Monthly Archives: August 2018

render grain size

The Ultimate Guide to Render Grain Sizes

The render grain size that you choose can have an effect on several factors; our EWI Pro thin coat renders come in a wide range of grain sizes, from 1mm to 3mm. The reason that our renders have grains of different sizes within them is so that you can achieve a textured effect based on your own preference – whether it’s only very slightly textured (1mm) or extra rough (3mm), we cater for all tastes! If you’re looking for a way to create a unique, aesthetically pleasing exterior facade for your property, then check out our blog post on render design features for some inspiration.

Many customers frequently ask us about how choosing a different grain size may affect installation and/or cost. Generally, we advise that the larger the grain size you go for, the more render you will need to buy because the coverage rates decrease with the larger grain sizes. For a comprehensive guide on how much a coloured render system costs, check out our blog ‘coloured render cost per m2’!

Grain size can also affect how easily the render can be applied. Based on our technical experience, we have listed our grain sizes with all the pros and cons associated, and hopefully this will elucidate the situation further!

1mm Render Grain Size

Our 1mm grain size is our smallest render grain size. It is therefore applied at a 1mm thickness which is the thinnest that our renders can be applied at (the thickness that you apply the render should match the render grain size). This also means that in terms of cost per square metre, the 1mm grain size will cost the least as, compared to the larger grain sizes, a bucket of 1mm will go the furthest.

In terms of aesthetic appearance, 1mm render grain size is the smoothest finish that we offer. Depending upon our personal preference, the 1mm will give you more of a painted look, which can look really nice on certain properties, or if you’re looking to mimic your previous render.

The only downside to the 1mm is that because it’s applied so thinly, any textural issues or trowel lines within the basecoat will show through the render. It can also be trickier to install because of this and because of the fact that it has to go on in such a thin layer. If you’re after 1mm, then make sure you hire a professional with a high standard of work to carry out the job for you.

1.5mm Render Grain Size

1.5mm is our most popular grain size and is the choice of most installers. This is because it’s easy to install, it goes far in terms of coverage so it’s very cost effective, and because it’s more textured due to its slightly larger grain size, it also hides imperfections in the basecoat. Homeowners like this grain size because it doesn’t have a painted finish but it’s not overly textured – you can only really see it when you look closely!

2mm Render Grain Size

Noticeably, the larger the grain size the more tricky the render is to apply as the larger grain sizes can cause dragging and can be more challenging to spread over the substrate. Also, larger grain size means higher expense. Again, this is because you have to apply it in a thicker layer and therefore you get less out of a bucket. The true benefit of a 2mm grain size is that it hides imperfections within the basecoat and the substrate. Depending upon personal preference and whether you like a more bumpy, textured render, the 2mm can be the perfect choice, providing the benefit of ensuring that your render surface looks even.

3mm Render Grain Size

Buying a 3mm grain size render means it will cost the most overall. Again, this is because the larger the grain size the less the bucket will cover. Choosing a 3mm render grain size may cost the most, but it will give you the most textured finish – not quite pebbledash but very noticeably textured even from a distance. Because it has such a textured finish, this means that it’s considered to be one of the hardest to install due to the fact that the size of the grains creates a dragging effect which can be harder to work with.

Overview…

The grain size that customers go for is always varied and really just depends upon personal preference. Hopefully this blog post made the difference in the grain sizes a little more clear will help the decision making process! Worth mentioning is the fact that sometimes grain size may affect the way the render colour appears. Larger grain sizes can cause a shadowing effect which sometimes makes the render appear darker than it actually is. We recommend you order a coloured render tester pot to help with choosing colours!

Stay tuned for more content! We upload to our blog every Tuesday and Thursday; whether it’s answering frequently asked customer questions or giving all the details about each of our products – we aim to cover it all. Comment down below if you have any further questions or give us a call to speak to our technical advice team who are always happy to help.

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Stages of an EWI Installation

Lots of customers hear about our external wall insulation systems by witnessing their neighbours installations, but often the stages and process of the installation are not very clear. Here at EWI Store, we set out to make sure that our customers are fully informed about our systems, including how they are installed and why we install them in certain ways. So keep reading to learn about the EWI installation process!

