Author Archives: Anna Hindley

homebuilding renovating farnborough

Come and see us – Farnborough Homebuilding and Renovating Show

We are excited to be kicking off 2019 with our first trade show of the year!

Come and see us at the Farnborough Homebuilding and Renovating Show on the 19th-20th January!

We’re looking forward to talking to lots of homeowners out there who are interested in upgrading both the look and the thermal performance of their properties using our systems.

The Homebuilding and Renovating trade shows are a great time to come along and get some ideas for any renovation projects you may have coming up; we’ll be there with free catalogues to take away, our brand new paper colour charts and more!

So if you’re in the area, we’ll be on stand B101, so come and have a chat to our exhibitors. You can grab your two free tickets by clicking the following link:

https://eventdata.uk/Visitor/HomebuildingFarnborough.aspx?PageNo=1&TrackingCode=EWI%20Store

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

EWI Pro training centre

EWI Pro Training Centre

We are delighted to have updated our training facilities in our Chessington branch! The new Training Centre will enable us to demonstrate all of the detailed aspects of rendering and installing external wall insulation with our technical experts.

Our course leaders will guide you through the systems, offering the technical know-how required for a professional installation. So whether you are looking to brush up on your skills or learn something new, our training centre is the best place to help you achieve your goals.

What will I learn at the EWI Pro Training Centre?

We are well-equipped to teach you and our training courses can be tailored to your needs; are you looking to learn about external wall insulation systems? Render-only systems? Or are you looking for something a bit more specialist?

We can advise you on all sorts of things. Whether it’s the best materials for a variety of situations, or how to properly deal with tricky areas of install.

What are the advantages of attending training?

Attending a training session means that you can walk out a certified installer. That means that we can pass on customer leads to you, offer you better discounts and better warranties. If you’re a regular user of EWI Pro systems, this is a real no-brainer.

What about homeowners?

The EWI Pro Training Centre isn’t only for installers. Homeowners are always welcome to pop in at any time; swing by the Pro training centre to have a cup of tea and a chat with our experts, get some installer recommendations and see how our systems look in the flesh. We can talk you through the process of installation, discuss your property and its varying requirements and offer our tailored recommendations.

Our Chessington branch is just off the A3, so if you’re passing by pop in!

Interested in attending a training session? Call us on 02033974067 to book your place!

Fixings for Mineral Wool External Insulation

Mineral Wool insulation is a great choice for an external wall insulation install; it’s rated as A1 noncombustible, it’s breathable and it has excellent thermal performance.

However, when it comes to EWI it’s essential to get the fixings right to ensure a high level structural stability. Especially with Rockwool (Mineral Wool) insulation, which is a much heavier material than, for example, EPS which is a lightweight expanded polystyrene.  

Mineral Wool is a premium insulation material, but along with the benefits it offers it requires a level of responsibility when installing it.

Metal Fixings for Mineral Wool

Because Mineral Wool is that much heavier, it’s necessary to use metal fixings to secure it to the substrate. The fixing also needs to be thread through a support disc to help spread the load across a greater area.

Reinforcements are essential for installing Mineral Wool insulation. Below you can see a picture of how the fixing should look when installed properly.

As you can see, the fixing is made up of three components. The metal pin, the plastic body and the fixing disc.

The central portion of the plastic ring is the plastic body of the fixing – this is where the metal pin is threaded through. The outer ring of plastic around this is the reinforcement disc:

fixings mineral wool

 

In the following picture, you can see the plastic body of the fixing installed without the metal pin or the reinforcement disc:

wrong fixing mineral wool

 

Fixings come with an exterior plastic body to prevent thermal bridging. Plastic is a poor thermal conductor, and so when installed in an insulation system it works to prevent heat escaping from the walls directly through the fixings.

Thermal bridging is highly detrimental to an insulation system, so every action needs to be taken to ensure that it is reduced to a minimum; using fixings with plastic bodies ensures that the system remains as a effective as possible.

Adhesive for Mineral Wool

At EWI Store, we always advise installers that for Mineral Wool insulation it’s imperative that they use the Premium Basecoat adhesive (rather than our EPS adhesive) for securing the boards to the substrate. This is because the Premium Basecoat contains portland cement which has much higher adhesive capabilities.

 

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heritage properties

External Insulation on Heritage Properties

Heritage properties can be some of the trickiest to work with. Often, there are lots of issues to contend with when it comes to older properties. Quite a few heritage properties have been rendered over with sand and cement, while others are solid wall buildings with very little insulating capabilities.

Today we’re going to be discussing the ideal solution for insulating a heritage property externally – from the actual insulation material itself to the decorative finish.

Heritage properties need breathable materials

Because heritage properties are typically made of porous materials such as sandstone and limestone, they rely on the breathability of these materials to allow moisture to escape from their structures.

Sticking a vapour impermeable sheet of insulation or a cement render onto the building’s walls would only serve to hinder the building’s own functionality. When it comes to external wall insulation, the insulating material needs to be suited to the building fabric – it’s imperative that the materials work in conjunction with each other.

Breathable insulating materials are able to effectively control the moisture that passes through the walls. Therefore, care must be taken when selecting the external wall insulation materials; Wood Fibre insulation is always a great choice for heritage properties as it is completely breathable.

Heritage properties are very often timber frame. Wood Fibre insulation is made from waste timber shavings and is therefore entirely suited to a timber frame property; the materials work together harmoniously to allow the building to breathe.

Thin Coat Renders on Heritage Properties

Thin coat renders are a great way to achieve a decorative, crack-resistant external facade on your home. However, with Heritage properties it’s essential that you choose the right one; although most thin coat renders are polymer modified, some do not offer breathability.

At EWI Store, we always recommend going for a Silicone render as a topcoat to your external wall insulation. This is because it is very breathable and will not hinder the breathability of the system.

If you are simply looking to render the property without insulating, then lime-based renders are definitely the way to go. Lime renders are very traditional and are therefore the ideal material for use with heritage properties.

Lime is an incredibly porous, long lasting material – buildings made of limestone or sandstone will have typically been built using a lime mortar, so a lime render on top will work harmoniously with the rest of the building fabric.

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new years resolutions for installers

New Year’s Resolutions for Installers

Brush up on your skills

If you’re in the business already or you’re just starting out, it never hurts to attend a free training session to brush up on old skills and even learn new ones! EWI Pro training will catch you up on the latest building regulations and techniques to make sure you are the best you can be. There’s also a whole host of benefits associated with attending training – so get in touch to sign up!

Try new things

There’s no greater pleasure than trying out new materials. Whether it’s simply switching to a new brand, or using a newly released product (like our Lightweight Basecoat or Premium Bio Silicone Render), it’s always worth it to try something new to see if you can improve results!

Treat yourself

Pro points is designed to reward you for your hard work. Once you sign up, every purchase you make (every bucket of render, bag of adhesive) rewards you with points which you can save up to claim huge prizes. Simply visit www.ewistore.co.uk/pro-points to sign up today!

Never forget your trade discount

At EWI Store, the more you buy from us the bigger the trade discount we reward you with. Simply become a trade account holder and start with a 10% discount off all future purchases.

Place orders before 12pm

We know what it’s like when you’re in a rush to start a job and you just need to get the materials as quickly as possible. That’s why we offer next day, on-site delivery on all orders placed before mid-day.

Encourage customers to branch out

Shades of white a great, but why not show your customers some more interesting alternatives? We can match to any shade, including NCS and RAL colours, so keep your customers up to date with the latest trends and be sure to offer them our colour matching service.

Don’t be afraid to call for technical support!

Does something just not look quite right? Call us! Our technical team are great with the practical know-how of installing our systems, so if you’re ever unsure you can always give us a ring. If our offices are closed, we have some great install guides in our catalogue and there are also loads of technical drawings available on ewipro.com for you to use.

Plan ahead

Use the materials calculator to plan your projects in advance. It takes only a few minutes and you can get a really good idea of price for materials with very little effort.  

With these new year’s resolutions in mind, join us in 2019 for a year of great materials, great prices and easy delivery!

 

EWI installer

Reasons to become an EWI installer

If you’re a renderer, plasterer or general tradesman, learning how to install external wall insulation and becoming an official EWI installer could be a massive asset to your business. Here’s why…

Large quantities of solid wall properties

There are approximately 7 million solid wall homes in the UK. That means that 7 million homes are inadequately insulated, with high energy bills and tenants who are looking for ways to improve the thermal performance of their homes.

Enter external wall insulation – the ideal solution for increasing the thermal comfort of a solid wall property.

Rising energy prices

With the UK energy crisis, political unrest and rising energy bills, many homeowners are struggling to keep up with the ongoing increase in energy their annual energy bills. As a result, many are turning to energy efficiency for a solution.

Industry awareness of the need for quality installations and materials

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, cladding and external insulation have come under close investigation to ensure that quality is at the core of every installation. This includes not just materials, but adequate skills, supervision and awareness of regulatory standards.

