Monthly Archives: July 2018

What are Brick Slips?

Brick Slips Cater to Every Taste

It often comes as a surprise to customers that our render finishes aren’t the only finish that we offer here at EWI store. We offer brick slips in a wide range of different colours, including:

  • Bavarian Castle
  • Charcoal
  • Cedar Hill
  • Siberian White
  • Wentworth Mixture
  • Westminster
  • Yellow Stock

With external wall insulation, you cannot use actual bricks due to the fact that the system wouldn’t withstand the weight. Brick slips are therefore fantastic if you need to recreate the original look of your property. This could be the case for many people who are installing EWI somewhere where it is required that you maintain the character of the property or even if you would just rather have a brick finish rather than a render finish.

The great thing about them is that they can really smarten up the look of the property, especially if the original brickwork is looking a bit tired and worn – the brick slips offer a total face lift, and with the added benefits of EWI thrown in it’s a bit of a no brainer.

Brick slips are fantastic because they are so realistic looking, but they are also completely flexible, weatherproof and UV resistant (so the colour won’t fade over time!). The EWI acrylic brick slips are almost completely mineral based, made from a mixture of assorted quartz sands and a binding agent.

Rather than being made of the traditional mortar, our brick slips offer vapour permeability, making them perfect for use as part of an EWI system. They are also impact resistant and are easily washable, so very easy to maintain.

How are Brick Slips Installed?

Our brick slips are really simple to install. We offer our special adhesive which comes in five different colours and is designed specifically for use with the brick slips to create a long lasting, reliable bond between the brick slips and the substrate.

When installing brick slips on top of an external wall insulation system, you would first install the basecoat and mesh on top of the insulation boards. The brick slips are then applied on top of this; you must use a notched trowel to apply the special brick slip adhesive to an area of the substrate (approximately 1m2). You then apply the brick slips to the adhesive, forming a standard brick pattern by staggering the bricks and leaving a space of around 10mm between each brick vertically and horizontally, which will give a really realistic effect. You can very easily bend the brick slips around corners because of their flexibility, or you can cut them to the desired shape.

Brick Slips can be used Internally  

We recently had a really enthusiastic customer who wanted to purchase brick slips to go around the chimney breast inside her living room. It’s great to see creative home design, and because of the fact that we offer brick slips in both white and black you could really easily achieve a chic and modern look inside your property.

We think that installing our brick slips is super easy and can definitely be done internally as a DIY job for your chimney breast, your kitchen splash back or even as a statement wall. They would also look great in apartment block entryways.

Where can I buy Brick Slips?

You can buy flexible and durable brick slips via EWI Store! We offer a wide range of finishes, including brick slip corners.

If you have any further questions regarding our brick slip finishes, comment down below or contact our sales team!

 

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External Insulation for Passive Houses?

Passive Houses and external wall insulation are two hot topics within the energy efficiency and insulation industries. Passive House is a construction concept that originally began in Germany; initially coined ‘passivhaus,’ it is generally known as an energy efficient, environmentally friendly house that practically requires no heating. The building is constructed in such a way that it is tightly sealed in a thermal envelope which allows very little heat to escape, so that essentially a room can be warmed simply by light from the sun, body heat or the heat from small electrical appliances. 

There are three things that a house needs to achieve before it can be considered a Passive House:

  • A Passive House needs to have primary energy demands (such as warm water, heating, house appliances) lower than 120 kWh/m2a
  • A Passive House needs to have heating demands lower than 15 kWh per square meter annually.
  • A Passive House must pass a pressure test and the pressure must be limited to 50 Pascals with the pressure differential not exceeding 0.6 times a room’s volume per hour.

A Passive House has a high level of insulation. That includes the doors, windows (triple glazed), walls, floors and roof. However, as we know, houses need proper ventilation – therefore Passive Houses also require a mechanical ventilation system.

Excellent indoor air quality is a characteristic that Passive Houses possess, and this is achieved through the mechanical ventilator exchanging the air from inside with the air from outside. These are great for being energy efficient, because during the process of heat exchange the ventilators can transfer the fresh air into the room at the same time as heating up/cooling down the fresh air. This means that Passive Houses are able to exist without the frequent or constant use of conventional heating systems, many only have one radiator in the bathroom for drying off towels.

External Wall Insulation in Passive Houses

So, as previously mentioned, Passive Houses require an outstanding amount of insulation; typically a Passive House wall will have a U-value of 0.15m/m2k. Luckily, external wall insulation would do the job perfectly if you get it at the right thickness. EPS, Mineral Wool and Wood Fibre have low enough U-values to be able to obtain the required level of insulation for a passive house.

However, the insulation needs to be totally sealed against thermal bridging– which means absolutely no gaps. This is because gaps in the insulation break the thermal envelope and, especially in highly insulated houses, reduce the effectiveness of the insulation. Thermal Bridging can cause damp and condensation – which can be far more detrimental to a passive house than a regular house.