Wall Preparation

Before any works can begin, the external walls will need to be prepared. The preparation required tends to vary depending upon the condition of the building. In most cases, a simple rub-down will do, although sometimes we may need to remove your existing wall coating. If you are installing EWI onto a smooth surface, then you will need to use our EWI-310 Universal Primer (read about it here in our primer guide) to allow for the adhesive to stick to the walls. If the wall isn’t completely straight, then the EWI-260 Levelling Mortar must be used to dub the wall. Fungicidal wash should be used to remove any organic growth.

Addition of Starter Tracks to the wall

The correct starter tracks should be applied to the walls above the DPC. The starter tracks not only allow for the easy installation of insulation to the walls but also protects the bottom surface of the insulation against weather, damp and other damage. Clip on profile should be attached to aluminium starter tracks to create a neat finish between the starter track and the insulation.

Applying insulation to the walls

At EWI Store our basecoat can be used as an adhesive. The basecoat should be applied to the insulation using our modified dot and dab method (three dots in the middle and all around the perimeter). A notched trowel should be used to evenly spread the basecoat on the back of the insulation board. The basecoat should be about 4-5cm thick. When placed on the wall, mechanical fixings should be used to add some additional security to the insulation (6 fixings per square metre of insulation). Allow 2-3 days for the basecoat to set before installing the mechanical fixings.

Addition of Beading and Verge Trims

Before the addition of the basecoat, all beading must be applied. Beading is used to reinforce weak or impact-prone areas within the system, helping to prevent damage and reinforce the structural integrity. Each beading has its own special function and area of application:

Corner beads: Corner beads have mesh and sink into the basecoat. Corner beads reinforce the external corners of the EWI or render-only system.

Movement Beads: used inside corners in thermal insulation systems to create a permanent and weather-proof sealant of vertical movement joints.

Bellcast Beads: designed to provide a clean, natural stop to the render just above the damp proof course. The bellcast bead also drives water away from the wall.

Render Movement Beads: Should be used where there is a large expanse of render area. The render movement bead is used vertically and is designed to prevent cracking within the render through thermal expansion and compression.

Basecoat and mesh layer

After 2-3 days, another layer of the basecoat should be applied with a notched trowel over the top of the insulation boards at a thickness of 5-6mm. Fibreglass mesh is then embedded into the basecoat in vertical strips using the flat edge of a notched trowel. Each vertical strip of fibreglass mesh should overlap its neighbouring vertical strip by approximately 10-15cm. We use fibreglass mesh because it increases the tensile strength of the system and goes an extra step further in preventing cracks and impact damage.  

Render Primer

Render primer tends to be an optional step, however for best practice and for increased durability and adhesion you should apply a render primer to the basecoat. The render primer that you use will depend upon the render itself; if you’re using our Silicone Silicate render, then the SiSi Render Primer is the most appropriate. For our Acrylic render, the Mineral & Acrylic Primer is the most ideal, and so on. This should be painted on and then left to dry for 12 hours – check out our blog all about our primer range for a complete guide.

Render

Once your final basecoat layer is dry, your render of choice is then installed over the top. When we talk about thin coat renders, we are referring to our Silicone, Silicone Silicate, Acrylic or Mineral renders. All of which can be mixed into any shade using our specialist colour tinting equipment.

There you have it! This is a very basic installation guide which should be used purely as an overview of an EWI install for informative purposes. Every installation is different, so if you have any further questions about installing EWI on your property then call our technical team who are always happy to answer questions!

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What makes a good external wall insulation installer?

Because external wall insulation is a fairly new concept for many people, customers are often worried about choosing the right installers and achieving a high quality of workmanship, because EWI isn’t a one size fits all situation – it needs to be tailored to the property.

Generally, we advise that customers go through us to find installers. This is because all of the installers that we recommend are trained by us in how to use our products, correctly following our system specification. By choosing to use an EWI Pro approved installer, you can guarantee a high quality finish.