External wall insulation has undoubtedly had its scare stories of installations gone horribly wrong, but the effectiveness of the system once properly installed far outweighs the stories of bodged jobs. Aligning yourself with a recognised quality brand, following their specifications and keeping up to date with offered training courses is the best way to ensure that you are recognised as a reliable installer.

Energy efficiency standards

Energy efficiency standards are getting higher as the threat of climate change persists. With the new MEES regulations on rental properties, it’s only a matter of time before more regulatory standards are put in place. External wall insulation can seriously increase the EPC ratings of properties, so we expect that demand for the service will only increase.

Not only this, but with every regulatory standard comes some kind of funding. We expect that there will be more funding initiatives for external wall insulation that  installers will be able to get on board with in the near future.

How do I become an EWI installer?

If you are already in the building trade, then adding external wall insulation installations to your list of services is pretty easy. There are plenty of manufacturers out there who offer the chance to attend their training courses and get to grips with the system and their materials.

Attend a Training Session

At EWI Store we hold training courses every Thursday for current and potential installers to attend. We train installers on the use of EWI Pro systems – from stage 1 to completion our course is comprehensive enough that by the end you will have a pretty good knowledge of how it all works and fits together.

Technical Support

We don’t just leave installers to get on with it after that though. Things can go wrong on-site, and circumstances can crop up that leaves uncertainty and doubt about what to do – that’s why if you’ve bought your materials from us you can call us at any time to ask technical questions. We have a whole team with experience using our materials, and we have plenty of literature for you to take away and use on-site.

Customer Leads

We also get many customer leads through our website all over the country. People come to us looking for installers, and if they’re in your area then we will recommend you to them.

Trade Discounts

It all works out that we’ll pass leads on to you to drive your business as an EWI installer, and the more you need to buy materials from us to carry out the work, the bigger the trade discount you rack up.

Homeowners in europe have been installing EWI for years, and over in the UK people are only just catching up with the trend. At EWI Store, we really believe in helping UK homeowners catch up on saving energy and reducing their carbon footprint using our insulation systems.

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Happy Christmas from EWI Store!

We want to wish all of our customers a very Happy Christmas!

2018 has been an exciting year for the EWI Store team. It has been a pleasure to work with our installers in 2018; whether you’re a long term user of our systems or you’re new to the brand – we are very excited to see what 2019 will bring!

We hope that everyone has a restful holiday. Our stores will be closed from 22nd Dec – 2nd Jan, but stay tuned for new offers from us in the new year.

Something to look forward to in 2019…

We have lots of exciting events taking place in 2019 – we will once again be exhibiting at the Homebuilding and Renovating shows! The first show is in Farnborough on the 19th-20th January, you can grab two free tickets using this link, so if you are in the area we hope to see you there.

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fibreglass mesh render systems

Why use Fibreglass Mesh in Render Systems?

Fibreglass Mesh is an essential component of our render systems. As demonstrated in the video below, Fibreglass Mesh is a key component of what holds the system all together – without it, you’re seriously missing out on ensuring strength and stability.

Fibreglass Mesh is made of neatly woven fibreglass thread. This type of mesh is widely used in plastering and rendering for wall reinforcement, external wall insulation and roof waterproofing.

There are different grades of Fibreglass Mesh – at EWI Store, we offer our standard mesh or you can go for our high strength panzer mesh. Our alkali-resistant Fibreglass Mesh is commonly used for the purpose of external wall insulation, because the alkali protects it from being broken down by the chemicals in the other mortars and adhesive materials. 

So why is Fibreglass Mesh so integral to a EWI and render systems? What exactly does it do, and where does it go?

Fibreglass Mesh and External Wall Insulation

Fibreglass Mesh sits within the basecoat layer of an EWI system. This is the layer of adhesive mortar that is applied on top of the insulation boards after they have been secured to the substrate; the mesh is embedded within this adhesive before it sets.

Fibreglass Mesh not only offers high strength and good cohesion, it can also prevent cracking within the render – it also works to help hold the insulation boards together.

Why do we overlap Fibreglass Mesh?

During weather and temperature changes, the external walls of your home expand and contract minutely due to the heating and cooling processes. When installing a render system on a property, it’s necessary to consider this wall movement in order to ensure that the system remains crack free.

Embedding Fibreglass Mesh within this layer enhances crack-resistance and overlapping the Fibreglass Mesh increases the flexibility of the whole system and ensures that cracks do not form where there are gaps between the mesh.

Watch the video below to see how we test the strength of our Silicone render system with and without mesh!

 

glossary of render and EWI terminology

Glossary of Render and EWI Terminology

If you’re new to render and EWI, sometimes getting to grips with the terminology can be a bit of a challenge.

AAC

Auto aerated concrete – a lightweight, high performance building block with insulating capabilities and resistance to fire and mold.

Basecoat

The undercoat, used to create a smooth surface before the render/decorative finish is applied.

BBA

British Board of Agrément – a leading notified body, offering approval, certification and test services to manufacturers of products and systems supplying the construction industry.

Beading

Beading is used in rendering, plastering and external wall insulation systems to reinforce weaker areas of the substrate that are prone to cracking/impacts.

Breathable

The ability of a material to allow water to pass through its structure and evaporate.

Dew point

The dew point is the temperature at which water vapour condenses.

DPC/DPM

Damp proof course/damp proof membrane – situated at the base of the wall, the DPC acts as a barrier to prevent moisture rising through the structure from the ground. It is generally made of rubber, plastic or lead, although chemical DPC’s are also available for retrospective installations/repairs.

EPS

Expanded polystyrene insulation.

EML

Expanded metal lathing – a type of metal mesh used for reinforcing plaster and render coats.

EWI

External wall insulation – insulation that is fitted onto a property (usually a solid wall property) before being covered over with a protective render coating.

Fixings

Used to mechanically secure insulation boards to a substrate.

First Pass/Second Pass

‘Passes’ refer to applying separate layers of a material, e.g. first pass/layer of the basecoat.

Grain Size

Grains’ run through certain types thin coat renders. These are available in different sizes, enabling you to choose the level of texture that you prefer.

Go Off

E.g. ‘leave the basecoat to go off’ – means leave the basecoat to dry/set.

Harl coat

A traditional rendering technique, the harl coat is commonly used with lime and aggregates mixed into a slurry consistency before being ‘harled’ at the wall to create a textured finish.

Hydrophobic

A surface that repels water.

Hygroscopic

A substance’s ability to absorb water from its surroundings.

Interstitial Condensation

Occurs when moisture reaches its dew point within the fabric of a material.

ICF

Insulated concrete forms – a modern building material consisting of polystyrene insulation filled with concrete and rebar steel.

Monocouche

Monocouche renders are single coat renders, applied to the outside of a building to create a decorative finish.

Mechanical Key

Creating a mechanical key means creating a surface that is rough/textured so that the next layer can bond to it with greater ease.

Polymer Modified

Polymer modified renders are renders that contain silicone or acrylic additives.

Pebbledash/Dry Dash/Roughcast

A traditional decorative finish. It is created by applying a layer of mortar to the external surface, before throwing pebbles/gravel/shells at the mortar to create a rough finish.

R-value

A measure of how well an object (per unit of exposed area) resists conductive flow of heat.

Render

A type of plaster applied to the external walls of a property to protect against the weather.

Substrate

‘An underlying substance or layer’ – the existing wall to be rendered/insulated.

Scratch coat

A rough coat, scratched before it is completely dry to ensure that the next coat bonds completely.

Sponge finish

Using a sponge to create a smooth surface, either as a final finish or before painting.

Thin coat render

A specific type of render (usually silicone or acrylic) that is applied in a very thin layer.

Thermal bridges/cold bridge/heat bridge

An area within the insulation system that has a higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding materials. I.e. gaps between insulation boards create thermal bridges as heat can escape more quickly from the exposed area.

Thermal mass

Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat.

U-value

A measure of heat transmission through a building part or insulation material. The thicker the insulation material the lower the numbers.

W/mK

Stands for watts per meter-kelvin, a measure of thermal conductivity.

XPS

Extruded polystyrene insulation.

trowels render EWI

Types of Trowel for EWI and Render

External wall insulation and render systems take a fair amount of work to install, and essential to the process is having good tools for the job. Generally, when looking to invest in new tools, we recommend looking at stainless steel and other metals that will resist rusting; this will ensure your investment lasts longer, and the higher quality the metal the stronger the trowel as well.

We’re going to be taking a look at some of the products that we stock here at EWI Store to explain exactly what they’re for!

Plastering Trowel

Plastering trowels are the most versatile and useful trowel to have in your collection. They are incredibly multi-purpose, but are typically used for applying the the basecoat layer in any render or external wall insulation system. Plastering trowels are also suitable for applying certain render finishes.

Notch Trowel

This tool is typically used for applying the first layer of the basecoat to create a textured surface to increase the adhesion of the second coat. It’s also useful for applying adhesive to the backs of insulation boards, especially if you are choosing to apply the adhesive to the ensure surface of the board as opposed to the ‘dot and dab’ method. This particular tool has a straight edge on one length, while the rest of the edges are ‘notched’ – the size of the notch can also vary depending on the purpose of the trowel.

