Monthly Archives: February 2018

What is Acrylic Render?

About Acrylic render

Here at EWI Store we have a range of different renders, all of which have different characteristics and achieve different finishes for the external walls of your home. However, when faced with so many options and render types, and with a lack of information out there to guide you – which render do you choose? We want our customers to always be happy with our products and the results they produce, so allow us to shed some light on what each render is so that you can hopefully choose the render that is right for you.

What is acrylic render? We often get asked this, because there seems to be a fair amount of confusion as to what the difference is between acrylic and silicone renders or acrylic and monocouche scratch render. So, we’re going to break it down into what acrylic render is, what its properties are and how it compares to the other renders that we offer.

Acrylic render is a wet, thin-coat render which comes pre-mixed (ready to use) in a wide variety of colours, used as a decorative finish to an EWI system. Our EWI-010 Acrylic Render comes in four different grain sizes: 1.0mm, 1.5mm, 2.0mm and 3.0mm. What this means is that when you look at the wall from a distance, the larger the grain size the more apparent the texture will be, it’s all down to personal preference but essentially if you want a smoother surface you’d go for a 1.0mm grain size.

Acrylic render is a popular choice because it’s long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing and forms a strong protective barrier over your EWI system or simply as part of a render-only system.

Acrylic render is great for colour

If you wish to paint your house a bright colour and you are looking for a render that can be mixed into any colour, then acrylic render is great because much like acrylic paint it bonds to colour pigment well, so the intensity of the colour will last a much longer time than other coloured renders. This means that you won’t need to re-paint it every 10 years or so, which can be consuming on your time and money, and considering that our acrylic render is one of our cheapest, it’s a pretty cost-efficient way to render your home.

Acrylic render is also a great choice in terms of being crack resistant, so it will ensure longevity in this respect. Our acrylic render is also the best value in comparison to other renders, because it is long-lasting and only needs to be applied in one coat, so you will save money on labour costs.

Acrylic render and Silicone render

However, there are some minor downsides to the acrylic render when you compare it to the silicone render. Acrylic render takes slightly longer to dry, so cannot be installed in wet conditions – but this is common for renders anyway. It’s also a little bit less resistant to extreme weather conditions and due to the fact that it doesn’t contain silicone it doesn’t have the same hydrophobic properties as silicone render.

Silicone render also has self-cleaning properties, which means it is less prone to organic growth. So in terms of comparing it to acrylic render, you’ll probably need to clean acrylic more regularly than Silicone.  Acrylic render does offer breathability, however it isn’t quite at the level that silicone render can provide.

Acrylic render and Monocouche Scratch render

Whilst silicone render could be considered the slightly higher performing sibling to acrylic, monocouche is very different. The monocouche render is a thick-coat, traditional-style render. Instead of coming readily prepared, it needs mixing with water in a mechanical mixer and then it is applied to the wall in two layers with a trowel. Once both the layers have set slightly, it is scratched back to create the desired texture. The method of application for monocouche renders is slightly more challenging and could be difficult if you are an inexperienced do-it-yourself-er.

The good thing about the monocouche render is that once you have gone through the application process, it is pretty much maintenance free and, as with all our renders, is very long lasting. In terms of comparing it to the acrylic render, due to the fact that acrylic is a thin-coat render whereas monocouche is a thick-coat render, this means that acrylic render will offer you a level of breathability and flexibility that monocouche naturally on its own will not (unless you use fibreglass mesh with the monocouche).

So, there you have it, acrylic render is a great thin-coat render and can offer you the good performance and longevity that you require! If you are interested in any of our renders and you are still feeling unsure about which direction to go in, then do give us a call as our sales team are all experts and would be happy to help.

Infrared heaters and external wall insulation

Our friends over at the Eco Store are very enthusiastic about their infrared heating panels. So, we thought we would collaborate with them on this blog post to talk a little bit about why infrared heating panels and EWI are a bit of a match made in heaven.

What is infrared heating?

Well, infrared heating panels are a great energy-saving way to heat your home. Infrared produces a dry, sun-like heat. It’s considered to be a potentially environmentally friendly way to heat a property due to the fact that it does not directly produce any emissions – although they do run off of electricity, so their eco credentials depend on the source of your power.

How it works in scientific terms is that the infrared panel produces electromagnetic waves (radiation) which, when they hit an object, cause surface molecules to gain energy. When these molecules gain energy, they vibrate in place which produces heat.

The good thing about infrared is that it doesn’t heat up the air. This basically means that when you open the front door, the heat doesn’t whoosh out of the house, so you don’t need to use up even more electricity to constantly be reheating the house over and over again. This is because Infrared heaters heat up people, things and objects, and this is exactly where external wall insulation comes in really handy…

How do Infrared and EWI work together?

When your infrared panel is switched on, the heat that you will feel from it is from the infrared radiation hitting your skin. This is the primary method of how infrared produces heat. The secondary heating method of infrared is when the heat from your panel penetrates the fabric of the house, heating up the surface of the wall. The infrared heater will warm up the wall that it is attached to, and subsequently the heat from the warm wall will then gradually radiate back into the room.

Now, say you have mounted your panel onto a wall which is externally insulated with EWI. As before, the infrared panel heats up your wall. Heat from the warm wall is redirected into the room, however, with the external wall insulation it will far more effectively store the infrared heat. This way, once your panel is switched off, the EWI will gradually be redirecting the stored heat energy back into the room for much longer, thereby maintaining the room’s temperature so you won’t need the panel on for as long.