However, it’s always good to pay an interest and be conscious of how things should be done. So we’ve put together this brief guide on what you should expect from a good external wall insulation installer.

A good EWI installer will carry out a property assessment

Before beginning any installation, a professional external wall insulation installer will make a detailed assessment of various important factors that need to be considered before going ahead with the installation.

Generally, a good installer will make an assessment of:

  • The building conditions and elements, ensuring walls, floors, roofs, windows etc are free from damp and mould growth with problems solved prior to installation.
  • The original building materials to determine the appropriate EWI materials to be used (e.g. breathable and non breathable materials).
  • Location and climatic conditions, i.e. exposure to wind driven rain/pollution and subsequently the appropriate materials to be used.
  • Ventilation, with careful consideration of its efficiency and functionality post-installation.
  • Moisture content of substrate and subsequent appropriate choice of materials/resolution of excess moisture.
  • Condition of wall surface (installation of parge coat as necessary).

A good EWI installer will ensure a high quality of workmanship

A good EWI installer will ensure that the following is carried out and completed correctly to a high quality of standard:

  • Use of the correct primer on the substrate to limit its absorptivity and increase adhesion.
  • Fully embedded mesh.
  • Tightly fitted insulation boards, no gaps and proper following of bond pattern.
  • Proper installation of fixings – appropriate method of drilling and sinking.
  • Air vents and drains left clear.
  • Sills and verge trim appropriately sealed.
  • Starter track is installed straight and level.
  • Window sills are level.
  • Application of materials to clean, dry surfaces.
  • Insulation continuity between walls and loft
  • Insulated window sills.
  • Specification of brick slips or highly durable finishes for areas with high traffic.
  • Correct installation of render finish and specification of appropriate system depending upon the climate conditions and property type.
  • Correct insulation around eaves and porch roofs.
  • Fittings and fixtures should be designed to be deconstructed so as to prevent collateral damage when replacing or removing.
  • Correct use of required beading.
  • Awareness of the effect of different materials on cold bridging i.e. metal.
  • Use of EPS caps on metal mechanical fixings.

A good EWI installer will ensure proper usage of materials

During our installer training (sessions run every thursday) we introduce our products, the different EWI systems we have on offer and how to correctly and safely install them. As a result, an approved installer will be able to ensure optimal performance of our products. The following are a few ideas for how an installer should correctly use our materials:

  • Renders, insulation, and adhesives should be stored appropriately away from detrimental weather conditions such as high heat, cold temperatures and rain.
  • Insulation boards must be dry before application. Insulation boards should not be installed when wet from rain water.
  • Insulation must be in its proper condition (i.e. undamaged) upon installation. Damaged insulation can cause pockets of moisture.
  • Installer should follow manufacturers guidance for best practice. All approved installers have been trained in the correct use of our materials, and customers are at all times at the benefit of our technical expertise and advice when needed.

For any further questions, feel free to leave a comment down below or give us a call. We upload a new blog every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for more content about technical advice and product information!

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indoor air quality

indoor air quality and external wall insulation

External wall insulation helps to improve indoor air quality and contributes to healthy living. This is because EWI will prevent the progression of damp and mould within the home, and will keep the house in good structural condition, tightly sealed against external pollutants while at the same time allowing for the circulation of fresh air.

Outdoor air pollution is a well recognised issue in large cities and towns where traffic, congestion and closely built houses contribute towards an environment that is harmful to human health. We all know about how this kind of pollution affects our environment and the ozone layer; however, the subject of indoor air pollution is little discussed, and as a consequence it is often overlooked.

The average person will spend 87% of their working days indoors. When you think about the quantity of time that is, be it at work or at home, the amount of indoor air pollutants that you are subsequently exposed to is enormous. The problem is that damp, pet dander, mould spores and more can become trapped within your home and can lead to eventual health problems.

How will EWI Improve my Indoor Air Quality?

