Author Archives: Anna Hindley

acoustic insulation

Mineral Wool and Acoustic Insulation

When choosing to install external wall insulation, a lot of people want more than just the standard thermal benefits that these type of systems offer – which is where our Mineral Wool insulation systems come in.

Rockwool Mineral Wool is one insulation material with a multitude of high-performance characteristics; not only does Mineral Wool have a low thermal conductivity, but it’s also breathable, non-combustible and it has acoustic insulation capabilities. This means that when you’re choosing to install our Mineral Wool system, you are getting more than just your average EWI system.

Noisy neighbours, road traffic and harsh weather conditions can be a frustrating source of noise pollution for many homeowners. Being able to control the temperature and sound within our home environment goes hand-in-hand with our wellbeing; acoustic insulation is, therefore, a necessity to ensure comfort.

In today’s blog post we’re going to be discussing how you can achieve acoustic insulation and thermal benefits with Rockwool.

How Does Rockwool Acoustic Insulation Work?

Rockwool Mineral Wool insulation is made from spun volcanic rock. Because stone wool is a dense material with a fibrous structure, it inhibits sound waves and produces a muffling effect. Rockwool insulation therefore absorbs and dampens sound waves; this includes noise pollution not only from airborne sound (noisy neighbours and cars) but also from impact sound (strong winds, heavy rains).

Our Mineral Wool external wall insulation systems create an envelope around the entirety of the property. Because the system is completely seamless and without gaps, this means that your home is protected against both heat loss and external sources of sound.

Acoustic Insulation with a Decorative Finish

Our Mineral Wool insulation systems are installed using adhesive and mechanical fixings to the external walls of a building. A basecoat is then installed to the external facings of the board to create a smooth surface before a decorative render is applied to a) seal the system in against the weather and b) create an attractive finish.

We offer a range of solutions to achieve a decorative finish with our Mineral Wool insulation systems. Our thin coat, silicone-based renders are the topcoat of choice for homeowners. Silicone renders offer self-cleaning capabilities, which means that your external wall insulation system is fully equipped with thermal performance, acoustic performance, breathability, non-combustibility and self-cleaning capabilities.

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self-levelling compound

Types of Self-Levelling Compounds

Our Self-levelling compounds are easy to use and create a strong adhesion to a range of substrates. The finished result is a durable, level and smooth surface that is great for use with different types of flooring.

We have a few different types of self-levelling compounds, all of which are suitable for application at a range of thicknesses. In today’s blog post, we’re going to be outlining the difference between our three self-levellers and then explaining exactly how they should be used.

EWI-250 Ultimate Leveller

The Ultimate Leveller is our standard levelling solution for internal floors. This product is great for levelling floors that require a bit of finesse, as it can be applied up to 20mm thick.

  • Suitable for application using a spray machine
  • 2-20mm
  • Easy to use, self-levelling compound
  • Suitable for under parquet, tiles, carpet and for use with underfloor heating

EWI-251 Deep Fill Self-Levelling Compound

As the name suggests, the Deep Fill Self-Levelling Compound is intended for application on floor surfaces that require a bit more product to achieve a level surface.

  • Suitable for application using a spray machine
  • 5-35mm – greater application thickness
  • Easy to use, self-levelling compound
  • Suitable for under parquet, tiles, carpet and for use with underfloor heating

EWI-254 Quick Set Self-Levelling Compound

If you’re levelling in a hurry, then we highly recommend our Quick Set Self-Levelling Compound. This product is safe for treading after 3 hours and will have fully cured after just 3 days.

  • Suitable for application manually or with a spray machine
  • 2-30mm
  • Easy to use, self-levelling compound
  • Suitable for under parquet, tiles, carpet and for use with underfloor heating
  • Quick setting time of just 3 days

How to Install Self-Levelling Compounds

Our self-levelling compounds are very easy to use, but a lot of preparation needs to go into making sure the substrate is adequately prepared. Cement surfaces that are extremely rough need to be filed down, and any dust, dirt or grease must be removed from the substrate. Cracks within the floor also need to be repaired. If there is no threshold within the doorways, then temporary battens should be installed in these areas to prevent the self-levelling compound from running off into the other room.

You then need to establish exactly how thick you need to pour the product out to. To do this, place your spirit level flat to the floor and lift the lower end until it reads straight. You can then measure the gap between the bottom of the spirit level and the floor, which will enable you to determine the average thickness that you should pour the product out to.

Before application, you will need to mix the product with water (either inside of the spray machine unit or just using a bucket and mixer). Once this has been carried out, the product is simply poured out onto the floor before being spread with a trowel to distribute the product.

We recommend that if you are levelling a particularly large surface area, you should divide the room up with wood battens. This way you can pour the product out to fill the selected area, and then keep moving the batten backwards to create more space to fill.

Once the area is covered in the product it needs to be raked using a spiked roller. This will remove trapped air from the material and therefore prevent air bubbles from affecting the way that the product sets.

For the EWI-250 and EWI-251 you will need to wait 5 days for the product to cure before you can carry out any further works and lay down your chosen flooring. The EWI-254 has a faster curing time of just 3 days, so if you’re in more of a hurry then this is the best product for you.

thermal conductivity insulation panels

Thermal Conductivity and Insulation Panels

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene Insulation)

Expanded Polystyrene insulation panels are our most popular insulation material, offering great thermal conductivity and performance at a great price. EPS is extremely lightweight, which is what makes it an ideal material for attaching to the external walls to upgrade the thermal performance of the building.

EPS insulation has a thermal conductivity of 0.032W/(m2K), meaning that a 90mm insulation panel will bring a solid wall property in line with building regulations.

XPS (Extruded Polystyrene Insulation)

Much like EPS, Extruded Polystyrene is also a foam insulation panel. This particular foam has a closed-cell structure, which means that it is more waterproof and has greater compressive strength. This type of insulation is typically used for insulating below the DPC, as this area poses a greater risk of water penetration.

XPS insulation has a thermal conductivity of 0.038W/(m2K), which means that 110mm will be required to reach building regulation U-values.

Kingspan K5 Insulation

Kingspan K5 insulation is a high performance, phenolic insulation panel. This product is a premium performance, rigid thermoset insulation which is ideal for refurbishment of solid wall properties. This product has a very high compressive strength and is great for applications where there is a limit to the amount of external space that can be taken up.

The K5 insulation has a thermal conductivity of 0.020W/(m2K), which means that 60mm will be required to reach building regs.

Mineral Wool Insulation

Arguably our most high-performance insulation panels, the Rockwool Duo-Density Slab offers excellent thermal performance, fire performance and acoustic insulating capabilities. This is a premium insulation material that is often used for high rise buildings and for applications where a high level of fire safety is required.

Mineral Wool insulation has a thermal conductivity of 0.038W/(m2K), which means that 110mm would be required for a solid wall to meet building regulations.

Wood Fibre Insulation

If you’re looking for a highly breathable insulation panel, then you can’t go wrong with Wood Fibre. Providing an outstanding level of thermal comfort within the home, Wood Fibre is therefore perfect for use within an EWI system. Not only does the Pavatex Diffutherm insulation offer superlative insulating properties, but it also has the credential of being an environmentally friendly material.

Wood Fibre insulation has a thermal conductivity of 0.038W/(m2K), therefore a 120mm board would be required to reach building regulations.

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insulating a detached house

How to Insulate a Detached House

Choosing the Right Insulation Material

As with any installation, insulating a detached house first involves choosing the type of insulation that you want to use. This decision can depend upon a number of factors, whether it’s based on the thermal performance of the material or how suitable it is for your particular property. Here are the salient points for each of our insulation materials:

Kingspan K5

  • Thermal conductivity: 0.020 (W/mK)
  • This is much more expensive than EPS, but a lesser thickness is required to reach the same U-values (60mm of K5 vs. 90mm of EPS). Great for if you are lacking external space.

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)

  • Thermal conductivity: 0.032 (W/mK)
  • Cost effective, lightweight and with excellent performance. Our most popular insulation board.

Mineral Wool

  • Thermal Conductivity: 0.036 (W/mK)
  • Manufactured by Rockwool, our Mineral Wool insulation is completely non-combustible, breathable and with acoustic insulating capabilities.

Wood Fibre

  • Thermal conductivity: 0.038-0.043 (W/mK)
  • Breathable, natural and very eco-friendly. This is ideal for timber-frame houses.

XPS (Extruded Polystyrene)

  • Thermal conductivity: 0.038 (W/mK)
  • More expensive than EPS, but with better compressive strength and greater resistance to water. Installers tend to use XPS for insulating below the DPC, with EPS above the DPC.

Insulating the chimney breast

With a detached house, you’ll often find that the house has a chimney breast that will require externally insulating. If the chimney breast is in-use or is likely to be in the future, then it needs to be insulated using Mineral Wool insulation. This is because Mineral Wool is completely non-combustible, so when the chimney gets very hot during use your external wall insulation system remains completely safe.

Extending the Roof Line

Whether it’s detached or semi-detached, many installations involve extending the roofline to ensure that the roof adequately overhangs the insulation. If this isn’t the case, verge trim needs to be used to ensure that the system is completely watertight.

Verge trim is installed underneath the soffit to extend the overhang of the roof and ensure that water runs directly off the front of the system, rather than running down the back. If water manages to get behind the system it can cause serious damage, which needs to be avoided. Verge Trim is, therefore, an essential item to prevent this.

Insulating Above a Porch Roof

Detached houses often have a porch roof or a secondary roof where there is a ground-floor extension. On these properties, lead flashing tends to be applied to the area where the wall meets the roof. When insulating a detached house that has a porch roof, it’s essential that the lead flashing is re-installed on top of the insulation to prevent water gathering underneath where the insulation meets the roof. The lead flashing will enable the water to run directly down the wall and off the roof without causing any issues.

Insulating Bay Windows

If you’re insulating a detached house with a bay window, there are a few ways you can do this. Unfortunately, starter track isn’t designed for bay windows, but you can adapt your uPVC Starter Track to fit the bay window by cutting slits in the base so that it will bend to fit the wall.

Sometimes the bay window sill does not have enough of an overhang in order to house the EPS insulation. In this situation, you have two options: you can either extend the window sill so that the EPS will fit underneath, or if the window sill is wide enough you can use a 60mm Kingspan K5, which will offer the same thermal performance as the EPS.

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monocouche render vs One coat render

Monocouche Render Vs. One Coat Render

Monocouche Render

Monocouche render is a decorative, polymer-modified render that can be applied by hand or spray machine to reach a total thickness of 19mm. Monocouche render is through-coloured, which means that the actual mixture in the bag is in your chosen colour – no need to paint afterwards to achieve a coloured finish.