Which EWI System is Best for a Passive House?

To achieve Passive House U-values on a 215mm solid brick wall, 270mm of Mineral Wool would be required. Mineral Wool is highly breathable so it’s great for a Passive House construction where ventilation and air quality are key in order to prevent damp. Due to the fact that Mineral Wool is made of a renewable material (volcanic rock), it’s also in keeping with the ethos of the Passive House. Rockwool is made by spinning volcanic rock in a furnace at a high temperature to create a cotton candy-like texture, and then it’s compressed into dense, flat insulation boards. Rock is not a very good heat conductor, and the fibres from the spun rock provide air pockets, which is what makes it a great insulation material.

In keeping with the Passive House rules, the EWI-225 premium adhesive, designed for use in Rockwool systems, is also ideal because it is breathable, strong and waterproof.

To finish off the system, for a Passive House you will want to use a Silicone Render. Again, this works really well in conjunction with the Rockwool system because of its breathability. Silicone Render is hydrophobic (water repelling) so moisture will essentially bounce off its surface, safeguarding the system against damp.

Wood Fibre Insulation for Passive Houses

Our most environmentally friendly insulation material is our Wood Fibre insulation, which we source from Pavatex. To achieve Passive House U-values with Wood Fibre on a 215mm solid brick wall, you would need 240mm of insulation. Wood Fibre is a highly versatile insulation material, offering excellent thermal performance. Our Wood Fibre insulation is completely recyclable and holds the prestigious title of being NaturePlus certified. The fact that this insulation is so highly renewable and environmentally friendly means that really it’s ideal for Passive Houses where environmental consciousness is at the forefront of the building design. Passive Houses also require a high level of breathability, and Wood Fibre is the most recommended insulation material to achieve this.

Building a Passive House is a highly technical procedure, and external wall insulation could definitely play a part in helping to mimic the Passive House standards. Our sales team are experts on all of our products and will be able to give you any technical advice about their technical specifications and usage. Feel free to contact us for any questions regarding our materials or get yourself a free materials quote using our calculator!

 

The Best Masonry Paint? Silicone Paint

We often receive enquiries about our Silicone Paint from customers who are looking for high quality masonry paints, or who are interested in re-rendering their properties. The main questions that they ask tend to be about what the difference is between Silicone Paint and Silicone Render; and what is Silicone Paint for? Well, we hope to answer all of your questions in this blog post!

Silicone Paint is a breathable, hydrophobic topcoat finish which is great for applying over the top of an existing render as you would a normal masonry paint. It’s resistant to water, environmental pollutants and organic growth, so it would be perfect if you live in a busy, built up city or if you live in a humid, rainy environment where your render is susceptible to organic overgrowth.  

What is the difference between Silicone Paint and Silicone Render?

It speaks for itself really that Silicone Paint is a masonry paint topcoat, whilst the Silicone Render is a render finish. The only similarities between them are the fact that they both contain Silicone, which provides numerous benefits – but we’ll come to that later!

Our thin coat renders come in different grain sizes ranging from 1mm to 3mm; in contrast, our Silicone Paint does not come in different grain sizes, it’s completely smooth so can be applied on top of the existing render without disrupting the texture.

Silicone Paint is designed to be used as either a masonry paint topcoat to seal in the render underneath (e.g. for use with our Mineral Render), or it can be used as a means of refreshing your render finish if it needs a bit of a spruce further down the line.

Silicone Render is hydrophobic, which means that it repels dirt and organic growth. However, after many years even a render with these capabilities can look tired. This is where Silicone Paint comes in really handy as part of your render aftercare because it is also hydrophobic – so it not only refreshes the render but adds another protective layer to top up its lifespan.

Why use a Silicone Masonry Paint?

Silicone Paint provides a super breathable finish, so as part of a render or EWI system it works particularly well. As we know, ingress of water and moisture is detrimental to rendered properties and to external wall insulation. For EWI, if water enters the system it can reduce its thermal capabilities and the water can damage the system during the freezing and thawing process. Ingress of water within a render-only system is particularly bad,  allowing the water to cause damage to the render. It can seep into the walls of the property and cause damp patches on the internal walls, especially with solid wall properties.

The Silicone Paint acts as a protective barrier against this problem. Its breathability allows water and moisture to escape through the surface of the paint and it prevents moisture from passing through, because the silicone within the paint repels water vapour. Because of its vapour permeability, Silicone Paint is also frostproof – frost will not cause damage by settling on its surface or within the actual masonry paint itself.

We always recommend to our customers that our Mineral Render should be sealed in with a high performance masonry paint such as Silicone Paint. Mineral Render is our fastest-drying render which is perfect for cold climates, however its ingredients means that if it’s exposed to the elements for too long it can be susceptible to lime bloom. This is why it’s necessary to apply Silicone Paint over the top of it, to prevent water from passing through to the render underneath and causing the formation of lime bloom.

