering that leaves brickwork with a textured layer of imperfection and bumps that, when completed, can either be left as they are or painted over. Unlike rendering, it delivers a rustic feel and doesn’t attempt to conceal the brickwork that it covers. All of the contours and bumps of the mortar and brick joints remain visible.

house bagging

Bagging a wall takes its name from the hessian bags that are traditionally used to complete the job. While many choose bagging a house for aesthetic reasons, there are also practical reasons for bagging houses. The practice actually helps protect your brickwork.

Other attractions of bagging a house include the fact that it can be done by competent DIYers. Unlike rendering, the inevitable imperfections are all part of its charm. On top of that, bagging a brick wall will cost you less than rendering.


Materials needed for brick house bagging

While as mentioned, bagging a wall traditionally involves a hessian bag or cloth, the mortar used in the process can just as easily be applied with a soft brush, a broom, a trowel, or a sponge.

In terms of materials, bagging a house requires cement, sand, and a plasticiser (e.g., hydrated lime). The purpose of the lime is to make the mortar easier to work with and increase its ability to handle heat and moisture. The sand used for bagging a brick wall should be coarser than the sand used for rendering.


How to bag a brick house - a guide to bagging houses

Step 1: First clean the wall thoroughly and wait for any patching to dry.

Step 2: Add water to the sand and cement to create the render. Note that the amount of water to add depends on whether you wish to do a wet bagging or a dry bagging. If you choose to go with a dry bagging, you can start the job before the render is completely dry, while for a wet bagging you need to wait for the mortar to dry completely.

Step 3: Using your hessian bag or alternative tool, apply the bagging render with either a circular motion or straight strokes. The application method depends on the effect you are seeking.


What types of finishes are possible?

The finish is determined by the application technique used as well as whether you choose a wet bagging or a dry bagging. The difference between wet and dry simply depends on the amount of water added to the mix.

In other words, achieving your desired finish is a straight-forward task. Any enthusiastic homeowner who is willing to get his/her hands dirty and put in the hard work should get the desired results.

Those seeking a washed look should go with a wet bagging, while for those who want a heavier textured finish should choose a dry bagging applied with hessian. Alternatively, the use of a trowel will result in a smoother look and using a sponge provides a finish in between those two extremes.

Beyond that, those wanting to be more creative can consider things like adding colour or choosing a Mediterranean look. To do the latter, all that is required is to add pigment to the mortar and then to employ swirling strokes during the application stage.

Other options include the use of both horizontal and vertical for a box like appearance and the use acrylic semi-gloss or low-sheen paints for more of a traditional look and feel. Regardless of which way you go, you can be sure you will end up with a nice looking interior or exterior wall at less expense than if you had chosen the rendering option.


Bagging vs rendering – which is the best

As to the obvious question of which is the better option between bagging a house or rendering a house, as is the case in many such questions, there is no definitive answer. It really does come down to individual choice. While bagging will cost you less and is easy enough to take on as a DIY job, some simply prefer the cleaner, more uniform appearance that a professional rendering job delivers.


Images of bagging

dry bagging hessian application

1. Dry bagging with hessian application

In this example, the combination of a dry bagging with application by a hessian bag delivers a heavy textured appearance which complements the prominent brickwork perfectly.

wet bagging straight vertical application

2. Wet bagging completed with straight vertical application technique

Unlike example number one, in this case we have a wet bagging over a less strongly defined brick wall. The direction of application results in a nice and uniform – though rustic – appearance.

wet bagging external wall

3. Wet bagging on external wall 

Here, the external bagged brick wall contrasts effectively with the exposed brick of the industrial style kitchen. While the white wall ties in nicely with the neighbouring property, in this case, rendering would have been too sharp a contrast when paired with the industrial kitchen.

dry bagging external wall

4. Dry bagging on an external wall

This is a classic dry bagging render matched with a great colour choice. Though all the imperfections of the brickwork remain visible and don’t affect the window sill, the bagging render is free of the washed out look associated with wet bagging.

wet bagging mediterranean style

5. Wet bagging in a Mediterranean style

The swirling application method matched with a wet bagging result in an unmistakable Mediterranean look and feel.

dry bagging dark external wall

6. Dry bagging on a dark external wall

Dry bagging is the obvious choice for this dark external wall. An absolute winner.