As we know, external wall insulation is effectively an airtight barrier that surrounds the property, preventing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. While EWI will keep water and moisture out of your home, it will also substantially keep out external pollutants.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, a good EWI installer will establish a good ventilation strategy so that fresh air can circulate within the house and stale or humid air can escape. Installing EWI on your property will certainly bring closer attention to your current methods of ventilation, and your installer will ensure that your property has several means of adequate ventilation. Most important in any ventilation strategy is that humid air has an easy escape route. This is extremely important for human health, and certainly goes towards the prevention of damp.

If you have any experience with damp in your home, you will know that it can build up on the walls, floors and more, creating a musty smell and often causing allergies and asthma. Damp poses an invisible threat in the form of dangerous spores that occupants repeatedly inhale, and in some extreme cases these spores can be toxic.  

Here at EWI Store, we aim to use breathable materials at every stage of an installation. This means that our systems will allow water vapour to pass through them, ensuring that the house can breathe and preventing any build up of damp behind the system.

Wood Fibre Insulation and Indoor Air Quality

Natural materials such as Mineral Wool and Wood Fibre are known for their low VOC (volatile organic compound) emission ratings. VOC emissions can cause ‘sick building syndrome,’ which is known for giving inhabitants headaches and allergies. They are emitted from many building products and can be responsible for numerous health issues.

One of the most common VOCs is formaldehyde, which has been found to be responsible for several indoor air quality and pollution-related health issues. Because of the fact that our Wood Fibre insulation is such a natural resource, its VOC levels are renowned for being extremely low. This means that with Wood Fibre insulation, the threat of VOCs passing into the building is minimal, and as a result your indoor air quality remains uncompromised.

Give us a call and talk to one of our technical specialists about indoor air quality and EWI if this is something you are interested in for your property! We upload new content every Tuesday and Thursday here on the blog, so stay tuned for more EWI-related blog posts; answering frequently asked questions and giving you all the info about our products and systems.

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re-rendering pebbledash without removing pebbledash

Re-rendering Pebbledash without removing Pebbledash

How do I get rid of pebbledash?

Re-rendering pebbledash without removing pebbledash can be difficult if the right materials aren’t accessible. Removing pebbledash is a painful process, because removing the render requires hard work with a hammer and chisel, with the added risk of damaging the original brickwork. Typically, pebbledash is made from a sand and cement render – an incredibly unforgiving material that was often applied as a means of covering up a bad build job or cheap brickwork.

With the growing popularity of coloured render, pebbledash has been taking a bit of a hit of late, with pebbledashed house prices falling to reflect a national dislike. However, as long as the pebbledash is in good condition, there’s no reason this can’t be rectified without the costly expense of removing it.

Ways to re-render pebbledash without removing pebbledash

So how do you re-render pebbledash without removing the pebbledash render? There are a couple of ways you can do this which we are going to explore…

  1. Smoothing over the pebbledash with the Lightweight Basecoat

One of the best ways of re-rendering pebbledash without removing pebbledash render is by smoothing over it with our Lightweight Basecoat. This is the ideal material to use, because it can be applied at a thickness of 20mm thick without compromising structural integrity. You wouldn’t want to put a non-breathable material on top of the pebbledash because water needs to be able to escape from the walls, otherwise you may find yourself in an unpleasant, waterlogged situation.

The first step in re-rendering your pebbledash is to ensure that any loose stones are rubbed off.

The next step is to prime the pebbledash using the 310 Universal Primer, this will limit the absorptive capacity of the pebbledash render and will ensure that any dust is settled; it also provides a good grip for the basecoat to adhere to.

Once the primer has been left to set for 12 hours, you can go ahead and start preparing the Lightweight Basecoat for application. One 25kg bag needs mixing with 5 litres of clean water, using an electric paddle mix. Once mixed, leave for 2-3 minutes before re-mixing and then apply to the substrate using a plastering trowel. We recommend embedding Fibreglass Mesh within the basecoat, overlapping each strip by 10cm to ensure crack resistance and tensile strength.

Once the initial coat of 5-20mm has set, apply a ‘tight coat’ using a plastic, metal or felted float. After this has set, we advise applying a thin coat render such as Silicone Render; this is highly breathable and is available in a wide range of colours, so will provide an aesthetically pleasing finish.