Silicone Paint can be Matched to the Coloured Render Underneath!

If you’ve used one of our coloured renders, then you can very easily buy a Silicone Paint in exactly the same colour to match it to the existing render. We offer a same-day colour mixing service using our render colour machine which can tint your Silicone Paint into thousands of different colours, so even if your render does not come from EWI Pro we will be able to match up the paint for you!

Silicone Paint is Great for Interiors and Exteriors!

We’ve previously talked a lot about render and how Silicone Paint can be used as a masonry paint in addition to your render finish as a protective topcoat, however many people aren’t aware that Silicone Paint can be used for interiors as well as exteriors!

We’ve heard of people using Silicone Paint in their bathrooms, because it’s a really waterproof paint and is perfect for the humid environment of a bathroom. We’ve also heard of people who have previously suffered with problems of damp in their home, and have used Silicone Paint as a future deterrent because of its breathability. One of our members of staff has also used silicone paint on his garden wall to prevent organic growth. We think all of the above uses are great ways to utilise Silicone Paint!

Get In Touch to Buy Silicone Paint!

We’re always happy to answer any further questions about our products, so give us a call if you are interested in using Silicone Paint for your home. We can work out exactly how much you’ll need depending on the square meterage of your property.

 

We upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for more product information and technical advice!

EWI Funding in Scotland (HEEPS)

Homeowners in Scotland can now claim financial funding for EWI! Here at EWI Store, we’re all about helping homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their property through external wall insulation. Unfortunately for many people the upfront cost of installation just isn’t viable, so living with higher energy bills becomes something they have no choice but to put up with.

Fortunately for those living in Scotland, the HEEPS scheme may be able to help! The Scottish government are keen to help homeowners save money on their energy bills by providing funding for a wide range of energy efficiency measures. We’re happy to see that government initiatives are recognising the need for reduced energy bills for homeowners, especially when considering the current UK energy crisis and the resulting high energy tariff rates.

What is the HEEPS Funding Scheme for External Wall Insulation?

The Home Energy Efficiency Programmes Scotland (HEEPS) loan is open to applications and aims to help owners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes with funding for a number of energy efficiency measures. These include energy efficiency improvements such as insulation, glazing and boilers; home renewables systems such as solar panels; and energy storage systems such as storage heaters.

The great thing is that the funding covers external wall insulation and is not limited to cavity wall, so if you live in a solid wall property, or cavity wall insulation is simply not available for you, then this grant is open to you!

How Does the EWI in Scotland Funding Work?

The HEEPS scheme is divided into loans and cashback. Under the HEEPS loan scheme, you can borrow up to £10,000 interest-free in order to carry out external wall insulation on your property. Cashback funding is only available if you apply for and go on to claim a loan; cashback funding therefore cannot be applied for separately. For external wall insulation you can claim £2,500 in cashback on a £10,000 loan.

The repayments for a £10,000 loan are completely interest-free, and are to be paid back over the course of up to 12 years. When you consider the amount of money you’ll be saving after external wall insulation, the money you would have paid towards energy bills will essentially go towards the repayments of this loan.  

How do I get the HEEPS loan?

In order to get the HEEPS loan, you need to contact Home Energy Scotland personally, who will give you advice on the best energy saving solution for your property. You will not be able to get your installer to apply on your behalf, as the scheme will need to speak to you personally before sending out the application form directly to you. This is because the scheme is managed by the Energy Saving Trust, who are experts in energy saving advice for homeowners and therefore will ensure that the funding is going towards the right measures for the right people.

People who are eligible for the EWI funding in Scotland include homeowners and registered private sector landlords, however this is restricted to ‘natural persons,’ which effectively means landlords that are not registered as a company. As well as this, in some circumstances landlords can apply for funding on up to 3 properties that are currently occupied by one or more tenants. More information on the scheme can be found via the Energy Saving Trust!

Energy Saving and External Wall Insulation

External wall insulation can benefit homeowners in many ways. Not only does EWI reduce energy bills, it will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. EWI can also reduce problems with damp, improve the outward facade of the property and increase the lifespan of the property’s external walls by protecting against weathering.

EWI is an energy saving measure that is open not only to owners of solid wall properties but also those who own timber frame houses, steel frame houses and more. We advocate the installation of EWI because it is so versatile and genuinely worthwhile.

Looking for installers of EWI? Fill out the form below and we will be in touch!

Approved Installers Request Form

Your Name*

Your Email*

Your Number*

Your Postcode

Additional Information

I would like to receive news and offers from EWI Store

 

Stay tuned for more content! We upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday, all about our products and systems, with technical advice and answering customer’s FAQ’s!