Monocouche render is a dry-mix render, so it requires mixing with water prior to application. It’s then applied to the substrate, and a Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within it to enhance the crack-resistance and tensile strength of the render. Monocouche is applied in two passes, and once the render has begun to set it is scratched back with a scratch float to achieve a dappled texture effect.

Because this is a through-coloured render, it is virtually maintenance free and due to the fact that it is applied in one go, it has a relatively quick application time compared to our thin coat renders where you have to wait for the basecoat to go off before you can render.

One Coat Render

One Coat Render (OCR) is a cement-lime render, applied in one pass at a thickness of 5-15mm to achieve a smooth flat surface on external walls. OCR is not a through-coloured render in the same way that our Monocouche render is, in fact, it requires painting afterwards with a Silicone Paint or other masonry paint to achieve a decorative finish. Unlike the Monocouche, this render isn’t scratched back to achieve a textured surface – the OCR achieves a different look to the natural, chalky finish of the Monocouche render.

The main appeal of using the One Coat Render is how quickly and effectively you can achieve a smooth finish. It’s applied in one coat directly onto the substrate, and Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within it to enhance tensile strength. Once the OCR has gone off, the paint finish is applied; although you can choose to apply a decorative render on top if you wish.

Key differences:

  • Monocouche is through-coloured
  • It is polymer-modified
  • It is scratched back to achieve a textured effect
  • OCR requires painting to achieve a coloured finish
  • It is mostly used to create a smooth surface
  • Both are sold pre-mixed in 25kg bags

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tyrolean render

3mm Silicone Render vs. Tyrolean Render

When it comes to choosing a render finish, there are endless possibilities. Whether you’re looking to go for a smooth render effect or a rough textured render, we can offer a range of solutions. EWI Pro renders are very customisable, so if there’s a particular look that you really want to achieve then give us a call and we can advise you on the best way to do this!

Today we’re going to be looking at the method of application used to achieve a tyrolean render finish, compared with the application and finish of our 3mm Silicone Render. While no two products will look the same, you may find that the texture that these two renders can achieve is very similar.

Tyrolean Render

Tyrolean render is a traditional rendering technique used to apply a monocouche render to create a rough, textured appearance.

To achieve the tyrolean render finish, the monocouche render needs to be applied in two passes. The first pass is used purely for embedding Fibreglass Mesh and to create a smooth, reinforced surface; this layer will help to prevent cracks further down the line. A second pass of is then applied on top to bring the total thickness up, this is again smoothed over.

To create the tyrolean render finish, the render is then fine-sprayed onto the substrate using a tyrolean flicker gun to achieve a textured surface. The finish is comparable to roughcast, although this method of rendering does not require aggregates to create the texture. The great thing about the finished result is that it looks very natural, although applying render in this method can be time-consuming and therefore costly.

3mm Silicone Render

When compared to the work that goes into a tyrolean render finish, the 3mm Silicone Render looks pretty easy. EWI Pro Silicone Render comes in a range of grain sizes so that you can choose the kind of texture that you want to achieve, whether it’s very smooth or very rough. The added benefit of the silicone is that unlike monocouche, Silicone Render is applied in a very thin layer (between 1-3mm) on top of a reinforced basecoat.

The advantage of this is that the Silicone Render is very flexible (because it’s applied so thinly) and therefore the risk of cracking is significantly reduced. The other advantage of the Silicone Render is that it is through-coloured (like paint) and can be tinted to create almost any shade, so you’re able to choose very natural colours.

Bearing in mind, the monocouche render is a dry-mix render, so the finished result is always going to be slightly different, but you can achieve a very similar texture using a 3mm grain size – the 3mm render looks almost roughcast.

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render board

Materials Required for Rendering a Render Board

Installing a thin coat render system onto a render board is easy to do once the boards are in place. Render boards create a nice flat surface for the render to be applied to, so in this respect, it’s very easy to get a perfect finish. We’ve put together a shopping list of materials that you will need to complete to the job, so keep reading for the full breakdown of products.


1. Priming the substrate:

Skip the primer – render carrier board is designed for renders to be applied directly onto it, so a primer is not necessary for this particular substrate.


2. Applying the Beading:

Beading is essential for reinforcing external areas that are more prone to damage, for example, the corners and the areas around windows and doors. The required beads will depend on the property and which particular areas need reinforcing. We have a broad range of render beads that should be selected and applied as necessary, our beads are uPVC and are designed to be embedded within the basecoat layer.


3. Applying the Basecoat:

For applying render onto a render board, we recommend using the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat. This is our strongest and most durable basecoat, offering a high level of adhesion. Because render carrier boards are a less sturdy substrate than for example solid brick, we always recommend the use of the EWI-225. This should be applied at a thickness no greater than 6mm.

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


4. Embedding the Mesh:

Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat for extra reinforcement. This will ensure the system remains crack resistant.

Coverage rates:

1x50m2 roll covers 42.5m2 when overlapped


5. Priming the Basecoat:

If you are using a dark coloured render, then you may want to use a render primer. This can be tinted to match the colour of the render, and it will also help to increase the adhesion of the render to the basecoat. The type of primer will depend on the type of render you are using. For a Silicone Silicate system, we recommend using the SiSi Render Primer.

Coverage:

1x7L bucket covers 20m2

1x21L bucket covers 60-70m2

Drying times:

12-24 hours


6. Applying the render topcoat:

Once the primer is dry, the render topcoat can be applied. We recommend using either the Silicone Silicate Render or the Silicone Render. These are thin coat renders, so they’re ideal for use on a range of different render carrier boards. Silicone-based thin coat renders are also self-cleaning, which means that they are great for maintaining a clean facade for years to come. Render boards are often used for bigger jobs, so choosing a low-maintenance render will keep the building looking nice for longer.

Coverage:

1.0mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 10m2

1.5mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 7-10m2

Drying times:

24 hours (+)


 

swifix insulation fixings

Swifix Insulation Fixings

Retrofit Insulation Fixings and Swifix

One particular brand that we stock is Swifix, who produce a range of solutions which allow for the installation of fixings on external wall insulation systems. The fixings are made of high-quality plastic and are designed with the purpose of maintaining the thermal performance of the insulation system and avoiding thermal bridging, whilst also enhancing the system’s functionality.

The Swifix range of insulation fixings are tested by the BRE (British Research Establishment) and can safely hold items up to 100kg. To find out a little bit more about how they work, keep reading!

How do Swifix Insulation Fixings Work?

Swifix insulation fixings reduce the need for timber pattresses for refitting external items onto EWI systems. They provide high-quality, low thermal conductivity plastic outer casings for metal screws and fixings, securely sealing them within the plastic to prevent heat loss. They currently provide the cheapest solution on the market and are even suitable for DIY installation.

swifix single tube fitting

What is Thermal Bridging?

External wall insulation creates a thermal envelope which surrounds the entirety of the property. The aspect of ‘continuous insulation’ is really important and directly related to the performance of the EWI System; any gaps, bridges or interruptions within the insulation create what is known as a ‘cold spot’ or a ‘thermal bridge.’ This can occur where there are gaps between boards, or if items of a higher thermal conductivity penetrate the system – such as metal fixings.

The presence of thermal bridges means a significant heat loss and a huge reduction in the performance of the system. Because the surface temperature in these cold spots is much lower, the presence of damp can also start to occur as condensation forms on the colder surface.

Swifix Fixings – Available at EWI Store!

We stock the following items:

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insulation adhesive

Which Insulation Adhesive Do I Use?

There are several rules to follow when installing external wall insulation, one of which is to always use the correct insulation adhesive. At EWI Store we offer a range of EWI Pro insulation adhesives, all of which are designed for use with different insulation boards.

In today’s post we are going to be talking you through the different insulation adhesives within the range, including which ones should be used for which insulation material.

EWI-220 EPS Basecoat Adhesive

As the name suggests, this type of insulation adhesive is designed for use with our EPS insulation, but it can also be used for XPS. Because EPS is such a lightweight insulation board, it does not require as much of a heavy-duty adhesive as other materials.

The EWI-220 creates a strong, long-lasting adhesion, securing the boards to the substrate for years to come. It can also be used within the basecoat reinforcement layer, whereby a Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the adhesive. The purpose of this is to create a smooth, strong surface ready for the render to be applied to. 

EWI-225 Premium Basecoat

The Premium Basecoat is our strongest adhesive, designed for securing Mineral Wool, Wood Fibre and Kingspan K5 insulation boards to substrates. This particular adhesive contains portland cement and fibres which create a highly adhesive material, able to support the weight of these heavier insulation boards.

Much like the EWI-220, this insulation adhesive can also be used within the basecoat reinforcement layer. Because the product is so strong, it’s also ideal for use in the basecoat layer for render-only systems.

EWI-221 Winter Adhesive

If you’re installing EWI during the winter months, then you may want to consider using our EWI-221 Winter Adhesive. This insulation adhesive can be used for EPS and XPS, at temperatures even down to zero degrees.

Filling Gaps Between Insulation Boards

If you’re installing external wall insulation, you may find that you end up with small gaps between the insulation boards. The best way to sort this is by either using insulation offcuts, which is probably ideal for larger gaps or by using a spray foam adhesive.

Gaps between boards should never be filled using adhesives. This is because spray foam adhesives are best for preventing thermal bridging, as they have a low thermal conductivity – insulation adhesives will just let all the heat escape through the gaps and cracks.

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thermal render

Thermal Render vs. External Wall Insulation

Our insulation systems are often referred to as ‘thermal render’ or ‘external wall insulation.’ This type of system is made up of physical insulation boards, such as EPS, which are secured to the external wall with adhesive and mechanical fixings, before render is applied on top to achieve a decorative finish.

Thermal render, on the other hand, is an actual render product with low thermal conductivity. This is often specified on the package, for example, our Lightweight Basecoat has a thermal conductivity value of 0.47(W/mK). This essentially means that the basecoat itself will help to slow down the rate of heat transfer. This means that less of the heat from inside your home will be able to escape.

Advantages of External Wall Insulation

If you’re looking to gain thermal performance out of your renovation project, then we really recommend installing external wall insulation. The main advantage of choosing this over a thermal render is that the external wall insulation boards come in a range of thicknesses, so the potential for performance is much greater.

Choosing external wall insulation also means that you get a choice in the type of insulation boards that you go for. We offer EPS, Kingspan K5, Mineral Wool or Wood Fibre, all of which offer different levels of thermal conductivity and therefore have different insulating capabilities.

The insulation material itself can also provide other benefits. Our Mineral Wool insulation comes from Rockwool and has acoustic insulating capabilities as well as excellent fire performance (it’s rated as Euroclass A1 noncombustible).

In terms of comparing this against a thermal render, you’re getting advanced thermal performance, the choice of how much insulation you install, and you can choose a material that will provide your home with other advantages. The thermal render on its own will offer the slightest of insulating benefits, but really it needs to be used in conjunction with a cavity wall insulation or internal wall insulation to see any real effect.