Bucket Trowel

As the name suggests, the bucket trowel is used for mixing, scooping and scraping product in the bucket. Great for picking up product to slap on the wall before spreading it out.

Rendering Spatula

Typically used for smoothing out the basecoat layer over a large surface area. Rendering spatulas are particularly good for saving time and energy, allowing you to cover a lot of ground at a quicker pace. Generally these are used for roughly spreading the product across the surface before going over the area again to perfect it.

Corner Trowel

As the name suggests, the trowel is ideal for achieving a perfect corner. This tool can really save time, allowing you to achieve a neat corner; they often come as either ‘outside’ corner trowels or ‘inside’ corner trowels for external and internal rendering and plastering.

Plastic Render Float

Plastic render floats are very cheap and lightweight, ideal for ‘rubbing up’ a thin coat render to bring out the grains to create the desired textural finish. They are used at the very final stage in any EWI or render installation; typically with our thin coat renders, e.g. our Silicone, Silicone Silicate and Acrylic renders.

Sponge Float

Once again intended for the very final stage of a render system, the sponge float is used to create a ‘sponged finish.’ The sponge float essentially rubs out the trowel marks on a surface in order to achieve a smooth, perfect rendered surface.

Pointing Trowel

This is used to fill and finish masonry joints with mortar or cement. This is perfect for repairing a substrate before installing your EWI or render system. Any cracks and gaps in the substrate pose the threat of condensation and moisture, which can be detrimental to any further work, so these are filled using the pointing trowel.

Pebbledashing Trowel

Last but not least, the pebbledashing trowel. Its sole purpose is to scoop up dash aggregates to simply hurl them at the adhesive-covered substrate.

And there you have it! Our full range explained, hopefully so that you’ll have a good idea about which trowels you will need for your next job.

Stay up to date with our social media, we upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday!

 

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freezing temperatures render

Will freezing temperatures damage my Render?

Render is designed to act as a protective barrier, ensuring that harsh temperatures and climates have a minimal effect on the structure of your property. As we know, however, freezing and thawing cycles of water are incredibly destructive for any material.

This week, we’re going to talk a bit about the effect of freezing temperatures on your EWI and render system.

Freezing Temperatures and Render Application

The application temperatures of most renders generally falls between +5°C and +25°C, although this can depend on the type of render and the brand that you are using. Different manufacturers give different instructions so always check the bag, but the general rule of thumb is that if you are applying your render in especially wet, rainy and freezing conditions then the render is likely to fail.

The likely cause of failed render application is that the temperatures are so low, the water within the formula will not properly evaporate from the render. This means that when applied and then left to dry overnight in freezing temperatures, the water within the render will freeze and expand, causing cracks to form. It can also make its way into the brickwork, where it will freeze and thaw repeatedly.

Products that offer a solution to application in cold temperatures:

Freezing temperatures are a no-go for applying render, but there are a couple of solutions for the winter months when the temperatures are consistently low.

Winter Adhesive:

The ideal solution for when there is no escaping the weather. The Winter Adhesive can be applied at temperatures even down to zero degrees, so it allows for a level of flexibility in terms of application temperature and year-round work.

Render Accelerator:  

Ideal for mixing in with our ready-mix renders, the render accelerator speeds up drying times so that the render isn’t left wet and exposed to the elements for too long after application. It significantly reduces the risks of failed render when applied in the winter months.

Freezing temperatures and old renders

Most often, damage to render occurs years down the line. Freezing temperatures can have a very negative effect on old, cracked renders – particularly sand and cement renders as these are the most prone to large cracks. If your render has cracks within it, then water will be drawn into the crack to settle within the material.

Once this has happened, it’s only a matter of time before the crack starts to grow due to the constant expansion and contraction of the water during the freezing and thawing process. Cracks within renders need to be caught early and sealed over to prevent this from happening!

Frost-proof renders

Because sand and cement render is the most common culprit of this, the best kind of render for preventing damage from freezing temperatures and frost is a thin coat render. Silicone render is a thin coat render. It is frost-proof, waterproof and hydrophobic, so it is naturally resistant to the effects of water. It’s also incredibly crack-resistant due to the fact that it is flexible and it is applied in such a thin layer.

If you are looking to render your property and the effects of freezing temperatures are have been/are a key concern, we can recommend a whole range of renders that would be suitable. We can also put you in touch with an installer who is certified by us and is therefore skilled and knowledgeable of the materials. Contact our sales team on 02033974067 for further advice, or have a browse of our renders page.

Stay up to date with our social media channels, we upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday all about our render and EWI systems.

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is EWI soundproofing

Is EWI Soundproofing?

Noise pollution can be incredibly frustrating. Whether it’s from road traffic, railway networks, aircraft or just plain old noisy neighbours, measures can be taken to increase the soundproofing capabilities of your home.

External wall insulation is excellent for soundproofing. Not only does EWI improve the thermal performance of your property, but certain types of insulation can also dramatically improve the acoustics of a building. We’re going to be talking a bit about the negative impact of noise pollution on human health, and which external wall insulation system is best for preventing this.

What are the effects of noise pollution?

Noise pollution has proven to significantly affect children, adults and the elderly. According to research carried out by Rockwool, noise pollution can cause stress and fatigue due to disturbed sleep patterns. In turn, this can lead to health problems and a slower rate of development for children.

The Best Insulation for Soundproofing

If you live in a solid wall property, it’s unlikely that your home will be adequately soundproofed. This is because generally, homes are built with insulation in the walls (cavity wall insulation) that absorbs the sound and protects the house against noise pollution. External wall insulation is a great choice if you live in a solid wall property, or even if your property just needs an extra soundproofing boost.

Mineral Wool insulation is the best one to go for if soundproofing is a concern. Renowned for having excellent insulating capabilities, the insulation not only reduces the amount of noise entering your home but is also all the more effective due to the fact that it is installed externally. The entire insulation system seamlessly envelopes the house and is therefore a highly effective solution against sound pollution. We recommend using the Mineral Wool insulation at a thickness greater than 200mm.

Of course, with a Mineral Wool external wall insulation system, it’s not just the soundproofing capabilities that you reap the rewards of. Mineral Wool has excellent thermal insulating capabilities, is class A1 fire rated (the very highest standard!) and is also very breathable. So overall this is a very healthy insulation material for buildings!

How is the insulation installed?

If you are new to the idea of external wall insulation, it’s very simple!

  • The Mineral Wool is secured to the external wall in two ways; using our Premium Basecoat adhesive and with metal pin mechanical fixings.
  • Once the boards are secured to the wall, the Premium Basecoat is again applied on top and fibreglass mesh is embedded within the basecoat for extra crack resistance and tensile strength.
  • Once the basecoat is dry, a render primer is painted on and left to dry.
  • After this, a thin coat render is applied on top of the basecoat to create a decorative finish.
  • The overall result is a higher performance building in many respects, and an aesthetically pleasing, brand new finish!

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best render to use in winter

The Best Render to use in Winter

Rendering in winter is a challenge that all professional renderers face. Choosing the right materials that can be used in low temperatures is particularly tricky, especially when there is the expensive risk of render failure.

We have a range of solutions for making sure that nothing can go wrong even in the winter months, so keep reading to find out about the best renders to use in winter!

Using Mineral Render in Winter

Mineral Render is a great choice for winter installations. It’s essentially the dry-mix version of our thin coat renders; it has grains within the render and it’s applied in a very thin layer. The only thing that makes this render different is the fact that it contains portland cement, which enables it to dry a lot faster than our other thin coat renders.

Faster drying times in winter are essential, as temperatures drop over night, and wet render exposed to freezing conditions leads to render failure. Mineral Render does require painting with Silicone Paint, but despite the added cost of this it’s a much more effective material to use in the winter months.

Using the Winter Adhesive

The Winter Adhesive is a basecoat designed for use down to temperatures of zero degrees. That means that it’s perfect for those winter months when the weather is miserable and work is continuously stalled due to low temperatures.

The basecoat is essentially the same as the EWI-220 EPS Basecoat Adhesive in that it can be used as an adhesive for securing EPS insulation boards to a substrate, so the plus side is that it also helps to enable the installation of EWI in cold climates.

Using the Render Accelerator in Winter

Winter installations tend to be all about drying times, and the render accelerator really helps with this issue. It’s essentially an additive that you mix into your ready-mix render before applying as normal – the accelerator speeds up the process of drying before the wet render can be affected by the weather.

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thermoplan

Applying Render to Thermoplan Blocks

What are Thermoplan blocks?