The good thing about infrared with external wall insulation is that you don’t have to worry about problems with damp. Because infrared is heating up the surface of objects it will produce a drying effect – particularly if it’s mounted onto the wall, so any problems with damp that you may have previously had will be resolved, and your EWI on that wall will be even more effective due to the support the infrared provides.

What if Infrared and external wall insulation makes my house too hot?

The great thing about infrared is that you can wire it to your thermostat. Once you switch on your infrared it gets going emitting heat and raising the temperature of the room. Then, as soon as the room is heated to the temperature on the thermostat, then the thermostat will automatically switch the panel off. So you don’t even have to lift a finger or keep having to remember to switch it off! 

The added benefit of EWI is that once your room is up to temperature and the infrared panel has been switched off by the thermostat, the externally insulated wall will maintain the heat in the room for much longer. Infrared panels do run on electricity, which is more expensive to run than gas. However, with EWI you will have them running for a lot less longer and a lot less often – plus, with the thermostat you won’t accidentally forget to switch it off and then end up running up your electricity bills. The actual panel also has a much longer life as a product when compared to other electric heaters so investing in the panels at the start will save you money in the long run.

If you are interested in infrared, then you can check them out on the Eco Store or give them a call – their sales team are very knowledgeable about how infrared can work for different homes. As for external wall insulation, give us a call here at EWI store and we will be able to point you in the direction of one of our approved installers!

Can I install EWI onto my flat?

There seems to be a bit of a gap in information out there about whether it is possible to install external wall insulation (EWI) onto a flat, so we wanted to answer this question for you and provide as much information as possible for any flat-owners who are considering EWI!

In most cases the answer is yes, you can install EWI onto a flat. However, usually the insulated render system is sealed at the top where it meets the soffit of the roof. So, on a groundfloor flat the insulation must be sealed at the top by other methods. This is because if it isn’t sealed, the exposed edges of the insulation can allow for water to seep behind the back of the insulation boards which can in turn effect the integrity of the EWI system, and water can then also enter the property through the walls causing problems with damp and mould.

We would recommend that EWI is most ideal for people who own a ground floor flat. This way, the EWI is at least sealed at the base so to prevent too much heat loss and water ingress, and the EWI will most likely be less noticeable.

So how do you install external wall insulation onto a flat?

Installing external wall insulation onto a flat is a slightly different process than with a normal house. This is because if the top of the insulation is exposed, i.e. does not meet the soffit of the roof, then certain actions will have to be taken to ensure that the EWI on your flat is water-tight.

There are a few options to consider in order to achieve a water-tight finish:

With the upper ledge of your insulated render system exposed, you will always need to use a verge trim to protect the EWI from water exposure. One option is using a basic verge trim which screws into the wall above the EWI. However, this is not entirely water tight because the top of the verge trim is not sealed, so you will need to use a sealant along the upper edge of the external insulation to prevent water running down its back.

The second option is using a Grind-in verge trim. As the name suggests, this is a verge trim with the length of its upper edge inserted into the wall surface. However, you have to first damage the surface of the existing wall to insert the verge trim, and the result is that it’s still not completely watertight. This method is therefore still a bit risky.

We suggest that the best option is to use lead flashing with a normal verge trim. This doubles up the waterproofing so that the lead flashing protects the verge trim, and the verge trim protects the top of the EWI.

As for the base of the external solid wall insulation, if it’s exposed (because your flat is not on the ground floor), then we recommend the use of white PVC so that it will look nicer for your neighbours below to look up at.

Pro’s of installing external wall insulation onto your flat

EWI is a great way to save energy on your heating bills. Most flats have electric heating, which is far more expensive than gas heating. This means that heat loss through the external walls of a flat is much more problematic for you as the homeowner, because you then need to spend even more money on re-heating the flat. EWI can dramatically reduce the amount of heat being transferred through the walls of your flat and save you a lot of money on energy bills every year.

As well as this, people who live in flats are often in a more built up area which suggests more noise from road traffic. For people living on ground-floor flats this is potentially more of an issue and can be exceedingly unpleasant, so installing insulated render can greatly improve the amount of noise that enters your home.

People living in flats are also the most likely candidates to be struggling for space. EWI takes up absolutely none of the internal floor space, which means that your property will not lose any value due to a decrease in the size of its rooms and you will still have plenty of moving around space!

Cons of installing EWI onto your flat

If you install external wall insulation onto your flat, depending upon the thickness of the insulation boards, it could mean that the external walls of your flat will physically stand out from the rest of the building and the necessary verge trim may not be a particularly attractive feature to look at. Also, depending upon the external walls of the rest of your building, you might need to spend more to ensure that your render matches the overall look of the building. There are a number of ways you can do this, for example we offer a variety of very realistic looking brick slips which could work really well at blending the EWI on your flat in.

Most flats are lease-hold only, so you would likely need to ask for permission to install EWI, which is potentially a long and difficult process. It can be an expensive job for a small property and is not guaranteed to be as energy efficient as if you were to insulate an entire house, for example. Also, you will have increased scaffolding costs if your flat is on an upper level.

People who live flats live in very close quarters with their neighbours, so any work being done to your flat is likely to be more disruptive. Upset neighbours may therefore complain about any disruption during installation time, and may not be all too pleased with the finished look.

The best thing to do when considering an EWI installation is to seek professional advice. We recommend that you hire a surveyor to discuss the feasibility of installing EWI onto your flat. Our staff are all extremely knowledgeable about EWI, and are always happy to help in any way. For any enquiries, please do not hesitate to call us here at EWI Store.