How is Thermal Render Installed?

We do however understand that thermal render is a significantly cheaper option than external wall insulation. If you already have cavity wall insulation then you may decide to just go ahead with the thermal render. There are a few of these products on the market, one of them being our Lightweight Basecoat.

The good thing about the Lightweight Basecoat is that it can be installed up to 50mm thick in two passes. You would embed a fibreglass mesh within the first pass, leave it to dry out a little and then apply the second pass. Once this has set completely, you can then apply a thin coat render or a Silicone Paint on top to achieve a decorative finish.

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polymer render

What is Polymer Render?

Polymer render is essentially just a term for a render that contains ‘polymers’ as part of its ingredients. Different polymers can give the product different characteristics, often enhancing flexibility and increasing weatherproofing capabilities. The technology behind polymer renders is fairly new, but they are steadily starting to overtake the common sand and cement render in terms of popularity. In today’s post, we’re going to explore the different types of polymer renders within the EWI Pro range, and explain a little bit about the different characteristics that they offer.

Benefits of Polymer Renders

  • Hydrophobic
  • Elastic
  • Highly adhesive
  • Typically through-coloured
  • Pre-mixed
  • Vapour permeable (depending on the type of render)
  • High impact resistance

EWI Pro Polymer Renders

EWI Pro offers a range of polymer renders. We often refer to these as ‘thin coat renders’ due to the method of application. Thin coat polymer renders are applied in an incredibly thin layer directly onto a basecoat layer. The EWI Pro polymer renders that we sell all come pre-coloured and ready-to-use in 25kg tubs. They also contain grains (in a range of sizes to choose from) so that you can decide on the type of textured finish that you want.

Because of the fact that it contains silicone, Premium Bio Silicone Render falls into the category of polymer renders. The silicone within the render means that it is highly flexible, vapour permeable and also in the case of the Premium Bio, extremely hydrophobic and self-cleaning. This is ideal for areas where there is a high level of vegetation and a bigger risk of organic overgrowth.

Silicone render can be considered as the next step down from the Premium Bio in terms of performance. This is our classic render, offering vapour permeability, flexibility, and self-cleaning capabilities. Silicone render is a classic choice for a premium, long-lasting finish.

Silicone Silicate render is our best value polymer render in terms of the level of performance it offers. This is a hybrid render, as it is a mixture of both silicone and silicate and subsequently offers the same level of breathability as our other silicone-based renders but with less of a self-cleaning effect.

Our acrylic polymer render differs from our silicones. It’s extra UV resistant, so it will retain colour pigment really nicely, and it’s also great for impact-resistance. Acrylic render is a standard classic choice and is great if vibrancy in colour is an important factor. However it does lack the vapour permeability that the silicones provide, so this is probably something to consider for long-term performance.

Reinforcing Polymer Render

All of our polymer renders the need to be applied on top of a reinforced basecoat. Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat at the application stage to enhance the tensile strength of the whole system. Therefore, the render alone without this basecoat reinforcement layer will not provide a long-lasting finish.

It’s also important to apply these renders onto a completely smooth surface because they are applied at a thickness that matches the chosen grain size (so between 1-3mm), so any slight unevenness in the substrate behind will be completely visible underneath the render.

Polymer modified renders are without a doubt the future of rendering, so give us a call if you’re interested in having this type of render installed on your property!

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polystyrene insulation

Is Polystyrene Insulation Effective?

At EWI Store, we stock two types of polystyrene insulation, EPS and XPS. These are both ideal for use with external wall insulation systems, offering an effective method of lowering energy bills by improving the thermal performance of properties. Both EPS and XPS are made of polystyrene, so in today’s blog, we’re going to talk a little bit about the difference between the two.

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)

Expanded Polystyrene Insulation is a lightweight insulation, made of polystyrene foam beads. This means that it is rigid foam, so is ideal for securing to external walls. EPS is 90% air because it is not very dense – the fact that it is made up of lots of small polystyrene beads means that there are lots of tiny air pockets.

This is what makes it a great insulator. Because it’s so lightweight, EPS is perfectly safe to fix to the walls using our dual-fixing method of adhesive and mechanical fixings. The insulation can then be decorated with a thin coat render to protect it against the weather and achieve an aesthetically pleasing finish.

EPS has a thermal conductivity of 0.032(W/mK). This thermal conductivity is maintained for the duration of its lifespan, so once on the wall, you won’t have to replace it further down the line. In terms of building regulations, on a solid wall property, you would need about 90mm of EPS insulation to achieve the required U-value of 0.3(W/mK).

XPS (Extruded Polystyrene)

The real difference between XPS and EPS is in the way they are made. The different processes of manufacture mean that they both have varying levels of performance. XPS is manufactured through an extrusion process, whereby the plastic resin and ingredients are melted together. These are then extruded and expanded to form rigid, closed-cell polystyrene.

Because it’s closed-cell polystyrene, XPS is great for areas that are exposed to higher levels of water – for example, the DPC. Unlike EPS, there’s little chance of the XPS being able to absorb this water, so we recommend the use of XPS if you are planning to insulated right down to below the DPC. XPS also has higher compressive strength, so it’s ideal for this area as it is more exposed and much more prone to experiencing impacts.

In terms of thermal conductivity, XPS has a conductivity of 0.038(W/mK), so you’ll need a slightly thicker 110mm to achieve the required U-value to reach building regulations.

Although both of these polystyrene insulation materials are of high quality, EPS tends to be more popular than XPS for cost reasons and because it performs slightly better.

If you’re interested in externally insulating your home, get in touch and we can talk you through which of our insulation materials would be best for you.

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external wall insulation semi detached

External Wall Insulation on a Semi-Detached House?

It’s pretty common to install external insulation on a semi-detached property, but the fact that the insulation cannot wrap around the entire building presents a bit of an issue in terms of sealing the system. So how do you externally insulate a semi-detached property without risking damage from water ingress?

Use High-Quality uPVC Corner Beads

Using high-quality uPVC corner bead with mesh around the insulation where it meets with the boundary to the neighbouring house will mean that the insulation is fully protected against impacts.

The insulation (let’s say you’re using EPS on this project) is secured to the wall using the EWI-220 Basecoat Adhesive and plastic mechanical fixings. Then, once the adhesive has set you can rasp the insulation before applying your basecoat layer. This should be taken right the way around the edge of the insulation boards that meet the boundary line so that no EPS is exposed. The corner bead should be embedded within the basecoat.

Once the basecoat has set, you can prime the basecoat and once this is dry you are ready to apply your render topcoat. We strongly recommend using the EWI-075 Silicone Render as it is highly hydrophobic so will repel any water from its surface.

Using Silicone Sealant for Externally Insulating a Semi-Detached House

As we know, water ingress is one of the biggest issues that installers need to protect the EWI system against. It’s imperative that any gaps between the insulation and the underlying substrate are sealed against water.

On a detached property, this is only an issue at the top and bottom of the system, but with a semi-detached property, you will need to use a silicone sealant in the area that is exposed at the boundary line. This will stop water from seeping behind the system and causing the adhesive to wear away. We stock a range of Silicone Sealants in a variety of colours including transparent, so check those out here.

There is a slight issue also that silicone sealant can wear away quite easily, so you may find that this will need to be reapplied every few years.

Verge Trim for insulating Semi-Detached Houses

As we know, sealing the EWI system against water ingress is important for any type of property. However this is especially important in a semi-detached property, so if the roof doesn’t properly overhang the insulation then Verge Trim will need to be installed.

Verge Trim basically works to extend the roofline and cap the top of the insulation boards so that water will run straight off the front of the system rather than down the back. Even better in a semi-detached property is the use Verge Trim End Caps to round off the edge of the system and ensure further protection.

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OCDC

One Coat Dash Cover (OCDC) Install Guide

Re-rendering Pebbledash

Rendering over pebbledash is easy when you use the EWI-065 One Coat Dash Cover! OCDC is quick, easy and safe to use, creating a perfect rendered or painted finish.

Step 1 – Substrate Suitability Check

Ensure that the pebble-dashed wall is stable and secure by knocking the existing substrate with a shovel or hammer. Loose pebbles should be removed, and any areas of crumbling pebbledash should be stripped back completely.

Step 2 – Priming the Substrate Prior to OCDC

Apply a layer of EWI-310 Universal Primer to the substrate. This will increase the adhesion between the pebbledash and the OCDC, and ensure that the substrate is stable.

Step 3 – Applying OCDC

OCDC should be mixed with 5 litres of water per 25kg of the dry mixture in a large bucket using a mechanical mixer. In order to level out the wall, apply the first pass of OCDC (up to 20mm) to the areas where the Pebbledash has been stripped back.

Once the first pass has set the second pass should be applied to the entire substrate, taking the total thickness up to a maximum of 50mm. Fibreglass Mesh should be embedded within the second pass of OCDC to enhance its tensile strength. A plastic, metal or felted float should then be used to create a smooth surface.

Step 4 – Applying the Decorative Finish

Once the OCDC is completely set, you are ready to apply your decorative finish. At this stage, you can choose to either render or paint the substrate.

For painting the substrate, we recommend using the EWI-005 Silicone Paint. This will create a breathable, waterproof surface that is resistant to environmental pollutants.

When rendering the substrate, we suggest using a silicone-based render, such as our EWI-075 Silicone Render. This is highly breathable and hydrophobic, with self-cleaning capabilities to ensure a clean surface for years to come.

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ziegel blockwork

Materials for Rendering onto Ziegel Blockwork

Installing a thin coat render system onto Ziegel blockwork is a process of many stages, so we’ve put together a shopping list so that you know exactly what you need!

Priming the substrate:

Skip the primer – Ziegel blockwork is better off not being primed. Read our dedicated block post [here] about what the actual process of rendering this blockwork should look like.


Applying the Beading:

We have a broad range or render beads that should be selected and applied as necessary. The required beads will depend on the property:


Applying the Basecoat:

For render-only systems, we recommend using the EWI-269 Lightweight Basecoat. This is our strongest and most durable basecoat.

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


Optional Layer of EWI-225 Premium Basecoat:

At this stage, you can choose whether or not to apply a layer of the Premium Basecoat for extra reinforcement against cracks. This basecoat is very strong so if you live in an area that is highly exposed to harsh weather conditions then we really recommend this.

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


Embedding the Mesh:

Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat (if you’ve used the EWI-225 then the mesh can be embedded in at this stage) for extra reinforcement. This will ensure the system remains crack resistant.

Coverage rates:

1x50m2 roll covers 42.5m2 when overlapped


Priming the Basecoat:

A render primer should be used to increase the adhesion of the render to the basecoat. The type of primer will depend on the type of render you are using. For a Silicone Silicate system, we recommend using the SiSi Render Primer.