With the increased popularity in clay blocks, we receive enquiries regarding the best method/materials for applying render to Thermoplan blocks, so we’re here to answer the question! First, a little bit about Thermoplan blocks…

Thermoplan blocks are made of fired aerated clay and are assembled together with mortar that is applied by a roller. The blocks themselves contain air pockets that run vertically through the blocks, allowing for ventilation within the walls and enabling a dry building structure. There are many benefits to using Thermoplan blocks, some of which include:

  • Quick and easy construction time
  • Excellent thermal performance
  • Comfortable living environment
  • Breathability
  • High indoor air quality
  • Eco-friendly
  • High compressive strength
  • Excellent fire protection

Applying render to Thermoplan: Basecoat layer

Because clay blocks are a very dry material, they are also highly absorbent. This means that great care has to be taken when choosing materials; clay blocks a a lightweight structure, so sand and cement renders will crack almost immediately.

The Lightweight Basecoat is the ideal solution for Thermoplan blocks. You can choose to use either the two-coat render system, or the three-coat render system for clay blockwork, although in the UK we generally recommend that the three-coat system will stand up against the weather best.

Two-coat system:

The two-coat system consists of the application of the Lightweight Basecoat, then a tightcoat and then a render.

In a typical render system on an ordinary substrate, a substrate primer would be necessary to limit the absorptive capacity of the substrate. However, when rendering a Thermoplan block substrate, to limit the absorptive capacity of the substrate you do not need to prime. Instead, you spray apply a first pass of the Lightweight basecoat at approximately two thirds of the thickness it should be applied at – around 12mm. You leave this to ‘pull back’ and dry slightly before applying the final one third to take the basecoat up to its total thickness.

The Lightweight Basecoat needs to be left for a period 0f 24-48 hours to dry, then the tightcoat is applied. This consists of another thin layer of the Lightweight Basecoat; it is applied to the dried basecoat and is sponged or rubbed up to achieve the required texture. Once the tightcoat has been applied, it can be primed and painted or primed and rendered using a ready-mix render (e.g. Silicone or Silicone Silicate). You can also use Mineral Render (and then paint with Silicone Paint) or you can use Monocouche render. The main thing here is that the tightcoat must be primed if you are using a ready-mix render such as Silicone or Silicone Silicate, because otherwise blooming may occur across the lime basecoat.

Three-coat system:

A three-coat system is the standard system that is recommended for use in the UK. The three coat system involves applying the Lightweight Basecoat in two passes, as outlined above. Once the Lightweight Basecoat has cured (after 24-48 hours), a layer of the Premium Adhesive with Fibreglass Mesh embedded is then applied on top. The Premium Adhesive is then primed using a render primer, before the render of your choice is applied; whether it’s Silicone, Silicone Silicate, Mineral or Monocouche.

The reason that the Premium Adhesive is applied as an extra layer is because it is far stronger than the Lightweight Basecoat, and when applied with a Fibreglass Mesh embedded within the adhesive it provides the required tensile strength to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions without cracking.

Applying Silicone Render to Thermoplan Blocks

Silicone render is a thin coat, breathable render. It’s the perfect choice if you want to achieve a long lasting render facade for a Thermoplan block substrate, as it will resist cracking while also creating a beautifully coloured finish.

An alternative to the Silicone render is the Silicone Silicate render, which is also breathable and flexible. Both renders come in a variety of grain sizes for different textured effects!

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black friday ewi store

Black Friday Sale 25% off!

The big day is here… we’re celebrating Black Friday with a massive 25% discount!

It’s Black Friday, and we’re celebrating with a massive 25% discount on all Beads, Bags and Buckets! That means huge savings on your favourite materials.

The EWI Store sale ends at midnight on the 23rd of November, so grab your materials at a discounted rate now before it’s too late!

Place your order online, or call 0203 3974067 to order over the phone.

Black Friday Rules:

  • As usual, free delivery on orders over £500!
  • Earn pro-points on every purchase
  • 25% off all beads, bags and buckets (25% off RRP prices only)!
  • We are not accepting any other promotions in conjunction with this offer
  • Technical advice available for if you need help with your new purchases
  • Please note: we do not accept returns on Black Friday sale items

Amazing Black Friday Deals!

Check out the incredible savings you can make on some of our most popular products…

Silicone Render 25kg

Was £65.41

Now £49.06!

 

Silicone Silicate Render 25kg

Was £59.94

Now £44.95!

 

Premium Basecoat 25kg

Was £18.14

Now £13.60!

 

Lightweight Basecoat 25kg

Was £12.68

Now £9.51!

 

And it doesn’t stop there – we have everything you need so grab your shopping list now!

 

collection-only sale

Collection-only Sale 20% off!

We’re kicking off our big week of sales with a massive 20% discount when you collect from our Chessington branch!

The EWI Store collection sale ends on Monday 26th of November, so grab your materials at a discounted rate now before it’s too late!

Call 02033974067 to order over the phone or visit our Chessington branch to buy on the day:

EWI Store Unit 1,

Kingston Business Centre,  

Fullers Way South

KT9 1DQ

Collection Sale Rules

  • 20% off absolutely everything when you collect in-store (OX and Makita tools are not included in the sale)
  • Technical advice available for if you need help with your new purchases
  • Please note: we do not accept returns on sale items
  • Earn pro-points on every purchase!

Amazing Deals at EWI Store!

Check out the incredible savings you can make on some of our most popular products…

Silicone Render 25kg

Was £65.41

Now £52.33!

Silicone Silicate Render 25kg

Was £59.94

Now £47.94!

Premium Basecoat 25kg

Was £18.14

Now £14.51!

And it doesn’t stop there – we have everything you need so grab your shopping list now!

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big things are happening

Big things are happening…

Exciting events are taking place this week at EWI Store! We can’t tell you what’s happening yet but keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground!

Sign up to our mailing list and stay up to date with our social media for more information throughout the week…

Have you seen our full range of render colours?

We can tint the renders to any shade, however the only thing we can’t do is black render…

This is because the colour is so dark that it absorbs too much heat from the sun, making it very prone to cracking and flaking.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for a dark coloured render for your home, check out our colour chart and choose one of our popular grey shades!

What to do before the big reveal…

Maybe you’ve been wanting to try a particular product for a while, or you’re in desperate need of materials.

The only advice we’ll give before the big reveal is to have a browse of our online shop and prepare yourself!

We sell everything you could possibly need for external wall insulation and render-only systems – so get your shopping list in order and be ready…

renders

EWI Pro Renders: The Ultimate Guide

Thin Coat Renders

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. Each of our thin coat renders can also be tinted to create any colour – this includes RAL and NCS colours – and they each come in a variety of different grain sizes to achieve different levels of texture depending upon preference. Thin coat render technology is known for being flexible and crack resistance, so it’s a real customer favourite!

Premium Bio Silicone Render

The Premium Bio Silicone render is our top of the line, breathable thin coat render, offering advanced self cleaning capabilities, enhanced impact resistance and increased UV protection.  This means that it provides a long-lasting, crack resistant finish that will remain vibrant in colour for years to come.

Silicone Render

Silicone render is a notoriously high performance render. It offers breathability, crack resistance and self cleaning capabilities. It’s a very popular choice for customers as it is commonly associated with coloured render.

Silicone Silicate Render

Silicone Silicate is a hybrid silicone render. It’s highly versatile but also great value, offering the key benefit of breathability. While it does possess less self cleaning capabilities than our full Silicone render and our Premium Bio Silicone render, Silicone Silicate does offer a long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing finish.

Acrylic Render

Acrylic render is highly impact resistant, and is known for being particularly resistant to UV (it retains the colour pigment and therefore does not fade over time). It’s a well-known render as although it lacks the breathability of the silicones it is trustworthy and long lasting.

Mineral Render

Our one and only dry-mix render, the Mineral Render requires mixing with water before application. It’s fast-drying and is therefore ideally used in cold-climate conditions and for winter installations. It comes with the same option of grain sizes, however Mineral Render does require painting with Silicone Paint afterwards to achieve a decorative finish and provide a waterproof barrier.

Thick Coat Renders

Our thick coat renders are ideal if a traditional finish is what you’re looking for. As the name implies, they are applied in a thicker layer and achieve a different surface effect than our thin coat renders.

Monocouche Scratch Render

Monocouche Scratch Render is a dry-mix, polymer modified, one coat render. It is applied at an approximate thickness of around 16mm, before it is left to set and then scratched back 2mm. The Monocouche provides a chalky, sandstone effect with a dappled surface.

And there you have it! The complete guide to EWI Pro renders. If you have any further questions or are wondering which one may be best for your specific property, then feel free to give our sales team a call!

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applying render to thoma holz 100

Applying Render to Thoma Holz 100

This week in our ‘applying render to’ blog series, we’re discussing the best method for applying render to a Thoma Holz 100 construction.

Thoma Holz 100 is a solid wood building material that combines modern building technologies with the traditional; it creates an eco friendly, natural and sustainable construction that offers numerous benefits, some of which include:

  • Breathability and airtightness
  • Fire safety
  • Soundproofing
  • Quick assembly time
  • Eco-friendly (sustainable timber)
  • Excellent indoor air quality
  • Naturally high thermal performance

Thoma Holz 100 is a truly high performance building material, and the wood effect is definitely a pleasing look. However, if you wanted to mix it up a bit then applying render to Thoma Holz 100 is very easy.