  1. Externally insulating on top of the pebbledash

Another method of re-rendering pebbledash without removing pebbledash render is by applying insulation boards to the existing pebbledash. Even 20mm of EPS insulation secured to the exterior of the property can increase its thermal efficiency and create a smooth surface for a fresh layer of render to be applied to. The method of preparation is the same; any loose pebbles should be removed and the wall should be primed with the Universal Primer.

The insulation boards should then be secured to the substrate using the 225 Premium Adhesive. This should be applied to the whole of the back of the insulation boards – we don’t recommend doing the dot and dab method for applying insulation to pebbledash. Mechanical fixings should also be used to secure the insulation boards to the pebbledash.

Once the boards are set in place, you should have essentially created a new substrate for re-rendering pebbledash without removing pebbledash. Best practice is to rasp to EPS to achieve a smooth surface and remove the oily top layer, and then you can apply your render basecoat. We recommend using the Premium Adhesive as a basecoat for extra strength, embedding fibreglass mesh within the Premium Adhesive to ensure a strong and stable surface for the render. Finally, you can prime the basecoat using the SiSi Render Primer, leaving it to dry for 12 hours before applying either the Silicone or Silicone Silicate render.

And there you have it! Two easy ways to re-render pebbledash without removing the pebbledash render.

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advantages of wood fibre insulation

The Advantages of Wood Fibre Insulation

The Advantages of Wood Fibre Insulation : it’s all in the trees…

Wood Fibre insulation is a fairly recent addition to the EWI Pro insulation catalogue, so we’re going to talk about the advantages of Wood Fibre insulation. Today’s blog is going to be looking at a few of the many reasons why you would want to insulate your home using the most natural of all insulation materials: Wood Fibre. 

Looking for a more general idea of how external wall insulation can benefit you and your home? Check out our dedicated blog here.

Wood Fibre is Eco Friendly

One of the main advantages of Wood Fibre insulation is how environmentally friendly it is. We source our Wood Fibre insulation from a company called Pavatex, who aim to ensure that their Wood Fibre production process is as eco-friendly as possible. Pavatex are sustainable and environmentally conscious at every turn, creating their Diffutherm insulation boards from waste shavings created by local sawmills that use wood from sustainable forests. Indeed, Pavatex claim not to use ‘any old wood’ for their eco friendly insulation, a statement that is further emphasised by their prestigious NaturePlus certification.

Wood Fibre offsets an impressive 1.6 tonnes of carbon for every ton of material. From the environmentally conscious timber sourcing and manufacturing process, to the actual purpose of the product (reducing energy consumption in homes), Pavatex have done everything in their power to make their Wood Fibre the most eco-friendly it can possibly be. It’s also 100% recyclable and compostable, so at the end of its long lifespan the Wood Fibre can be safely disposed of in a non-harmful way.

Wood Fibre is Breathable

Wood Fibre insulation is naturally vapour permeable. This means that water vapour can travel through the material from the inside to escape on the outside, an essential asset for most buildings in order to prevent damp and structural decay. This is an essential advantage of using Wood Fibre insulation when it comes to older homes. Popularly used with a highly breathable silicone render, or even a traditional lime render, Wood Fibre insulation systems offer a high performance solution for even the oldest of the UK housing stock.

Wood Fibre has a low thermal conductivity

Going back to basic science, wood is a poor thermal conductor and therefore has excellent insulating capabilities. In terms of U-values, a 200mm thick board of Wood Fibre attached to a 215mm thick solid brick wall can bring the U-value of the wall down to new-build standards – 0.18w/m2k.

Wood Fibre is Fire Safe

Fire safety for cladding materials is understandably a large concern for many homeowners since the Grenfell tragedy, however Wood Fibre insulation is rated a Class E combustible material. This is because rather than encouraging the flames to grow, the timber typically chars which in turn slows down the spread of fire.