Coverage:

1x7L bucket covers 20m2

1x21L bucket covers 60-70m2

Drying times:

12-24 hours


Applying the render topcoat:

Once the primer is dry, the render topcoat can be applied. We recommend using either the Silicone Silicate Render or the Silicone Render which will complement the breathability of the Lightweight Basecoat.

Coverage:

1.0mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 10m2

1.5mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 7-10m2

Drying times:

24 hours (+)


 

ewi house cool

Will EWI Keep my House Cool?

Installing external wall insulation (EWI) is the process of fixing insulation boards to the external walls of your property, before applying a layer of thin coat render on top as a decorative, weatherproof finish.

Commonly, EWI is installed on UK homes to help improve the thermal performance and energy efficiency of the property in the winter months. However, EWI actually maintains the thermal comfort of a building year-round – so you can expect a cool house in the summer and warm one in the winter.

How Does External Wall Insulation Work?

External wall insulation slows the rate of heat transfer through the walls of your property. Insulation materials such as EPS have high air content, which means that heat can very easily become trapped within the material. As a result, heat from inside the home will struggle to escape, and vice versa – heat from outside will not be able to penetrate into the home.

Solid wall homes suffer enormously when it comes to heat transfer. This is because there is only one layer of brick, so there is very little standing in the way of letting all the heat out/in. In these situations, it’s worth investing in EWI to help maintain a comfortable environment.

Wood Fibre Insulation and Sun Protection

Wood Fibre insulation is particularly good at providing sun protection on lightweight structures. Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb, store and radiate heat energy; natural building materials such as Wood Fibre insulation have a high thermal mass compared to insulation materials like EPS. This means that on hot days where solar gain is at a maximum, Wood Fibre insulation will keep the building significantly cooler.

Lightweight building structures such as timber frame or steel frame will benefit from this immensely, as in these types of buildings it only takes a small change in climate for the internal temperature of the building to be affected.

Why Is EWI Useful in the Summer?

Having a nice cool environment to escape to on a hot day is pretty important.  Air conditioning systems can certainly achieve this, but at a steep cost; the continuous use of air con and fans means that your energy bills will be needlessly expensive. External wall insulation will increase the efficiency of these systems by improving the airtightness of your property so that the cool air stays inside, and by absorbing the heat from the sun and subsequently preventing it from getting inside.

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What’s the Best Value EWI System?

Many people choose to install external wall insulation in order to save them money in the long term, however, at present there’s a lack of funding and so the initial upfront cost of the installation can be daunting. We offer a range of EWI systems, all of which come in at different price points. In today’s post, we’re going to be discussing the best products to choose for the best value EWI system. Enjoy!

Choosing the Best Value Insulation Board

At its core, external wall insulation is about upgrading the thermal capabilities of your home. Within that, there are additional benefits that certain types of insulation can offer you. We offer a wide range of insulation materials, but the main three that customers go for are Mineral Wool, Wood Fibre and EPS insulation.

Mineral Wool (manufactured by Rockwool), offers excellent fire performance. This insulation comes in at a higher price due to the fact that it is a more premium product, offering greater advantages for end users. In fact, the performance of Mineral Wool is so high that in certain situations it’s compulsory to use it (for example for fire breaks in high rise buildings). It’s also a great choice if you want to soundproof your home, as it has excellent acoustic insulating capabilities.

Second to this is Wood Fibre insulation. Again, this is a premium choice because it is so eco-friendly. Wood Fibre insulation is also extremely breathable, so it’s great for timber frame properties as the actual insulation board will work in complete harmony with the building fabric. Many people also choose Wood Fibre insulation for heritage restoration projects, as it’s a very natural and breathable building material.

Last but not least is EPS insulation (expanded polystyrene). This is our most popular insulation material and is the very first system that we brought out. EPS is without a doubt the best in terms of cost-effectiveness and value for money because while it comes in at a lower price the material itself will stand the test of time and actually make a noticeable difference to your property.

Cost Effective Adhesives and Basecoats

Because of the fact that Mineral Wool and Wood Fibre are heavier insulation boards, they require a much stronger adhesive – the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat. This comes in at a higher cost because it offers a higher level of performance with stronger adhesive capabilities. For safety reasons, choosing the correct adhesive is essential and will depend on the type of insulation that you go for, so it’s not something you can scrimp on.

When it comes to EPS insulation, however, the less adhesive strength is needed because as polystyrene insulation, it is by nature a much lighter material. Our EWI-220 EPS Basecoat Adhesive is perfect for this material and costs less than the EWI-225, so the value of the EPS isn’t undermined by the priciness of the adhesive that is required for it.

In terms of making sure that your EWI system is the best value for money, we recommend always using a dual-purpose adhesive. What this means is that as well as being used for securing the insulation boards to the substrate, it also doubles up as a basecoat for the reinforcement layer. The EWI-220 and EWI-225 are both dual-purpose, so when using these as an adhesive and a basecoat you will find that less product goes to waste.

The Best Value Render

We offer a range of different renders, all of which come in at different levels of performance and therefore different price points.

Silicone Silicate render is without a doubt the best value render within our range, and it also happens to be the most popular. It’s a hybrid render, so it is essentially half silicone and half silicate – it offers most of the properties (namely breathability) of the silicone but at a much lower price.

To conclude, external wall insulation is never going to be cheap. However, it is possible to use quality materials that offer performance at a great price. So if this is something you’re after, we thoroughly recommend our EPS insulation and Silicone Silicate render system.

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carbon emissions EWI

Reducing Carbon Emissions with EWI

External wall insulation (EWI) is the process of securing insulation boards to the outside walls of a building before applying a decorative render on top as a means of protection against the weather. It’s well known that EWI is great for saving money on your energy bills, however, have you stopped to consider the positive secondary effect of this?

Thoroughly insulating your home has two outcomes: less heat escapes through the walls and less energy is wasted to compensate for this. EWI is, therefore, a great way to reduce your carbon emissions. With better insulation and greater energy efficiency comes a reduction in the use of gas, oil or coal, which means that your overall carbon usage is lower.

Why do Fossil Fuels Harm the Environment?

Gas, oil and coal are fossil fuels, which means they are non-renewable energy sources. When burned, they release carbon dioxide gas (carbon emissions) into the environment, which contributes towards the greenhouse effect and increases global warming.

What is the Greenhouse Effect?

The greenhouse effect occurs when gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat from the sun. This causes the Earth to warm up.

Human activities are changing the way that the Earth naturally traps heat due to the fact that we are constantly burning damaging fuels and releasing harmful gases (carbon dioxide) into the environment. The more we do this, the more the Earth’s temperature will increase; we’re already seeing the effect of this through rising sea levels, the steady extinction of certain species and damage to the coral reef caused by warmer waters.

The situation is urgent, yet not many people know how to make small, positive changes.

Going Green with EWI

On a yearly basis, external wall insulation can save a detached property 1870kg CO2. If every home in the UK was insulated to this standard, think about the reduction in carbon emissions and the positive effect this would have on the environment.

Contact us today to get to know more about the process of installing EWI, prices and where you can find trusted installers to carry out the work.

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eco-friendly insulation

Eco-Friendly Insulation Materials for EWI

When it comes to external wall insulation, foam insulations are a commonly used material due to the fact that they are relatively low-cost. Nevertheless, there are plenty of people out there who install external wall insulation for environmental, eco-friendly reasons, and so look for ec0-friendly insulation materials to use on their homes. There are actually plenty of natural materials that are great at insulating, so in today’s blog, we’re going to be talking a little bit about them!

Wood Fibre Insulation

One of the most eco-friendly insulation materials is Wood Fibre. We source our Wood Fibre Insulation boards from a company called Pavatex. Pavatex is dedicated to the notion that using secure and healthy forests helps to stabilise and manage the environment, and their Diffutherm Wood Fibre insulation boards can indeed boast this status of being sustainable and environmentally conscious. This achievement has not gone unnoticed; Pavatex is certified by the renowned Nature Plus standard – the European quality standard for building materials set up by the WWF, FSC and Greenpeace.

Not only is their Wood Fibre Insulation product environmentally conscious, but the manufacturing process is as well. The Pavatex production locations in Cham and Golbey claim to be dedicated to being efficient and environmentally friendly. As a result, after taking into consideration its low manufacture emissions, the Diffutherm Wood Fibre Insulation has an overall positive CO2 balance of around 600kg per tonne of product. Wood Fibre boards are also safe to dispose of due to the fact that they are recyclable and compostable once they have reached the end of their lifespan.

Rockwool Mineral Wool Insulation

Mineral Wool insulation may not be the first thing people think of when it comes to eco-friendly insulation, due to the fact that the actual manufacture process isn’t as environmentally friendly as other insulation materials – although Rockwool argues that the insulation itself saves more energy than is required for its manufacture process. Either way, Mineral Wool is definitely worth mentioning as it comes from a sustainable, natural resource.

Made from rock and other raw materials which are melted in a furnace and spun to create fibres, Mineral Wool combines great thermal performance with excellent acoustic insulation capabilities. It’s an incredibly hard-wearing insulation material that is available for a range of applications (whether it’s for EWI, wall insulation or roof insulation), so if you’re looking for a material with an environmentally friendly lifespan then Mineral Wool is a great choice.

Further to this, Mineral Wool takes fire safety to the next level. It is Euroclass A1 rated for non-combustibility. The insulation itself will not ignite and therefore will not emit noxious gases. This is definitely something to factor into your decision-making.

Cork Insulation

This particular insulation material is not something that we are currently stocking, however, it’s renowned for being very high performance and eco-friendly. Cork insulation is 100% natural, offering long-term performance with little to no degradation. Its thermal capabilities are notably good due to the fact that expanded cork insulation boards have many air pockets that assist in trapping heat.

Cork is completely renewable, as it is extracted from cork-oak trees before it is manufactured into boards. The insulation itself is free of chemicals, synthetic resins and will not emit any noxious gases.

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EWI cavity wall insulation

Can I Install EWI on a Cavity Wall?

At EWI Store, we receive many enquiries from homeowners who are very interested in installing EWI, however there is often confusion as to whether it is possible to install EWI on a home with existing cavity wall insulation. In today’s post, we’re going to be tackling this question to see if we can clear things up!

What is Cavity Wall Insulation?

If your home was built after the 1920’s, it’s likely that it will have been built with a cavity between the two exterior walls.

The main purpose of this cavity was to prevent damp crossing over from the outside through to the interior walls, but it wasn’t until later that people realised it could be used for another purpose. Nowadays, cavity walls are often filled with an injectable insulation material in order to increase energy efficiency and reduce the amount of heat lost through the walls.