How to Render Thoma Holz 100

The only downside to using solid wood construction is that wet, cementitious materials are unsuitable for application directly onto the surface of the wood. This is because Thoma Holz 100 is a dry construction, so any water within the render materials can be absorbed into the wood, thereby affecting the structure. Instead, the solution is to install either render carrier board (which is a bit of a pain to fix) or Wood Fibre insulation on top of the Thoma Holz 100, before finally applying the render!

The benefit of using Wood Fibre instead of render carrier board is that it has excellent thermal properties, improving the performance of the building but also complimenting the structure. Timber blocks and timber insulation boards work well together – no? The Wood Fibre insulation boards that we offer are also extremely sustainable (they’re by Pavatex and are NaturePlus certified!), so if maintaining sustainability is a concern then Wood Fibre is the way to go.

To secure the Wood Fibre insulation to the Thoma Holz 100, simply use stainless steel wood screws with universal fixing discs – no adhesive should be used as this is a dry-fix system. The Wood Fibre boards lock together, so the risk of thermal bridging is thoroughly reduced; they’re also really breathable and therefore will not hinder the breathability of the Thoma Holz 100.

Once the insulation boards have been applied, the Premium Basecoat should be applied directly on top of the insulation boards, and a fibreglass mesh should be embedded within it. We recommend using a breathable thin coat render such as our Silicone Render, which needs to be applied on top of the Premium Basecoat once it has fully set. The render can be tinted to create any colour and comes in a range of grain sizes, so the design options are endless!

Want to read more from our ‘applying render to…’ series?

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mineral wool sheathing board

How to fix Mineral Wool to Sheathing Board

Fixing Mineral Wool to sheathing board, or even insulating sheathing board in general can be a bit tricky. Ventilated cavities or no ventilated cavities? Render carrier board onto battens or no render carrier board onto battens? The list of options goes on, hence why so many people seem to avoid working with these systems.

Well, at EWI Store we’re going to tackle the subject and make it nice and easy; if you’re going to be insulating a sheathing board substrate then the easiest thing to do is stick some Mineral Wool on and render over it. So without further ado here’s our how-to guide…

Preparing the Sheathing Board

Whether it’s a timber frame or a steel frame, the sheathing board needs to be a prepared in the same way. It’s imperative to use a joint tape to secure all the joints between the sheathing boards together; this essentially improves how weathertight the system is and protects against condensation gathering between the gaps.

We recommend using a breathable joint tape such as the Pavatex ‘Pavafix Win’ tape; this is a self-adhesive breather membrane that is incredibly easy to apply.

Sheathing board typically doesn’t need priming, so you are free to skip this stage altogether and go straight to fixing the Mineral Wool insulation.

Fixing the Mineral Wool to the Sheathing Board

When insulating directly onto sheathing board, the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat should be used. This can be applied to the back of the insulation boards to secure them to the substrate, then stainless steel self-drilling screws with universal fixing discs should be used as a secondary method of securing the insulation.

Applying Render to the Insulated Sheathing Board

Rendering the Mineral Wool involves applying a basecoat layer of the Premium Basecoat to the insulation boards, before embedding strips of fibreglass mesh within the basecoat. Don’t forget that each strip of mesh should overlap by 10cm!

The basecoat needs to be left to dry, and then it should be primed with the appropriate render primer – for example, you’d use our SiSi render primer with our Silicone Silicate render, so whatever render you are using the primer should match.

Once the primer has dried, you are then ready to render. Apply your render of choice to the substrate using a plastering trowel; if you are using our thin coat renders then the thickness that the render is meant to applied at should match the grain size you have chosen.

And there you have it! Applying Mineral Wool to sheathing board is a really easy way to not only get the render finish that you want, but also improve the thermal performance of the whole building structure.

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lightweight render system

What is a Lightweight Render system?

Lightweight render systems have grown in popularity in recent years due to increased awareness of the disadvantages of sand and cement render. Lightweight render systems are ideal for circumstances where the substrate requires either vapour permeability or flexibility; this is because these systems tend to contain lime, which offers both of these characteristics.

Lightweight render systems differ from sand and cement systems due to the fact that they typically consist of far more components and are much less likely to crack and wither away. Sand and cement renders are notoriously bulky, unforgiving and unbreathable. They tend to have a poor reputation for being unreliable and prone to cracking, so people turn to thin coat render systems and lightweight render systems for an ideal solution.

So what does a lightweight render system consist of? How do you install it and when would you install it? We’re going to be answering all of these questions in today’s blog post!

Components of a Lightweight Render System

In an EWI Pro lightweight render system, the components consist of an optional substrate primer; the Lightweight Basecoat; the Premium Basecoat; Fibreglass Mesh; a render primer and finally a through-coloured Silicone Render.

The key components that make this system ‘lightweight’ is the EWI-269 Lightweight Basecoat, which is a lime-based basecoat, with an air content of approximately 29% and a bulk density (once set) of approx 1.2 g/m3.  The Lightweight Basecoat binds gently to substrates, offering a level of flexibility that ensures crack resistance. The great thing about this basecoat is that it is highly versatile; it’s suitable for a wide range of substrates and works especially well on high performance blockwork.

The second component that enables the system to be lightweight is the thin coat Silicone Render. This is applied on top of the Lightweight Basecoat (details below) and because it’s so thin (it’s applied only a couple of millimetres thick) it is easily flexible and therefore is able to work well in conjunction with the Lightweight Basecoat.

We always recommend using a vapour permeable render on top of the Lightweight Basecoat so as not to hinder its permeability; a Silicone Render is perfect for this because it is very breathable so moisture can easily escape through its structure.

How to Install a Lightweight Render System

The method used when installing a lightweight render system generally depends on the substrate. So we’re going to outline the two main ways of applying the system:

  1. Applying the Lightweight Render System onto Ordinary Masonry

When applying a lightweight render system onto ordinary masonry, the substrate needs to be clean, dry and dust-free before any work is carried out. The substrate will also need priming with our Water Based Primer to reduce its absorptivity.

Once this has been carried out, the Lightweight Basecoat should be applied with either a trowel or a spray machine up to a thickness of 20mm. The Basecoat needs to be left to go off, before the Premium Basecoat is applied on top.

The reason we recommend applying an additional basecoat is because our Premium Basecoat is the strongest basecoat in our range; it’s vapour permeable and has strong adhesive capabilities. In the UK, the harsher weathers can have a damaging effect on softer materials, hence the repeated use of sand and cement render.

We suggest using the Premium Basecoat on top of the Lightweight Basecoat as a way of strengthening the system against the more challenging climate and to ensure an extra level of crack resistance. Fibreglass Mesh should also be embedded within the Premium Basecoat to enhance the tensile strength of the system; it’s all about building up compatible layers to achieve a sturdy finish.

The Premium Basecoat should be left to set entirely, and then the SiSi render primer should be painted on top and left to dry. All of the aforementioned layers are applied with the intention of levelling and strengthening the substrate; the final layer of the lightweight render system consists of the Silicone Render which is both decorative and functional.

The Silicone Render works well with both materials, allowing for movements within the building structure without cracking, while also enabling the system to breathe. The render is applied at a thickness that corresponds with the chosen grain size; if it’s a 1.5mm grain size then the render is applied at 1.5mm. It can be tinted to create any colour and contributes towards a long-lasting and incredibly durable render system.

  1. Applying Lightweight Render Systems to High Performance Blockwork

Applying this system to high performance blockwork is a little different because these types of blocks tend to be really absorptive and so the correct method of application is very necessary to ensure no cracks.

With a high performance substrate, you would forgo the priming stage and skip straight to applying the Lightweight Basecoat. The key difference, however, is in your method of application of the basecoat. It needs to be applied in two passes; the first pass should be applied at approximately two thirds of the total thickness – so around 12mm. Leave it to pull back slightly and then apply the final third.

Once both passes of the Lightweight Basecoat have set completely, you would apply the Premium Basecoat and follow the same process as outlined above.

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cracked render

Why does render crack?

Typically, render is used to provide the building fabric with protection against the elements while also providing an aesthetically pleasing finish. Often, a render is applied to cover up the use of cheaper building materials such as blockwork rather than brick and stonework.

Unfortunately, a common stereotype of render is that it is liable to experience cracking. This is a huge concern for many of our customers, who want to invest in a new render facade but don’t want to find that a few years (or even months) down the line their investment isn’t holding true to its promise.

Cracks are the effect of a number of underlying problems, and if left to their own devices they can escalate a situation from bad to worse by drawing water through the building. There are a number of reasons that render may crack, and in this blog post we’re going to be looking into these reasons.

Weathering

First thing’s first, is your render really old? Render does in fact have a lifespan, especially sand and cement render. If you are living in a fairly old property that is rendered in sand and cement, cracking is going to be inevitable due to the effect of weathering.

