Monthly Archives: August 2018

Re-rendering Pebbledash without removing the Pebbledash

How do I get rid of pebbledash?

Re-rendering pebbledash is a painful process, because removing the pebbledash 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 the pebbledash without removing it:

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 you can re-render your pebbledash without removing the 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 the 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 your pebbledash without removing the existing 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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timber for insulation

The Advantages of Wood Fibre Insulation

Wood Fibre: it’s all in the trees…

Wood Fibre insulation is a fairly recent addition to the EWI Pro insulation catalogue, offering many advantages for end-users. 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 advantage 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

This advantage 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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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.

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.

The Perfect Basecoat for 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 use fibreglass mesh to give the system extra strength and crack resistance. An alternative is applying the Lightweight Basecoat with no mesh, then leaving it to set, and then applying a layer of the Premium Adhesive with mesh before the coloured render.

Most recommended, however, is using the Lightweight Basecoat and then applying a ‘tight coat’ on top. This is where you apply a second coat of the basecoat in a thin layer, which is then rubbed up or sponged before coloured render is applied.

Applying the Coloured Render to 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!