In today’s housing stock, CWI seems to be the default method of wall insulation, however this isn’t to say that there haven’t been people with negative experiences of it. Damp and condensation have often been reported as a side-effect of cavity wall insulation, usually occurring as a result of cold bridges caused by poor installation. There are therefore many people who are quite rightly wary of cavity wall insulation, so they instead look elsewhere for their wall insulation solutions.

What is External Wall Insulation?

If your home was built before the 1920’s, then it’s likely to be a solid wall property. These properties present a bit of a challenge in terms of increasing energy efficiency because there is no cavity to fill, so homeowners either have to opt for no insulation (and high energy bills), internal wall insulation or external wall insulation.

External wall insulation (EWI) provides the best solution for this type of building, as it is retrofitted onto the outside walls by securing the insulation boards with adhesive and fixings. A protective render is then applied to the insulation boards to create a weatherproof seal.

Unlike internal wall insulation, where the thickness of the insulation is severely limited by how much floor space you can give up, EWI allows users to install insulation as thick as 200mm onto the outside walls of their properties.

Further to this, the effectiveness of cavity wall insulation is dictated by the amount of insulation that can actually fit within the cavity – some cavities are just 50mm wide, so the benefits of insulating this are pretty slim.

EWI therefore offers an increased potential for homes to massively up their efficiency. Unfortunately, it’s commonly assumed that homes with cavity wall insulation are a) insulated well enough and b) cannot have EWI as well as CWI.

Can I have both EWI and CWI?

In fact, if you have cavity wall insulation, then EWI is likely to reduce any problems with damp caused by the cavity wall insulation. This is because external wall insulation completely envelopes your home in a weather-proof blanket, preventing water from entering through the exterior walls and keeping the temperature of the walls nice and warm. Because EWI wraps around the entirety of the exterior walls, there are no gaps and therefore thermal bridging is kept to a minimum.

So because the internal temperature of the walls increases, the chances of damp and interstitial condensation are reduced. If there were any cold spots within the cavity wall insulation before, then the EWI will counteract the effect of these by maintaining a warm wall temperature.

If you currently live in a cavity insulated house and you want to upgrade the wall insulation even further, then get in touch! We can talk you through the process and offer you our technical expertise.

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render spray machine

Benefits of Using a Spray Machine for Rendering

Quicker working times

Using a render spray machine enables you to cover a greater surface area in more time. Time is money so being able to finish up jobs at a faster pace can be pretty essential, especially if you’re a one-man-band business.

Even render coverage

A spraying machine will always dispense an even amount of product, and it’s much easier to be sure that you’re not applying it too thickly and you can get even coverage.

Internal mixing

Some spray machines come with an internal mixing unit, which means it has specialist technology for mixing the product up to an even consistency, ensuring it’s the right thickness.

Working at heights is easy

A lot of rendering machines have an extendable hose pump, which means that when you’re using scaffolding you can reach the upper levels with the spray machine with no problems.

 

 

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solid wall insulation london

Reasons to Install Solid Wall Insulation in London

London is a busy, bustling and expensive place, and so those who are lucky enough to own properties in the capital are looking for ways to save on money and improve the value of their homes. One of the best ways to achieve both of these things is solid wall insulation, so we’re going to talk a bit about why exactly solid wall insulation is perfect for the London homeowner.

Higher Property Prices

London is renowned for its high property prices, so if you’ve managed to get yourself on the property ladder in London then you may be looking at ways that you can improve on your investment.

Solid wall insulation (SWI) is a great solution, as it can dramatically improve the energy performance of your property, which in turn can increase its value. The higher your EPC rating at the time of sale, the more appealing your property will be to future owners.

On top of this, giving the building itself a bit of a facelift can also work wonders on making it more appealing for future buyers.

Greater Levels of Pollution

Because of the fact that London is a busy place, there are greater levels of pollution which can play havoc with your nice coloured render finish.

Choosing to have solid wall insulation installed means that you can choose a hydrophobic, self cleaning render as your decorative finish. This type of render is very good at maintaining a clean finish, so you’re less likely to see discolouration due to pollution. Our Premium Bio Silicone Render is the best at maintaining a clean finish – you can check it out here.

Grey Concrete Jungle

London is a big city, some might call it a ‘concrete jungle,’ so a nice fresh render would ensure that your property stands out from the grey crowd.

Higher Cost of Living – Save Money on Bills

London is more expensive, and the cost of living is higher than the rest of the country. This means people are looking for ways to reduce their monthly expenditures, and solid wall insulation is a great solution.

Installing SWI means that you can reduce your energy consumption every month, while still maintaining a comfortable temperature within your home. Solid wall insulation can save a detached property up to £400 a year on energy bills, giving you a little extra leeway.

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external wall insulation 2019

Is External Wall Insulation worth it in 2019?

2019 is here, and with it comes a lot of uncertainty. For homeowners out there, it can be a difficult decision whether or not to make an investment in something like external wall insulation – while the benefits of EWI are vast, it’s not a cheap process.

We’ve put together a list of reasons for why external wall insulation is worth investing in, so read on if you want to be convinced…

  1. Rising Energy Prices

Some of the biggest concerns for people are the threat of energy prices rising even higher than they already are. Energy prices go up by 5% each year, and with Brexit on the horizon applying pressure to all sectors, it’s likely that we will see a change in energy prices.

In these circumstances, you can either vow to switch off everything and cope with it, or you can be ahead of the game. Invest in an energy-saving measure such as external wall insulation, and you can ensure that any future money spent on heating was well-spent rather than wasted.

  1. Housing Crisis

In 2019, new-build properties are being vastly criticised for their apparent low-quality. There are definitely pros and cons of investing in new-builds, however their re-sale values tend to be static for the first five years. Investing in older properties that require a little bit more TLC is the preferable choice for many buyers; external wall insulation is a great way to boost the efficiency and subsequent value of the property, bringing it in line with new-build standards while also giving it a bit of a facelift.

  1. Climate Change

Climate change is being talked about more and more in the media, portrayed as a looming threat that needs to be dealt with immediately. This leaves everyday people on the ground wondering what on earth they can possibly do to prevent this oncoming disaster, besides the standard solutions.

External wall insulation is an good option to go for, especially for those who live in properties with a very low energy efficiency. EWI will reduce your energy consumption, improve your carbon footprint and save you money on bills – it’s a no-brainer. There are even EWI systems that are environmentally friendly, such as our Wood Fibre insulation system.

2019 is looking to be a year of uncertainty, but we hope that this won’t stop people investing in being more environmentally conscious and energy aware. If you’re curious about external wall insulation and how exactly it’s installed, give us a call and we would be happy to have a chat with you.

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Health and Safety when Installing EWI

Tools On-Site

When working on a render or EWI project, electric tools are often used for things like mixing adhesive, cutting EPS boards etc. However, things can so easily go wrong with this type of tool, so it’s imperative to follow safety guidelines.

  • All electrical tools need to be operating at 110 volts
  • Ensure that all workers are fully trained on how to use the tools
  • All tools should be in good condition
  • Ensure you are using the right tools for the job

Clothing

Appropriate clothing should be worn at all times to minimise the risk of accidents. Workers should wear the following attire:

  • High-Vis
  • Hard hat
  • Protective boots
  • Face mask (for when mixing product)
  • Protective gloves for use with Mineral Wool

Scaffolding

Working at height presents a big risk to workers, so appropriate procedures need to be in place to ensure that the scaffolding is safe for use, and it being used correctly.

  • Ensure that boards are in good condition and securely placed
  • Ensure scaffolding is strong enough
  • Use appropriate guard rails and/or protective mesh
  • Use safety harnesses if necessary
  • Ensure scaffolding is tied to the wall securely
  • Do not climb or stretch over guard rails
  • Display a warning if the scaffolding should not be used

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Why We Train Our Sales Team on How to Install EWI

At EWI Store, giving great technical advice and having a thorough understanding of our products is an essential component of what we do. We never want to sell you something you don’t need, so we provide our sales staff with comprehensive training all about the products and installation of the systems so that you are always in safe hands.

Technical Guidance

Having a technical understanding of how to actually install the materials is an essential skill for our sales staff. We take hundreds of calls every day from installers looking to either make a purchase or enquire about the best methods of installation for various materials.

Training Facilities

Every new member of staff is taken through our complete training course. This includes the theoretical side of learning, as well as the practical side of using the materials themselves to follow the steps of installation.

Thorough Understanding of the Materials

When installing external wall insulation it’s essential to get the materials right – and it’s not just the installers who need to be experts! All installers will know that using the wrong materials can cause a very negative result, so it’s imperative for us to provide you with the right materials for the right circumstances.

Quality Materials and Quality Service

If you’re looking for a company who not only stock the best materials, but are also able to tell you exactly how to use them, then you’ve come to the right place! If you hit a snag during your project, we’re more than happy to help – so give us a call!

 

textured render finish

Choosing a Textured Render Finish

There are so many great options for achieving a textured render finish. Whether it’s a thin coat render, dash render or scratch render, we can provide a wide range of solutions to produce an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Textured thin coat render

EWI Pro’s thin coat render range is highly customisable. Customers can choose the render that offers the most suitable benefits for their property; for example, crack resistance or self-cleaning capabilities.

Thin coat render technology is known for being flexible and crack resistant, so it’s a real customer favourite! Each of our thin coat renders can be tinted to create any colour (including RAL and NCS colours).

The great thing about thin coat renders is that they also have grains within the product. These grains come in different sizes, so customers can select the grain size to achieve varying levels of texture depending upon their preference.

The bigger the grain size, the more textured and rough the render appears – read our ultimate guide to render grain sizes here.

Available grain sizes: 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm and 3mm.

Monocouche Scratch Render

Monocouche Scratch Render is a dry-mix, polymer modified, thick coat render. It is applied at an approximate thickness of around 16mm before it is left to set and then scratched back 2mm to achieve its typical textured finish. Because it’s a dry-mix render, the Monocouche Scratch Render provides a chalky, sandstone effect with a dappled surface due to the fact that it has been scratched back.

Dash Render

Our Dash Receiver is a one coat solution creating a rough textured, pebbledash finish. Pebbledash, or Dash Render, is a type of render top coat that consists of a cementitious adhesive that is applied to the wall before pebbles and/or stone fragments are thrown at it. The result is an even spread of stones, stuck to the surface of the building to create a highly abrasive, textured render finish.

The Dash Receiver was designed to be used specifically for creating this textured render finish; it offers advanced adhesion, so will maintain its hold on the pebbles and reduce the chances of the dash aggregates (pebbles) falling off the surface over time.

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Materials Required for Rendering onto ICF

What is ICF?

ICF (Insulating Concrete Form) are hollow foam blocks that are stacked into shape, reinforced with rebar steel and then filled with concrete. The ICF blocks combine the thermal capabilities of EPS insulation with the strength of concrete and rebar steel, creating airtight, energy efficient and outstandingly structurally stable walls.