When driving rain, snow, frost and more are constantly attacking the exterior of your building, it’s likely that you will experience some kind of negative impact. This is particularly true for sand and cement render, which is incredibly solid, unforgiving and prone to absorbing water. So, consider how old the property is and when it is likely that it was rendered – the age of the render may be the reason for the wear and tear.

Incorrect materials for the substrate

We’ve previously written about a case study where sand and cement render was applied to high performance blockwork, and the resulting finish was a cracked mess within weeks. The reason for the cracked render is that high performance blockwork (this includes Ziegel blocks, AAC, Thermalite etc.) tends to be very soft and malleable, while sand and cement is incredibly solid.

The phrase ‘opposites attract’ just isn’t true in the case of renders and substrates; when choosing a render for your property, it’s imperative that it compliments the substrate so that they will work in tandem. This could be the reason your render is cracking. An installer should be able to advise you on the best type of render for the building fabric.  

Poor quality of workmanship – poor sealing at junctures, incorrect movement joints

A good quality installation from a knowledgeable installer can make all the difference to the durability of your installation. A trusted installer will ensure that correct reinforcement is applied around the weaker areas of a structure, especially around movement joints and reveals.

The render needs to be able to replicate and compensate for movements within the underlying substrate, otherwise it will crack. If this has not been taken into consideration then this could be the cause of the cracks.  

The render dried out too fast

Most common with dry-mix renders, if the water evaporates from the material too quickly it doesn’t leave enough time for the render to bond properly and the surface colour can appear patchy and discoloured.

A render that has dried out too fast is a dehydrated, weak surface and cracking is therefore inevitable. To avoid this, the render needs to be applied in moderate temperatures and if possible away from the direct glare of the sun, and for dry-mix renders if the mixture appears to be drying too fast simply sprinkle it with water as needed.

Fibreglass mesh wasn’t used

Best practice for rendering is to embed fibreglass mesh within the basecoat layer. The mesh is applied in strips that are each overlapped, reinforcing the entire surface of the basecoat and increasing its tensile strength. The result of this is that any movements within the building fabric will be absorbed by the mesh.

If Fibreglass Mesh isn’t embedded within the basecoat or even in the first pass of render, unfortunately this could be a contributing factor towards the cracking.

Structural problems

Sometimes it’s not actually the fault of the render, it’s the effect of underlying structural problems that are making themselves known by damaging the render finish. The structural problems can be numerous and difficult to pin down, whether it’s differential movement between an extension and the main house or due to water and rust.

Rising damp

Rising damp is the fear of all property owners as it’s often difficult to catch and identify. It’s relatively rare, but rising damp is essentially when water travels from the ground up through the walls by capillary action, causing bulging in the walls and floor boards and general structural damage. The structural damage that rising damp can cause is what encourages cracks to form in the external render. You will most likely notice signs of rising damp not just in your render but internally as well, so if this is the case then it needs to be identified and rectified immediately.

Leave a comment down below if you’ve experienced cracking in your render and how you fixed the problem!

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brick slips insulation board

How to use Brick Slips on Insulation Board

Brick slips are an incredibly versatile material, allowing users to realistically recreate a brick effect after applying insulation board to the building. Some people want the benefits of the external wall insulation without losing the classic brick look of their property, which is why brick slips are such a great solution.

Brick slips are also excellent if you are living in an area where where is a high risk of mechanical impact, for example next to a busy road; they have a greater ability with withstand damage and are generally more hard wearing. Our brick slips are highly flexible (you can bend them around corners!) and come in a wide range of attractive, natural colours.

So without further ado, here is how to use brick slips on external insulation board!

Applying Brick Slips to EPS Insulation Board

EPS insulation board is a classic when it comes to external wall insulation. It’s cost effective and has excellent thermal capabilities, while also being incredibly easy to work with. EPS comes in a huge range of thicknesses, depending on how much you want to improve the thermal performance of your property (the thicker the insulation the better the insulator).

Applying brick slips to EPS is incredibly easy. The EPS boards are secured to the substrate using our EWI-220 EPS Basecoat Adhesive with plastic fixings. Once dry, the EWI-220 is used again to form the basecoat layer on top of the insulation boards. Fibreglass Mesh is sunk within the basecoat to enhance the tensile strength of the whole system, and then once a smooth surface has been achieve the basecoat is left to dry before the brick slips can be applied!

To apply the brick slips, you would use our special ready-to-use brick slip adhesive which comes in a wide range of colours for a customisable finish. The adhesive dries quickly so we recommend applying it with a notched trowel 1m2 at a time to give plenty of time to stick the brick slips on neatly.

Applying Brick Slips to Mineral Wool Insulation Board

Mineral Wool insulation is a premium insulating material. It’s class A1 non-combustible, which means it actually works to prevent the spread of flames. It’s also a vapour permeable material so will actively allow moisture to escape from the building fabric.

Mineral Wool is heavier than EPS and therefore requires a stronger adhesive and metal mechanical fixings. We recommend using our EWI-225 Premium Basecoat which is a dual purpose product, suitable as both an adhesive and a basecoat.

After the Fibreglass Mesh has been embedded within the basecoat, the brick slips can be applied in the same way you would with EPS. Simply apply the brick slip adhesive using a notched trowel to an area of 1m2, applying the brick slips as you go.

And there you have it! Applying brick slips may be slightly more time consuming to apply than a coloured render, but they do achieve a really realistic finish.

Stay tuned for more content! We upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday, so keep up to date. We also release a weekly newsletter which hands out exclusive special offers and discount codes so sign up to that as well.

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applying render to SIPS

Applying Render to SIPS Panels

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are a high performance building material consisting of an insulating foam core, sandwiched between two panels of OSB board. There are many benefits to building with SIPs panels, including insulation and airtightness. With SIPs panels, the insulation is highly effective due to the fact that the panels fit together tightly enough that air leakages are minimised. They’re a popular building material because the required U-values to meet building regulations can easily be achieved with a very quick speed of build.

Rendering SIPs panels can pose a bit of a challenge due to the fact that the render cannot be applied to the OSB board directly. In order to be able to render the SIPs there are various steps that need to be undertaken before the rendering can go ahead.

Installing Timber Battens onto the SIPs Panels

The very first step in applying render to SIPs panels a breather membrane needs to be secured to the external OSB panels with galvanised staples at 600mm centres horizontally and 300mm centres vertically. We recommend using the Dupont Tyvek Housewrap, as this membrane is totally vapour permeable and can be left exposed for up to four months.

Once the breather membrane has been applied, vertical timber battens need to be installed onto the SIPs panels. These are installed as a means of supporting the render carrier board which is secured to the battens, and so the size of your render carrier board will dictate where you position the battens. Once the battens are in place, you can secure the render carrier board to them using the appropriate wood screws.

The render carrier boards should have a slight gap of 3-5mm between each board. This needs to be covered over using Pavatex Render Carrier Board Joint Tape, which is another breathable membrane except this one is a self-adhesive tape and is designed for the purpose of jointing render carrier boards before render is applied directly on top. The joint tape will further secure the boards and prevent the wet materials seeping through the gaps.

Thin Coat Render Systems on SIPs

We recommend using the Premium Basecoat for rendering SIPs as this is our strongest basecoat and will therefore ensure the system is highly secure and crack-resistant (read about how to fix cracked render here). We always recommend that Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat as a means of increasing the tensile strength of the system; each strip of mesh is overlapped by 10-15cm all the way around, and therefore once the basecoat is set the mesh should absorb any movements within the render carrier boards without cracking.

After the basecoat has set for 24-48 hours, a render primer needs to be applied. The primer used will depend upon which kind of render you are using, so if you’re going for an Acrylic Render you will use our Mineral and Acrylic Primer, but the silicone-based renders require the SiSi Render Primer. This can be painted onto the basecoat and left to dry for 12 hours, and then finally you are ready to render!

Achieving a nice render finish on SIPs depends upon thorough preparation, so by now you should have a perfectly stable and flat basecoat that will provide the perfect surface for the thin coat render. The render is applied in such a thin layer (the thickness that you apply the render matches the grain size) that any large imperfections can be quite apparent, particularly if you’ve gone for a smaller grain size i.e. 1mm. Our most popular choice for installers is our Silicone Silicate Render in a 1.5mm grain size because it is breathable and offers good coverage at a price that is great value.

The render should be applied using a notched trowel, and then it should be rubbed up using a plastic render float to bring out the texture. Once applied, leave it to set for 24-48 hours.

Wood Fibre Insulation onto SIPS Panels

If render carrier board onto battens seems like too much hassle for you, then why not use Wood Fibre insulation? The Wood Fibre can be attached directly to the SIPS panels using stainless steel wood screws and universal fixing discs. After this, you simply apply the thin coat render system on top as explained above. Not only is this a simple and easy way of doing it, it reduces the risk of condensation and also improves the thermal efficiency of the structure.

And there you have it; how to apply render to SIPs panels. We have also covered how you might go about applying render to other types of substrates, including ICF and high performance blockwork. So check out those blog posts and stay tuned for future content!