Wood Fibre insulation offers a tight thermal envelope and improved indoor air quality

Another of the many advantages of Wood Fibre insulation is that because external wall insulation is secured to the exterior of a property, the thermal envelope is much more complete than with internal insulation as there are practically no gaps in the insulation. This leaves no room (literally) for thermal bridges, which means that the overall effectiveness of the insulation is much higher. What makes Wood Fibre unique is that it’s incredibly easy to install because it is tongue and grooved, meaning the boards slot together seamlessly so gaps between boards are minimised.

As well as this, because Wood Fibre insulation is such a clean material, it does not release any kind of harmful chemicals and its insulating capabilities prevents harmful emissions from entering the property through the building fabric. Indoor air quality is therefore much higher with Wood Fibre insulation.

Wood Fibre Provides Sun Protection on Lightweight Buildings

Another of the advantages of Wood Fibre insulation goes hand in hand with its abilities to prevent heat loss. Wood Fibre insulation keeps buildings significantly cooler during hot summer days where solar gain is at a maximum. This is because it has the highest thermal mass properties of all insulation materials; this means that Wood Fibre can absorb and retain heat, slowing down the rate at which it enters the interior space. This is ideal for lightweight building structures, such as timber and steel frame, where protection against solar gain is at a minimum.

Not only does this reduce energy bills by minimising the need for air conditioning during the summer months, it dramatically improves the thermal comfort of the building, improving lifestyle and wellbeing.

So there you have it! Wood Fibre is a remarkable insulation material that can offer a building many of its numerous advantages. We’ve previously written a blog all about our Wood Fibre insulation so for more information check that out, or if you’re looking to compare Wood Fibre with our other insulation materials then have a read of our blog post ‘the best type of insulation for EWI?’.

We upload new content every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for new blog posts all about EWI and render.

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dash receiver

Pebbledashing: Dash Receiver or Cement Mix?

Our Dash Receiver is a one coat solution to all of your pebbledash requirements. Pebbledash is a type of render top coat that is very roughly textured by pebbles and/or stone fragments; it’s a very common building method in the UK, dating back to the late 20th century. With pebbledash, you can still see the colour of the cement underneath the pebbles, so it often appears to be a dirty caramel colour when you look at it from a distance.

We’ve previously written a blog about what to do when you want to get rid of your pebbledash (check it out here) as admittedly it’s not all that popular in the UK these days. However, many people find that either they have no other choice but to replicate and replace it, or they actually like the way that a high quality pebbledash finish can look. For both of these cases, the EWI-235 Dash Receiver can produce great results. Looking for technical information? Have a read of the Dash Receiver Data Sheet.

Why is the EWI-235 Dash Receiver better than using ordinary cement?

The reason we would always recommend using the Dash Receiver over other cement-mix products is because it was designed and engineered to be used for the specific purpose of pebbledashing. Due to this, the Dash Receiver presents a strong and high performing solution to ensuring a pebbledash finish that will last.

Strength and High Adhesion

For example, because the Dash Receiver is meant to be used specifically to adhere to dash aggregates, it has been designed with strength and high adhesive capabilities in mind. This essentially means that rather than just sitting on the wall as a rock-solid, immovable mass, the Dash Receiver will maintain its hold on the pebbles and therefore reduce chances of the dash aggregates falling off the surface and creating an unfortunately irreparable and ugly appearance.

Weatherproof

Using bog-standard cement to create a pebbledash effect means that it is not best suited for being exposed to the elements and is therefore lacking in weatherproofing capabilities. The Dash Receiver is waterproof and frost proof – it’s meant to be slightly exposed to the elements and can withstand this, whereas normal cement mix doesn’t cope well with exposure to weathering, hence the often dilapidated appearance of older pebbledash looks.

A Range of Colours

Unlike cement-mix products, our Dash Receiver comes in a choice of colours. Because the Dash Receiver still somewhat shows underneath the pebbles, colour can make a pretty big impact on the overall appearance of the pebbledash. As a result, we offer our Dash Receiver in white, magnolia, champagne and cream, so you can also choose which kind of dash aggregates to use in order to contrast nicely against the Dash Receiver as a background.