Unlike external wall insulation, when it comes to ICF blocks the insulation is already part of the substrate. However, the exterior polystyrene is not weatherproof and therefore needs finishing with a coloured render system.

Installing a coloured render system is a process of many stages, so we’ve put together a shopping list so that you know exactly what you need!


Priming the substrate:

Skip the primer – ICF is a foam insulation and therefore does not been priming


Applying the Beading:

We have a broad range or render beads that should be selected and applied as necessary to strengthen the substrate. The required beads will depend on the property:


Applying the Basecoat:

For render-only systems, we recommend using the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat. This is our strongest and most durable basecoat.

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


Embedding the Mesh:

Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat for extra reinforcement. This will ensure the system remains crack resistant.

Coverage rates:

1x50m2 roll covers 42.5m2 when overlapped


Priming the Basecoat:

A render primer should be used to increase the adhesion of the render to the basecoat. The type of primer will depend on the type of render you are using. For a Silicone Silicate system, we recommend using the SiSi Render Primer.

Coverage:

1x7L bucket covers 20m2

1x21L bucket covers 60-70m2

Drying times:

12-24 hours


Applying the render topcoat:

Once the primer is dry, the render topcoat can be applied. We recommend using either the Silicone Silicate Render or the Silicone Render.

Coverage:

1.0mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 10m2

1.5mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 7-10m2

Drying times:

24 hours (+)

 

3 Mistakes Homeowners Make When Installing EWI

  1. Choosing the Wrong Insulation Thickness

When choosing thicknesses of insulation, customers often make the mistake of choosing to go for a 50mm EPS insulation. Installers may or may not advise against this, but usually this isn’t the best choice if this is the only type of insulation on the walls of your home.

In order to meet building regulations, 90mm of EPS would usually be required for a solid wall property. Any thicknesses below this will have a much less noticeable effect on the thermal comfort of the property. If in doubt always speak to a professional – we are more than happy to give technical advice, so give us a call if you need help.

  1. Choosing a Non-Breathable Render

Certain non-breathable renders, such as Acrylic render, are certainly more cost-effective. However, these renders tend to be much less effective at maintaining a clean appearance. Breathable silicone-based renders are renowned for being highly hydrophobic, which enables them to maintain a clean finish for a longer span of time – so essentially your maintenance costs are vastly reduced as you won’t have to clean or re-paint the render nearly as much.

 The silicone-based renders on the other hand will cost more but require far less upkeep. On top of this, Silicone Render is breathable – it allows water vapour from inside to pass through its surface rather than becoming trapped in the wall behind. This is a much better option in terms of reducing the risk of damp and interstitial condensation.

  1. No Specification

At EWI Store, we always recommend getting your project specified.

Going to the manufacturer and getting your project specified as a first step is essential to making sure your system is warrantied. If the installer does not have the specification, an error in installation may occur which could void the warranty of the system. This can be anything from fixing patterns, basecoat thickness and even omitting Fibreglass Mesh.

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rendering brickwork

Materials Required for Rendering onto Brickwork

Installing a thin coat render system is a process of many stages, so we’ve put together a shopping list of the materials required for rendering onto brickwork so that you know exactly what you need!


1. Priming the substrate:

A brickwork substrate tends to be very porous, and so it will need priming with the Water Based Primer. We recommend applying this to the substrate by roller or brush. However, if you are rendering onto a very smooth substrate then we recommend applying the EWI-310 Universal Primer, as this contains aggregates which will provide a rough surface for the basecoat to adhere to. Ensuring that your substrate is adequately prepared is essential to ensuring that your render system will last.

Coverage rates:

5 litres covers 15-30m2 depending on the substrate.

Drying times:

1 coat takes 4 hours to dry.


2. Levelling the substrate:

Is the brickwork damaged or very uneven in places? You may want to consider levelling off the surface or filling any cracks using the EWI-269 Lightweight Basecoat. This is a great choice for levelling as it can be applied up to 20mm in one pass so can easily achieve a completely smooth surface for your new render to be applied onto. It is also a lime-based product, so it’s great for use as a substrate leveller because it contains lime, which means that it is incredibly breathable and will allow water vapour to pass through its surface. If your brickwork substrate does not need levelling, then you can skip this stage altogether.

Coverage rates:

At 5mm thick, 5.5kg of dry mix basecoat will cover approximately 1m²

Drying times:

48 hours


3. Applying the Beading:

Beading is essential for reinforcing external areas that are more prone to damage, for example the corners and the areas around windows and doors. The required beads will depend on the property and which particular areas need reinforcing. We have a broad range of render beads that should be selected and applied as necessary, our beads are uPVC and are designed to be embedded within the basecoat layer.


4. Applying the Basecoat:

For render-only systems, we recommend using the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat. This is our strongest and most durable basecoat, proving a vapour-permeable, smooth and strong surface for the render to be applied to. The EWI-225 contains reinforcing fibres within the product, so choosing this product means choosing an increased adhesion and a long-lasting finish.

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


5. Embedding the Mesh:

Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat for extra reinforcement. This will ensure the system remains crack resistant.

Coverage rates:

1x50m2 roll covers 42.5m2 when overlapped


6. Priming the Basecoat:

A render primer should be used to increase the adhesion of the render to the basecoat, and can be tinted to match the colour of your render for an increased opacity. The type of primer will depend on the type of render you are using. For a Silicone Silicate system, we recommend using the SiSi Render Primer which comes in two different bucket sizes. 

Coverage:

1x7L bucket covers 20m2

1x21L bucket covers 60-70m2

Drying times:

12-24 hours


7. Applying the render topcoat:

Once the primer is dry, the render topcoat can be applied. We recommend using either the Premium Bio Silicone Render or the Silicone Render. These are both intended for creating a decorative finish; they are through-coloured with grains suspended within the mixture in a range of different sizes to achieve the desired texture. Premium Bio Silicone is our highest performing render, offering advanced self-cleaning capabilities that tackle any signs of organic growth on the substrate, and extra UV resistance for a long-lasting finish. Silicone render, on the other hand, is the ideal choice for a quality finish at great value. Both of these options are vapour permeable and highly flexible, so are ideal for ensuring that there are no problems with damp.

Coverage:

1.0mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 10m2

1.5mm grain size: 1x25kg bucket covers c. 7-10m2

Drying times:

24 hours (+)


 

Kingspan K5

Tips for Installing Kingspan K5 Insulation

Kingspan K5 is new to our product line-up, so we’ve put together a few tips for installers to bear in mind when installing this type of insulation as part of external wall insulation systems.

Securing Kingspan K5 Boards to the Substrate

When using Kingspan K5 insulation boards, installers should use the Premium Basecoat as an adhesive. This needs to be dotted and dabbed (in the usual method) on the back of the boards.

The real difference between installing K5 boards and EPS boards is that K5 cannot be rasped because it has a glass tissue outer facing. This means that any slight imperfections cannot be levelled using the rasp. The boards therefore need to be perfectly aligned during application to ensure that they are completely flat – otherwise you will be able to see the joints underneath the render. To do this, you’ll need a long spirit level and a fair amount of patience and strength.

To ensure this level of accuracy, the boards need to be cut very precisely – you can’t use a hot wire cutter with K5 boards so it’ll have to be done by hand. Once they are secured to the substrate, any slight cracks should be filled with a spray foam, which should then be smoothed out (note: never fill cracks using the adhesive).

We recommend using the metal pin screw fixings (as opposed to hammer fixings) because the K5 boards are far more tough than EPS, and the screw fixings are guaranteed to achieve a flat finish.

Applying the Basecoat to Kingspan K5 Boards

With external wall insulation, you cannot put a levelling coat on top of insulation boards. Any basecoats thicker than 3-5mm will crack – the basecoat is not for levelling it is for enhancing the tensile strength of the system. This really heightens the importance of getting a level surface with the insulation boards, as any basecoats over 5mm thick will void a system warranty.

Because of the glass tissue outer facing, it’s slightly harder to apply the basecoat to the K5 boards than with EPS. If you’ve installed Mineral Wool before, this shouldn’t be a problem. All you have to do is section by section apply a very thin, flat layer of the basecoat before applying the second notched layer (taking it up to the maximum 5mm) and embedding the mesh.

Once the basecoat reinforcement layer has gone off, the render can be applied in the usual way. The end result should be a cosier home with a seamless render finish!

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OCDC

The Best Way to Get Rid of Pebbledash – OCDC!

Do you live in a pebbledash property? Bored of it looking tired and dated? Can’t afford to remove the pebbledash? Our One Coat Dash Cover (OCDC) is the perfect solution to cover up old pebbledash and give your property a modern look.

The One Coat Dash Cover has just arrived in stock, so we’re going to tell you all about it. It’s the cheapest, easiest, and safest way to get rid of the pebbledash look.

Rather than hacking off existing pebbledash, which is an expensive process and can damage the external walls of your property, the One Coat Dash Cover is simply applied on top to achieve a smooth, flat surface.

What is Pebbledash?

Pebbledash became popular in the 1920’s, when contractors were looking for ways to build houses as quickly and cheaply as possible. The pebbledash allowed them to hide poor quality brickwork, and unfortunately it’s not something that ages particularly well. Eventually, the pebbles drop off and the whole facade looks tired and dated.

The actual process of installing pebbledash is very easy – a sand and cement render is applied to the walls before pebbles are ‘dashed’ or thrown at the wall to achieve a rough texture and a hard-wearing finish.

How does OCDC work?

You may have just bought a pebbledash property, or your existing pebbledash may just be looking very tired and worn. Either way, OCDC provides a solution for you.

OCDC is applied directly on top of the existing pebbledash, and can then be painted or rendered with a thin coat render to completely transform and modernise the look of the property.

The One Coat Dash Cover can be applied up to 25mm thick in each pass, up to a maximum of 50mm thick. This is more than enough to cover over every type of pebbledash, and you can even embed Fibreglass Mesh within the OCDC for extra crack resistance.

The basecoat is highly breathable and will allow trapped moisture within the existing render to escape, preventing any issues with damp further down the line.

Shop the OCDC Product Now!

waterproof render

The Most Waterproof Render?

Modern technology has enabled us to manufacture highly waterproof renders, and the demand is for them is high.

We’ve spoken a lot about how old-fashioned sand and cement renders are renowned for causing problems with damp – they’re essentially an accident waiting to happen. The render itself eventually becomes waterlogged and full of cracks, which causes never-ending problems, and in some cases structural issues.

This means that when homeowners actually get around to re-rendering their property, they want to upgrade to the strong stuff that won’t crack and is highly waterproof.

For areas that are continuously wet and damp, careful consideration should go into which modern render you choose. If your existing render is ineffective, these kind wet of conditions can have a visibly negative effect on the building and the appearance of the render itself, with excessive organic growth sitting on the surface of the render and mouldy damp patches on the internal walls.