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render coverage

Render Coverage: The Ultimate Guide

When ordering materials online, customers are often unsure as to the quantities that they will require for the approximate square meterage they are working on. So, we’ve put together a guide to EWI Pro render coverage to make things more clear!

Coloured Render Coverage

Our coloured renders all come in a variety of grain sizes. This means that the grain size will determine how much coverage you’ll get out of a 25kg bucket. Bear in mind that these numbers may vary slightly depending on application; for example if you drop/lose relatively little product then you will get more out of the bucket. Coverage for our Premium Bio SiliconeSilicone, Silicone Silicate and Acrylic renders are as follows…

1mm Grain Size – 10m2

1.5mm Grain Size – 7-10m2

2mm Grain Size – 6-7m2

3mm Grain Size – 5-6m2

Monocouche Render Coverage

Monocouche render is a dry-mix render, so the coverage can vary depending upon how thick you apply it and how much water you mix in. The following coverage is therefore based upon applying the Monocouche render at a total thickness of 18mm before scratching back (two passes):

1 x 25kg bag – 1m2

Mineral Render Coverage

Mineral render is also a dry-mix render, however this is thin coat. One bag will therefore stretch between 8-10m2 depending upon application and the thickness that it is applied at. Mineral render does however need painting over with Silicone paint; one bucket of Silicone paint (15L) will cover 60-70m2.

Basecoats Coverage

Basecoats especially can be a tricky thing to calculate. Because the majority of our basecoats are multi-purpose and are used as both an adhesive and a basecoat, the coverage can vary:

Adhesion and basecoat – 2.8m2

Basecoat for rendering only – 4.5m2                                                                                                                                  

Primers

Substrate Primers

Substrate primers are applied directly to the substrate (be it brick, block or other) before any other materials are applied. Coverage of the primers is hard to estimate as certain substrates are more absorptive than others; for example if you are rendering a particularly dry substrate. Coverage for substrate primers are as follows:

Water Based Primer (5L) – 15-30m2 depending upon the absorptive capacity of the substrate

Universal Primer (20kg) – 50-70m2 depending upon the absorptive capacity of the substrate

Render Primers

Render primers are applied on top of the basecoat before the render itself is applied. These help to create a vibrancy of colour and strong adhesion to the basecoat. We have three main types of render primer, the Acrylic & Mineral Primer and Silicone Silicate Render Primer. Coverage for these is as follows:

7L bucket – 20m2

21L bucket – 60-70m2

And there you have it! Our ultimate guide to materials coverage. We hope this was useful! Keep a lookout for our latest blog posts – we upload every Tuesday and Thursday!

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rendering plywood

Applying Render to Plywood

We recently had an interesting enquiry from a customer about how you would go about rendering plywood. It’s a tricky question, because plywood really isn’t an ideal substrate to render onto, however sometimes it’s unavoidable. There are solutions for applying render to plywood, and we’re going to talk you through the best way you can do this!

Rendering Plywood: Render Carrier Board

When rendering any substrate, especially when rendering plywood, consideration needs to be taken as to the suitability of the substrate for the materials that you are using. Plywood is not particularly waterproof and will inevitably absorb water from the basecoat, which can cause the wood to warp and therefore hinder structural integrity.

To avoid this, render carrier board is an ideal solution, but the downside is that it can’t be applied directly on top of the plywood. This is because the fabrics need ventilation to allow moisture to escape and to avoid a situation where water builds up between the two materials; an air gap between the two is needed for the reduction of condensation. To resolve this, the best course of action is to staple a breather membrane to the substrate, before installing timber battens on top of the ply; the positioning of the battens will depend upon the size of the render carrier board you are using.

Once these are in place, you can secure the render carrier boards on top of the battens and attach them with wood screws. The spacing of the boards will depend on the type of render carrier board you are using, however generally you would leave 4-5mm between each board. After the boards are in place, the gaps between them need to be covered over by a render carrier board tape; we tend to recommend the Pavatex render carrier board joint tape because it’s basically an extremely breathable self-adhesive membrane which prevents water vapour from gathering in between these gaps.

Basecoating the Render Carrier Boards

Render carrier boards don’t require priming because they are specially designed for being rendered, so you can go straight into applying the basecoat with no problems. Although it is possible to use the 220 Basecoat Adhesive, we recommend using the 225 Premium Basecoat as a basecoat for extra strength and breathability. At this stage, the necessary beading required for the structure is sunk into the basecoat along with fibreglass mesh – remember to overlap each strip of fibreglass mesh by about 10-15cm.

Once set for a period of 24-48 hours, the basecoat needs priming before rendering. The type of primer you use will depend upon the type of render; for example if you were to render using Silicone Render (we recommend this one for constructions that require a high level of breathability), you would need to use our SiSi Render Primer. This can be painted on and then left to dry for 12 hours.

Rendering the Basecoat Layer

After all of that essential preparation, you are finally ready to render. Using our ready-to-use Silicone Render, apply it to the substrate using a trowel at a thickness that matches the grain size of the render; for example, if you’ve chosen a 1.5mm grain size finish then you should apply the render at 1.5mm thick.

Once applied, rub up the surface of the render with a plastic render float to bring out the texture and achieve a consistent finish, then leave to dry for 24-48 hours.

We upload blog posts every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for more content.

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rendering metsec steel frame

Applying Render to Metsec Steel Frames

When it comes to rendering Metsec steel frame buildings, the external surface of the building needs to be taken into consideration. At EWI Store, we provide coloured render and external solutions for a wide range of substrates, and today we’re going to be discussing in detail the exact process of how to go about rendering a Metsec frame. Metsec is a company that sells cold-rolled steel for structural frames; essentially the building is constructed of a lightweight steel frame (produced by Metsec) and a variety of materials are anchored to the frame to create the buildings’ exterior skin.

There are many materials that can be used for the outside of the Metsec frame, but typically a sheathing board is secured to the steel frame. For non-residential buildings, Mineral Wool insulation is fixed to the sheathing board and the thin coat render system is applied on top. For residential projects, Mineral Wool insulation is installed within a cavity, before a render carrier board is secured to the steel frame on the outside. Quite often you can find steel frame buildings with a brick cladding forming the exterior surface as well.

We’re going to be taking a look into how you can render different substrates on a steel frame building!

Render Carrier Board: Rendering Metsec 

Once the render carrier boards have been secured to the steel battens, there will be a spacer gap of a few millimetres between each edge of the board. This is to give the boards space for ventilation and to compensate for any movement. However, these gaps need to be covered over using an appropriate render tape, or Pavatex Render Carrier Board Joint Tape; both are suitable, however the Pavatex tape acts as a vapour permeable membrane so has that extra level of breathability.

After you’ve joined the render carrier boards together using either of these methods, you can apply the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat to the surface of the render carrier board – no primer needed. Premium Basecoat is our strongest basecoat-adhesive, so we really advise using this as a basecoat for a secure render installation. The Premium Adhesive needs to be mixed with 6.5L of water and applied at a thickness of 6-8mm, before Fibreglass Mesh is embedded within the basecoat using the flat edge of the notched trowel. Each strip of Fibreglass Mesh should overlap its neighbouring strip by approximately 10-15cm.

Leave the basecoat to set for 24-48 hours, then prime the basecoat using an EWI Pro render primer. If you’re using our Silicone Silicate Render then the SiSi Render Primer is the ideal primer; simply paint it onto the basecoat and leave it to dry for 12 hours. After this, you are ready to apply your Silicone Silicate Render; this is the final layer that ensures the system is entirely waterproof and resistant to weathering. You can apply the Silicone Silicate render straight out of the bucket and trowel it on at a thickness that corresponds with the grain size; after this, rub up the surface of the render using a plastic render float to get a textured effect.

External Insulation: Rendering Metsec 

When rendering Metsec, architects will often look to create an insulated render system using a Metsec steel frame building. With this kind of construction, sheathing board is applied to the lightweight steel frame leaving a ventilated cavity in front, and then a render carrier board.  Following the manufacturer’s guidelines insulation is applied to the render carrier board using the appropriate adhesive and mechanical fixings. Once the insulation is in place, the Premium Basecoat can be used once again as a basecoat, before priming and rendering using Silicone Render.

It is commonplace to install a ventilated cavity within these residential systems, as it is a requirement for several insurance companies, although they have recently come under criticism from the general public and within the industry itself since the Grenfell tragedy. We advocate the use of Econic boards and Rockwool Mineral Wool insulation in these circumstances because they are A1 fire rated and non-combustible.  Products such as the Dupont Tyvek Firecurb Housewrap can also be introduced for extra vapour permeability and fire resistance.

And there you have it, rendering Metsec steel frames! We upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for more content.

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mosaic render

What is Mosaic Render?

Mosaic Render is a bit of a luxury render, offering unparalleled durability and splash resistance. Our Mosaic Render contains quartz aggregate and is therefore known for being strong, durable and waterproof. This makes it ideal for below the DPC, where impact resistance and splash proofing are essential.