Durable and Flexible

When a building heats up and cools down, the external walls expand and contract minimally. This is often the cause of cracks appearing within render facades, and cement-based products are especially susceptible to this because they lack the flexibility to be able to move with the building and compensate for these minute changes in structure. The Dash Receiver has been designed to be highly flexible to ensure that your pebbledash finish will resist those unsightly cracks.

The Perfect Consistency

Our Dash Receiver is the perfect consistency for pebbledashing. It isn’t too viscous or too dilute, so the dash aggregates won’t drop off the surface or sink too far within the Dash Receiver. This not only helps to secure a long lasting adhesion but also helps to create a finish that looks as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

How do you install the Dash Receiver?

 

 

Stay connected for new content – we upload new blog posts every Tuesday and Thursday all about our products, with technical advice and answering customer’s FAQ’s.

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Six Amazing Render Design Features You Need

How to make your property stand out from the crowd

When looking to re-render your property, why not go for something a little bit more exciting than just a clean white/cream canvas? While a simple look is certainly timeless, being adventurous with different design features can create an incredible finish that will stand out from the crowd.

Coloured render is exciting enough and fairly new to the market, but what if you don’t want just a simple render on your property? There are so many beautiful properties throughout the UK with fantastic design features that are easy to recreate with the right materials and a bit of creativity, so keep reading for five design inspiration ideas!

  1. Brick Slips

At EWI Store, we often talk about how you can recreate the original look of a property by using brick slips, but we’re not just talking about an all-over brick effect. With brick slips, you have the ability to be truly creative in the render design features that you produce.

Red Brick Slips can look fantastic when used in contrast with a coloured render; for example, when installed under or above windows, around doors or as a feature right the way round the lower half of a property. Brick Slip Corners can be used to create an alternating pattern on all four (or more) corners of the property, establishing a fantastic design all the while reinforcing your property’s vulnerable corners.

It’s not just red Brick Slips that have the ability to completely transform a property, however. Why not try black or white, and contrast this with your choice in coloured render. White render with black Brick Slips as a feature can truly stand out from the crowd, and white Brick Slips with a dove grey render will give a soft but modern effect.

  1.  Wood Effect Render

Wood Effect Render offers the fantastic opportunity of creating mock tudor beams (check out our tutorial on how to create Wood Effect Render!). The tudor-esque look is a traditional and attractive look, however in reality older buildings are much less energy efficient. So, by recreating a tudor look on your modern property, you can achieve an eye-catching and pleasing design all while maintaining energy efficiency.

Combine Wood Effect Render with Brick Slips and you can achieve a unique and attractive render design feature with contrasting textures.

  1. Bands

Bands are as the name suggests: thicker bands of render, usually in a contrasting colour to the main render, that are strategically placed on the exterior of a property to enhance certain features. These are typically placed above windows, doors, across elevations and to make a feature of gable roofs. Bands are simple but incredibly versatile due to the range of colour options that are available – for example, a blue property with white bands around the doors and windows would present a sophisticated facade.

  1. Ashlar Cut Render

Ashlar Cut Render is a render design feature whereby grooves are cut into the render to create various patterns and shapes, whether it’s emulating a stone shape, creating simple horizontal lines or building features around windows and doors. This process is usually carried out on Monocouche Scratch Render and can be done using a range of tools to create different effects. The key benefit of Ashlar Cut Render is that it is so versatile and can be applied to any area of the property, whether it’s as a design feature on a porch area, above windows or isolated to one storey of the property.

  1. Quoins

Quoins are made from cut render at the corners of a building. Typically found in an alternating pattern, Quoins enhance the overall facade of a property, reinforcing the edges for a render design feature that appears affluent, strong and stable.

  1. Mosaic Render

We often talk about how Mosaic Render is perfect for below the DPC because it’s so durable and splash resistant, however it’s also great as a decorative feature on other parts of a property. Mosaic render would look amazing around pillars, on window frames, garden walls, near swimming pools and as a feature for a porch area. It’s incredibly long lasting and offers a unique render design that can look fantastic as a feature to the property.