For these kinds of situations, we have the perfect render!

Choosing a Waterproof Render – The Premium Bio Silicone Render

The Premium Bio Silicone Render is our most hydrophobic render. It is incredibly waterproof, which means that water is repelled from the surface of the render rather than being absorbed into the material. When water hits the surface, it forms droplets that roll straight off.

This significantly reduces the formation of organic growth and problems with damp over the lifespan of the render, keeping it looking fresh and clean for longer. To further support the prevention of damp, Premium Bio has also been manufactured to be very flexible, crack resistant and impact resistant. It’s therefore far less likely to form cracks that will enable the passing of water through the walls.

As we have previously discussed, silicone-based renders (such as our Premium Bio Silicone and our classic Silicone) are known for being both waterproof and breathable; breathability is an important factor for ensuring that moisture can easily escape from the building. Water vapour can build up within a building, and so a balance between ventilation and permeable building materials must be created in order to ensure that damp does not become a problem.

Premium Bio Silicone Render comes in a variety of grain sizes to achieve the texture that you prefer, and it can also be tinted to create any shade of colour.

How to Install Waterproof Render?

A waterproof render needs to pair with a waterproof, breathable and high strength basecoat. This means that our Premium Basecoat is the best thing for the job.

The Premium Basecoat is trowelled onto the substrate to form the reinforcement layer, with a Fibreglass Mesh embedded within it. The Premium Bio Silicone Render is then applied on top once the basecoat has set.

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foam insulation

Types of Foam Insulation for EWI

Foam insulation is a highly versatile material with a wide range of applications. Due to its excellent thermal capabilities, polystyrene is commonly used in EWI (external wall insulation) systems to improve the thermal performance of houses.

In today’s post, we’re going to be laying out the facts and comparing the three types of foam insulation that are commonly used for EWI – EPS, XPS and PIR!

Expanded Polystyrene Insulation (EPS)

  • EPS (expanded polystyrene) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam insulation which is manufactured by the expansion process. It is usually white or grey (known as graphite EPS) and is made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads.
  • It is arguably the most versatile of all rigid foam insulation boards because it can be used in Roof, Wall, Floor, Below Grade and Structural applications such as EWI (external wall insulation) and pipe insulation.
  • 98% air because it is not very dense. The air pockets in the insulation board are what makes it great insulation.
  • Lightweight so reduces fuel consumption when being transported.
  • Can be recycled.
  • Low pollution manufacturing process because steam and water are the key ingredients for producing EPS, the water is reused many times so there is no waste.
  • Maintains thermal conductivity for the length of its life.
  • Inert and innocuous – it does not biodegrade and leach chemicals into landfill water systems or gases into the air that might contribute to global warming

Extruded Polystyrene Insulation (XPS)

  • XPS (extruded polystyrene) is closed-cell rigid foam insulation, manufactured by the extrusion process. The plastic resin is liquefied, then extruded through a die to form a closed-cell material that uses trapped air as its insulating medium.
  • XPS has a high compressive strength due to the density of the foam and is therefore suitable for use in wall, floor and roof applications.
  • It is often used in wetter environments as it is more waterproof than EPS due to its closed-cell structure.
  • Won’t support mould and mildew growth – a highly hygienic foam insulating material as it also won’t release toxins.
  • Long-term, stable thermal conductivity, so its performance will not degrade over time.
  • Can be successfully recycled where facilities exist.

Polyisocyanurate Insulation (PIR)

  • PIR (polyisocyanurate) is an insulation board that offers a high level of thermal protection for your home.
  • PIR is made of closed-cell rigid foam with injected gas.
  • The foam board is then sandwiched with materials such as fibreglass, aluminium foil or other organic materials.
  • Can be used on flat and pitched roofs, floors, walls and cavity insulation.
  • The types of PIR boards that you can get include: foil-faced PIR boards; Cavity PIR boards; Mineral-coated, glass-faced or bonded to plywood PIR boards and finally floor, walls and roof insulation boards.
  • Releases nontoxic gas which can reduce the thermal conductivity over time, thereby meaning it may need replacing and reinstalling.
  • In some cases, has shown signs of delaminating.

Thermal Performance of Foam Insulation

Insulation material:Thermal performance:
EPS0.032W/(m2K)
XPS0.034W/(m2K)
PIR0.023W/M2K

 

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silicone renders

Silicone Silicate vs. Silicone vs. Premium Bio Silicone Renders

Polymer-modified silicone renders are extremely popular on the market today. These renders tend to be more high performing than their traditional sand and cement counterpart, offering greater crack resistance and increased longevity. Not only this, polymer modified silicone renders can be tinted to produce any shade.

With so many varieties of silicone-based renders on the market, it can be pretty confusing about which one to settle on. At EWI Store, our top three renders are those that contain silicone, and each of them offers different things.

Silicone Silicate Render

This is what you may call an ‘entry-level’ silicone render. Silicone Silicate Render is somewhat a hybrid in that it is part silicone and part silicate. This means that it still has the same level of breathability as other silicones, but it is less hydrophobic and therefore less self-cleaning. On the other hand, due to the fact that it’s a ‘hybrid,’ Silicone Silicate is our best value render for price and performance.

  • Breathable
  • Water-repelling
  • Flexible
  • Great value

Silicone Render

The classic, widely renowned Silicone Render takes pride of place on our (always well-stocked with quality materials) warehouse shelves. This is undoubtedly our most popular thin coat render, offering enhanced levels of breathability and self-cleaning capabilities that ensure it stands apart from other renders.

  • Breathable
  • Hydrophobic
  • Self-cleaning
  • Frostproof
  • Flexible

Premium Bio Silicone Render

Jumping from one quality render to another, the Premium Bio Silicone Render is the most advanced thin coat render in the EWI Pro catalogue. This is your all-singing, all-dancing version of the classic silicone with its ability to actively tackle organic growth, its enhanced UV resistance and increased impact resistance. This is ideal for if your property is situated in an area of high vegetation and exposure to organic growth.

  • Breathable
  • Increased resistance to plant growth
  • Hydrophobic
  • UV resistant
  • Impact resistant
  • Flexible

How do I choose a coloured render?

Browse our catalogue and website for information about our full range of materials. Bear in mind budget, the age of your property, its current condition and the kind of look that you want to go for.

Take a look at our colour charts to choose a colour and a grain size. You can order a free paper colour chart, or our render-sample colour chart to get an idea of our range of colours.

Order a coloured render sample pot. We recommend that customers always do this before going ahead with their purchase. Choosing a colour for your entire house is a big decision, and it’s important to get it right the first time!

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thermal cladding

The Best Type of Thermal Cladding for Houses

Thermal cladding for houses is essentially just another way of saying external wall insulation. Lots of homeowners are on the hunt for materials that can help them to improve the thermal comfort and performance of their homes – insulation that can effectively reduce annual energy bills so that the ongoing struggle of cold home vs. high bills is reduced.

At EWI Store, we’re all about helping homeowners achieve this goal. We not only provide the thermal cladding systems that will reduce energy bills, but we can also recommend an approved installer to carry out the work.

External wall insulation (or thermal cladding) is made up of insulation boards that are fixed to the exterior walls of your home using mechanical fixings and a special adhesive. A layer of the render is then applied on top of the boards to provide a decorative finish and protect the system against the weather.

Thermal Cladding: What are the benefits?

Thermal cladding systems such as the ones that we offer can provide your home with numerous benefits:

  • Improved thermal comfort
  • Decreased energy bills
  • Improved external appearance
  • Warmer walls – less condensation and damp
  • Prolonged building lifespan
  • Save floor space
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Acoustic insulation and fire resistant (Mineral Wool systems)

Insulation Materials for Thermal Cladding

We stock five types of insulation for thermal cladding systems, all of which offer different benefits and have different thermal capabilities. Your choice of insulation can depend on a number of factors, whether it’s a breathable insulation material or insulation with high compressive strength. We offer the following types of insulation board:

How is Thermal Cladding Installed?

The actual process of installation should really only take 2-3 weeks depending upon the weather, with minimal disruptions to daily life (the work is all external so you can carry on as normal). The adhesive is essentially a cementitious product, so it comes as a powder and its mixed with water before being applied to the back of the insulation boards with a trowel. The boards are secured to the external wall in a staggered formation, left to dry, then the mechanical fixings are inserted.

On top of the insulation boards goes the basecoat. The adhesive used to secure the boards to the wall usually works as a dual-purpose product, so this can also be used to form the basecoat reinforcement layer. It’s applied with a trowel to the boards (roughly 6-8mm thick) and a Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within it for extra tensile strength and crack resistance.

Last but not least, the decorative render is applied. This is usually a thin coat, ready-mixed render which provides a decorative finish and protects the insulation system by ensuring it is waterproof. We use EWI Pro thin coat renders, which can be tinted to create any shade of colour, so the result is an attractive finish and a high-performance insulation system. EWI Pro offers six different thin coat renders:

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mineral wool vs. wood fibre

Wood Fibre vs. Mineral Wool EWI

Surprisingly, when it comes to comparing insulation materials it isn’t all about how well they insulate. Thermal performance obviously comes into play, but there are other important factors to consider when choosing an insulation material for your EWI system.

At EWI Store, we offer five kinds of insulation materials: XPS, EPS, Kingspan K5, Wood Fibre and Mineral Wool. In today’s blog post, we’re going to go in-depth by taking a look at how Mineral Wool and Wood Fibre compare when placed side by side. 

Thermal Performance

Wood Fibre offers excellent performance with its thermal conductivity of 0.043 [W/(mK)]. As well as this, Wood Fibre also offers something called a decrement delay, which is how long it takes for the energy of the sun to pass through. Many people think that all insulation keeps you cool in the summer, which is a myth. However, Wood Fibre does and this decrement delay depends on the thickness of the board.

On the other hand, Mineral Wool insulation has a thermal conductivity of 0.036 [W/(m2K)]. One of the key benefits of choosing to install a Mineral Wool system is that not only is it a fantastic thermal insulator, but Mineral Wool also offers acoustic insulation. This is because of the fact that the material is so hard wearing; the fibres within the Mineral Mool allow for pockets where air becomes trapped and thus acts as an insulator.

Breathability

In breathable systems, the insulation materials are arranged in such a way that the layers become increasingly more vapour permeable from the inside to the outside so that moisture can safely escape from within the house. This creates a harmonious climate within the house where moisture and the risk of damp are reduced.

This is indeed the case for both Wood Fibre and Mineral Wool, as both types of insulation are breathable and are made of layers with different densities.

Due to its excellent breathability, Wood Fibre Insulation is perfect when used with a timber frame property, because it is a vapour-open building material. It’s essential for a building to be able to breathe in order to prevent damp and maintain structural integrity. Wood Fibre insulation is able to regulate the passage of water through the building structure, allowing for the diffusion of water vapour and preventing any detrimental moisture build-up within the property and the EWI system.

On the other hand, Mineral Wool insulation is also a vapour open material, offering increased breathability. The presence of fibres and water-repelling compounds within the Mineral Wool wick moisture and water vapour through the material away from the substrate, allowing it to escape. Mineral Wool is non-hygroscopic, which basically means that it pushes water away.

Environmental Impact

Wood Fibre insulation is an extremely sustainable and renewable material. We source our Wood Fibre Insulation boards from a company called Pavatex, who are certified by the renowned nature plus standard – the European quality standard for building materials set up by the WWF, FSC and Greenpeace.

All of the timber used for their Diffutherm Wood Fibre Insulation boards comes from waste timber cuttings and their entire manufacture process aims to be as eco-friendly as possible. The finished boards are recyclable and compostable.

Rockwool is also made from a renewable, naturally occurring resource – volcanic rock. The insulation boards themselves are also 97% recyclable, which is slightly less than Wood Fibre’s status as 100% recyclable and compostable, yet is nevertheless still impressive!

Fire Resistance

We source our Mineral Wool insulation boards from Rockwool, who offer the most non-combustible insulation material on the market. The boards have the highest Euroclass Fire Rating of A1 and are even installed as a firebreak on high rise buildings with EWI.

The Fire Resistance of Wood Fibre Insulation is rated at Class E, which is very similar to other insulating materials. However, Pavatex state that their Diffutherm Wood Fibre Insulation goes above other insulating materials because of the fact that it slows down the spread of fire. This is because the Wood Fibre is timber, which chars instead of burning. The charred exterior of the board creates a barrier which stops oxygen passing through and feeding the flames, thereby slowing the spread of fire.

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cutting EPS

The Best Way to Cut EPS Insulation

If you’re an EWI installer, you’ll know that cutting EPS (expanded polystyrene insulation) can be a right pain. EPS is a kind of polystyrene insulation, so as you can imagine as soon as you bring a knife to it the result is a messy, jagged cut with bits of polystyrene all over the place. This really isn’t ideal, especially for works like EWI where gaps between boards can cause thermal bridging and decrease the efficiency of the system.

Many of our installers stick to the old fashioned method of plan old knife or saw, however for those who install EPS regularly and are fed up with the mess we have a couple of solutions that could save you a lot of time and hassle on-site!

Using the hot wire cutter on EPS insulation

We’re all about making life easier for installers, which is why we really recommend investing in the hot wire cutter. This little bit of machinery totally eliminates the ongoing issue of EPS offcuts blowing about everywhere; the hot wire cutter is incredibly precise and is adjustable to fit full-size insulation boards.

As the name suggests, it uses heat to melt the insulation, slicing through the boards to provide a perfect cut. This means that you can get perfectly straight lines for corners and detailed areas. Using a hot wire cutter is also massively time-saving – the EPS slides straight through the hot wire like a knife through butter. Installers who use this tool find a massive reduction in time spent cutting boards, as well as significantly less wastage of EPS!

This is an incredibly useful piece of machinery that all seasoned installers rave about!

Precision cutting: the hot knife cutter

The hot knife cutter is based on the same premise as the hot wire cutter; it uses heat to melt the insulation. The slight difference here is that with the hot knife cutter you angle the blade by hand, so you have a level of mobility that allows you to cut certain shapes that the hot wire cutter restricts.

The hot knife cutter possibly requires a little bit more skill during use, however, it enables installers to cut with a level of precision and versatility. We recommend that the hot knife cutter is perfect for cutting insulation boards to fit around fixtures and pipes etc.

The spring weather is just around the corner, so prepare for your upcoming EWI jobs by making sure you have everything you need. If you’re interested in hot wire tools, give our sales team a call on 02033974067!

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benefits of kingspan

5 Benefits of Using Kingspan Insulation for EWI

While the benefits of installing EWI are numerous, choosing the right insulation material for both your property and your own requirements is essential. At EWI Store, we’ve recently started stocking Kingspan K5 insulation boards, which offer a different array of advantages for end-users. Our insulation range covers EPS, XPS, Mineral Wool, Wood Fibre… and now excitingly Kingspan K5! We’re delighted to be able to offer even more choice for customers.

As a result of this recent addition, we’ve had lots of enquiries regarding the properties and advantages of this type of insulation, so we’re going to take a look at the five key benefits of choosing Kingspan insulation boards for your EWI system!

1. High Compressive Strength

Kingspan boards are known for their high compressive strength. This means that the boards have an excellent level of impact resistance, so if you have children who are likely to kick footballs at your wall then this is a great option.

2. Advanced thermal performance

Kingspan insulation boards offer excellent thermal performance. Compared to EPS where you would need 90mm to reach building regulations, just 60mm of Kingspan insulation can bring your property in line with regulations.

3. Resistance to Moisture

Because phenolic boards have a closed cell structure, they are very waterproof. This means that water cannot get into the material so the risk of damp and mould growth is low.

4. Environmentally Friendly

Kingspan K5 insulation is made of high-quality phenolic foam. It’s CFC and HCFC free and has an ozone depletion potential of zero. Its environmental impact is therefore very low for a foam insulation material.

5. Great fire resistance

Kingspan K5 boards have a class 0 fire rating, defined as ‘medium risk’. K5 boards will prevent the spread of flames and emit low levels of smoke and toxic gasses – they are therefore capable of meeting building regulations.

Looking for a bit more technical information about Kingspan K5 boards? Give our sales team a call, they can tell you everything there is to know and provide a good overview of how these boards compare with the rest of our insulation range.

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parge coat

Using the Levelling Mortar for a Parge Coat

When it comes to creating a parge coat, the Levelling Mortar is an installer favourite; it’s an incredibly versatile product that is suitable for a number of different projects and substrates. The mortar is a cement-based product that can be applied up to 50mm thick. It is highly waterproof and frost proof and can be applied by trowel or spray machine.

So whether you’re filling cracks in the walls of an older building, or creating a parge coat on new blockwork, the Levelling Mortar is great for creating a smooth surface before rendering. We’re going to be talking about a few situations in which the Levelling Mortar should be used to create a parge coat.

Creating a Parge Coat on New Build Blockwork

When rendering new build blockwork, a levelling layer (parge coat) is required to fill in the mortar joints and create a smooth surface. The Levelling Mortar should be used to achieve this, as it can be applied thickly enough to smooth other the joints (as opposed to the basecoat reinforcement layer, which would be too thin).

The wall should be primed prior to starting any works; the type of primer you use depends on the substrate, but for new blockwork, we recommend using the Water Based Primer. Once this has dried, apply the Levelling Mortar onto the blockwork using a trowel or spray machine, smoothing it out as you go. You can apply the mortar up to a thickness of 50mm, depending upon your requirements. Once it has set, you can continue by applying the reinforcement layer (premium basecoat) and render.

Using the Levelling Mortar to Repair a Substrate

When re-rendering a property, frequently the old render has to be hacked off before the new render can be applied. This is most common when houses have been rendered with a sand and cement or pebbledash finish, as the material is most likely to result in cracks and fall to disrepair.

The difficulty with hacking off an old sand and cement render is that it’s very hard to ensure that the wall underneath remains completely intact. Even if there is no damage, the surface itself is likely to be very uneven and have cracks within it. This is where the Levelling Mortar is extremely handy.

You can use the mortar for filling any cavities in the wall, and for creating a parge coat in order to level off the wall before rendering. The finished result should be a completely smooth surface and a rendered facade without imperfections!

Building up Render Thickness with the Levelling Mortar

Sometimes, people look to render parts of their property (an extension, for example) with the intention of matching the rest of the house. Especially if it’s a second storey, it can be particularly difficult to match up the thickness of the two renders in order to create a smooth, seamless finish between the two areas.

If this is the case and you are looking to install a rendered finish to a certain level of thickness, then the Levelling Mortar is perfect for creating a parge coat to build up the thickness of the system before applying the reinforcement layer and render finish of choice.

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coloured render

3 Easy Steps to Choosing Coloured Render

Choosing a coloured render is a big decision – deciding on a whole new look for your property can be daunting, but we have a few ways that we can assist! Whether it’s our Silicone, Silicone Silicate or Acrylic render, we have a solution for every property.

When choosing an EWI Pro coloured render, follow these three easy steps to ensure a fantastic finish:

1. Choosing the Type of Coloured Render

It isn’t just the colour that varies when it comes to EWI Pro coloured renders. Our renders offer flexibility and crack resistance and can be tinted to create any shade, but there are also different benefits and advantages associated with each render.

For example, EWI Pro’s Silicone Render is one of our top of the range renders, offering breathability, vapour permeability and resistance to organic growth. This is the render of choice for properties old or new and is widely known throughout the industry for its advanced levels of flexibility.

Silicone Silicate Render is a hybrid silicone render and is the choice of most installers. It offers great value with an array of benefits, including breathability, vapour permeability and UV resistance. In terms of comparing Silicone Silicate Render with Silicone Render, the key difference is in their self-cleaning capabilities – Silicone Render offers a higher level of performance in this regard.

Acrylic Render is our best value render, offering impact and UV resistance. The key difference between the Acrylic render and its silicone counterparts is the render’s ability to allow water vapour pass through (its breathability) is less advanced. Nevertheless, Acrylic Render offers users a trusted system and is ideal for those looking for a simple yet aesthetically appealing result.

Monocouche Scratch Render is entirely different to all of the above. Firstly because it is a through-coloured, dry-mix render (therefore it comes in a powder form and requires mixing with water), secondly because it is a thick coat render. Monocouche offers a sandstone, pitted texture and is far more preferable when compared with painted sand and cement render, because of the fact that it is through-coloured.

2. Choosing Colour with a Coloured Render Colour Chart

We have a couple of options when it comes to colour charts. Our render colour chart offers the chance to view real life, vibrant swatches of our colour range. It is £25.00 to purchase, is incredibly sturdy and perfect for installers who will be carrying it from job to job. On the other hand, if you are a homeowner our paper colour chart is perfect for you. We have carefully matched our colours to accurately display them in print.

Both colour charts display the different grain sizes and textures that can be achieved, along with a full and comprehensive layout of the EWI Pro colour catalogue.

Torn between two or three shades? Proceed to step 3.

3. Testing EWI Pro Coloured Renders

Coloured render can look completely different in certain surroundings. Pale coloured renders can appear to reflect the colours in their surroundings; a white rendered property situated next to the ocean may reflect a hint of blue.

At EWI Store, we want our end-users to be satisfied with the finished result of their render installation; we therefore always encourage testing the render before making a final decision.

Interested in our range of coloured renders? Our technical team are on-hand to offer advice and information regarding our systems, so give us a call on 02033974067 for more information!