 

Stay tuned for more content! We upload blog posts every Tuesday and Thursday all about our renders and external wall insulation systems, including technical advice and answering customer’s FAQ’s.

coloured render thermalite

Applying Coloured Render to Thermalite Blocks

Coloured render is a popular choice for many homeowners, but on a Thermalite substrate finding the ideal materials to create the coloured render effect can be tricky. Renowned for being one of the most popular high performance building blocks, Thermalite offer excellent thermal performance, breathability and moisture resistance. The only thing about Thermalite blocks is that they create an extremely soft substrate and therefore can be tricky to render. Ideally, Thermalite blocks need finishing with a material that matches them in softness and flexibility in order to prevent cracking.

We have seen so many cases where an inappropriate render has been applied to a high performance block substrate, and we know that many builders experience problems when faced with high performance blockwork, as knowing the right quantities of materials can be extremely tricky and a bit of a balancing act. Luckily, here at EWI Store we have come up with the perfect solution for how to apply coloured render onto Thermalite blocks.

All About that Basecoat: Coloured Render on Thermalite Blocks

Our Lightweight Basecoat is ideal for use with Thermalite blocks because (as the name suggests) it’s incredibly lightweight and therefore works well in conjunction with the Thermalite, providing a stable base for the coloured render. Because the Lightweight Basecoat contains lime and perlite, it has the breathability and flexibility of the lime while also maintaining the strength of the perlite; it’s therefore ideal for a soft and lightweight substrate such as Thermalite, because the Lightweight Basecoat will resist the common issue of cracking and render failure.

When using the Lightweight Basecoat with Thermalite blocks, you can apply a two-coat or three-coat system.

Two-coat system:

The two-coat system consists of the Lightweight Basecoat, which is applied in two passes. Rather than priming the substrate, two thirds of the total basecoat thickness is spray applied first (approx 12mm thick), then left to ‘pull back’ and dry slightly. After this, the final one third is applied to take the basecoat up to its total thickness. Once this has set for 24-48 hours, a tightcoat is applied; this is essentially another thin layer of the Lightweight Basecoat which is sponge or rubbed up to achieve the required texture. This is then left to set before it is primed using a render primer and then the coloured render of your choice is applied (Silicone, Silicone Silicate, Mineral or Monocouche).

Three-coat system:

Most recommended for the UK is the three-coat system. This is because of the weather conditions that we experience here – the two coat system most likely would not be able to withstand the harsher conditions.

The application of the Lightweight basecoat is the same for the three-coat system as it is for the two; the basecoat is applied in two passes. The key difference is that after the basecoat has been left to set, the Premium Adhesive is applied and Fibreglass mesh is embedded within it. This will give the system the strength and crack resistance that is required to be able to hold up against the harsher climate. After the Premium Adhesive, a render primer and then the coloured render of your choice is applied.

The Best Coloured Render for Thermalite Blocks?

When choosing a coloured render, there is a vast array of different brands and different renders that all offer a variety of benefits. Silicone Render is a well known coloured render, offering breathability and vapour permeability. Silicone Render is a thin coat coloured render and, as the name suggests, is applied in an extremely thin layer which means it is highly flexible (see below for a video demonstrating just how flexible it really is!).

Flexibility is an important quality to look for when choosing a render for Thermalite blocks, as the blocks are so soft that they very easily expand and contract during heating and cooling. A hard and unforgiving render such as sand and cement would only crack with the movements of the blocks. Check out our blog post ‘Sand and Cement Render on High Performance Blocks’ for more information!

We recommend using Silicone for rendering Thermalite blocks, as it will compliment the substrate with its vapour permeability and will also prevent water from getting behind the system and into the blockwork. It’s important for Thermalite blocks not to get wet, because during the process of drying they can very easily crack due to their softness; Silicone Render creates an impregnable shield against water ingress.

And there you have it – how to apply coloured render to Thermalite blocks. The process is very simple and the materials really save going through the experience of a failed render. For any further questions about using coloured render on Thermalite blocks, call up our technical team or leave a comment below! We’re always happy to give our free expert advice.

Applying render to a range of substrates…

Recap of Materials for Applying Coloured Render to Thermalite

 

We upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for more content!

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