Mosaic Render is available in white, black and grey and not only looks fantastic but serves an integral function within the render and EWI system, ensuring that water will not penetrate from the ground up.

Mosaic Render as a Decorative Feature

The finish that Mosaic Render achieves is especially attractive in that the effect is almost marbled due to the fact that it is highly granulated and varicoloured. Because the product offers such a uniquely appealing finish, it is popularly used as a decorative feature for various areas of the property.

The render would produce a fantastic finish around pillars, windows and doors and on garden walls. It would also look great as a feature wall next to swimming pools because of its resistance to water and its durability. The porch area is also a very common area that homeowners use Mosaic Render, as it creates a nice contrast with the main render as a backdrop. In effect, Mosaic Render is brilliant for those looking to create a unique external facade, with close attention to detailing and high quality features.

Mosaic Render for the DPC

Another very common use of Mosaic Render is for the DPC, where durability, waterproofing and impact resistance is essential. Ensuring that an external wall insulation system is watertight at DPC level is vital to continued performance and longevity, and for this purpose mosaic offers unparalleled performance. The DPC area is also prone to plant growth and splashback, which this render can withstand really well.  

For ensuring a strong DPC, we always recommend using XPS insulation boards (because they have a higher density and are less likely to absorb water). XPS should be secured to the substrate using our Premium Basecoat, which is extra strong and breathable (this is also used for the basecoat reinforcement layer), and finally finished with the Mosaic Render.

Mosaic Render vs. Acrylic Render

As discussed, Mosaic Render is known for being extremely durable, impact resistant and waterproof. However, we also often talk about how Acrylic Render is impact resistant – so what is the difference?

Acrylic Render is a thin coat coloured render, with grain sizes suspended within the solution which give it a textured effect and a seamless colour. By contrast, Mosaic Render is made up of lots of different coloured grains which give a completely different look, these grains also make it slightly more hardwearing and waterproof.

And there you have it! Everything you need to know about our Mosaic Render. We upload a new blog post every Tuesday and Thursday so stay tuned for more content.

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re-rendering with coloured render

Re-rendering with Coloured Render

We speak to hundreds of customers who are looking at re-rendering with a thin coat coloured render, and need a solution for their existing render. Often this is because the existing render is cracked and damaged with staining from plant life and general signs of weathering. Re-rendering the property with a coloured render can work wonders on giving it a facelift and improving the general aesthetics.

In a previous blog post, we discussed how to replace pebbledash with coloured render, however in this blog we’ll be taking a look at how you might want to go about replacing an existing sand and cement render with coloured render.

Re-rendering Sand and Cement Render with Coloured Render

As is often discussed here at EWI Store, sand and cement render is extremely prone to cracking and water ingress. In general, sand and cement render is just not a suitable material for the vast majority of buildings, especially older buildings and timber frame structures; and yet it is still so commonly used. With coloured render, you are guaranteed a flexible and strong render finish because unlike sand and cement render, coloured render is applied in an extremely thin layer which means it’s much less unforgiving.

Coloured render also gives you the option of choosing a breathable render, such as Silicone or Silicone Silicate, which prevents water ingress and water vapour build-up by allowing it to escape from the building through the external walls, where it can then evaporate off the surface of the render.   

When considering re-rendering with coloured render, the most ideal place to start is by removing your cement render. This can be a pretty difficult process, as cement render is such a tough material and removing it poses a risk to the underlying substrate. Nevertheless, this is most likely the best course of action to protect your property against structural damage because Cement Render is incredibly liable to water ingress.

Re-rendering: Do I Remove or Repair my Sand and Cement Render?

If you’re considering re-rendering with coloured render, then most likely this is because your existing render has cracks within the surface. Unfortunately, as soon as the cracks start to appear then water ingress will undoubtedly follow. If this is clearly the case and your render is beyond repair then it will need removing. Once you’ve removed the render, you may need to repair the underlying substrate before you can go ahead with the re-rendering job.

On the other hand, if the render is in good condition it may be best to simply go over the top of the existing render with a coloured render system. Your installer will need to assess for any hollow patches and areas where the damage is too excessive to safely re-render. If the existing render is damaged or cracked in any way, then sometime down the line your new render may start showing cracks or it may even start falling off the wall, so ensuring the substrate is stable is essential.

How to Repair Sand and Cement Render

Often, sand and cement render was applied to buildings as a means of covering up cheap brickwork and to give an expensive-looking finish. When cracks start to appear in your render, it’s important to repair them as soon as possible in order to prevent water ingress. As soon as water gets behind the render, the process of freezing and thawing will eventually escalate the problem – leading to timber decay, internal damp and render falling off the walls.

If removing your existing render just isn’t possible without causing excessive damage to the underlying substrate, you may be able to patch repair it before applying a coloured render on top. You can use the Levelling Mortar to patch repair your existing render, as this can be applied at a thickness of up to 50mm, creating a smooth and stable surface for your new coloured render.

If your render has come away from the wall in some places completely, you can fill this using the Levelling Mortar, but we do recommend that you are careful to ensure that the rest of the render is stable enough to support a new coloured render.

Applying coloured render on top of existing render

Once you’ve established that your existing render is safe enough to re-render with coloured render, you first need to prime the substrate with the Water Based Primer. This will limit the absorptive capacity of the underlying sand and cement render and prevent it from drawing water out of the basecoat and creating a waterlogged mess underneath.

After this, you can use the Premium Adhesive as a basecoat, with Fibreglass Mesh embedded within it; each strip of mesh should overlap by 10-15cm. The reason we recommend using the Premium Adhesive is because it is much stronger than any of our other basecoat adhesives and will ensure a stable adhesion to the underlying render. Leave the basecoat to set for 24-48 hours, then you are ready to apply your coloured render.

We recommend using a Silicone Render because it’s extremely hydrophobic and vapour permeable. This means that it will prevent water ingress while at the same time allowing trapped water vapour to escape from its surface. It’s an ideal choice for old and new buildings as it’s extremely flexible so will not crack due to structural fluctuations.

And there you have it! How to re-render with coloured render. If you have any further questions or need advice about whether your property is suitable for re-rendering with coloured render, you can call our technical team who have all the technical know-how.

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

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winter insulation materials

Winter Insulation Materials with EWI Store

Winter insulation materials… is your home prepared for winter?

Winter insulation materials are on everyone’s mind; these crisp and chilly mornings are a sure sign that the blazing heatwave of summer is over, and the dreaded task of defrosting the car every morning is drawing near. This time of year generally triggers a mass panic about where to buy winter insulation materials in order to prepare for winter, and we’re here to alleviate these stresses.

What is the solution to preparing homes for winter?

The answer to the above question is simply another question: is your home adequately insulated? If not, we’ve got everything you need. Below is an infographic all about heat loss in the home, and how external wall insulation can help.

Why choose EWI for your home?

  • Warmer in the winter
  • Cooler in the summer
  • Reduced damp
  • Reduced noise
  • Minimise energy bills
  • Extends the life of the property
  • Saves internal space

Install external wall insulation before Winter really sets in…

The best time to install external wall insulation is at this time of year, where the air temperatures are dropping but not yet freezing. EWI materials need to be used at the correct temperatures; this varies between manufacturers, but EWI Pro specify that most of their materials should be used between 5°C and 25°C. Autumn is therefore ideal for those last-minute preparations, and the good thing is that external wall insulation should only take a couple of weeks to install.

Insulating your home in the Winter? Use the right materials…

If you do happen to get to winter and discover that your insulation just isn’t enough, then it’s not too late! We have a range of winter insulation materials for installers to use during the winter months.

Winter Adhesive

Time to crack out the old Winter Adhesive. If you’re installing EPS insulation during the winter months then the Winter Adhesive is the perfect solution. It’s essentially the same as the EWI-220 EPS adhesive but it dries far quicker and is designed to be used even down to zero degrees. The Winter Adhesive is actually a bit of a lifesaver during colder climates, because it alleviates any worries about adhesive failure and resulting insulation falling off the wall.

Mineral Render

Mineral Render is a dry-mix render, so it’s in its nature to be more fast-drying. Mineral Render is intended for use in harsher climates, so it’s ideal for winter installations. It’s a thin coat render and is highly breathable, so you still get the same benefits of our other thin coat renders, the only downside is that because it’s a dry-mix it does require painting afterwards with a Silicone Paint.

Render Accelerator

If the idea of the Mineral Render really doesn’t appeal and a through-coloured render is what you want, then the Render Accelerator is the perfect solution. All you have to do is mix 200ml of the render accelerator into a 25kg tub of one of our thin coat renders, and it will speed up the drying times of the render.

The reason for render failure during colder temperatures is that it takes longer to dry and therefore water ingress becomes a problem. The accelerator completely reduces all of these worries, allowing you to install any EWI Pro thin coat render during the winter months.

Why is a fresh coat of render the best thing to have for winter?

Winter in the UK generally means miserable rain, wind and frost. Cycles of freezing and thawing can be seriously detrimental to building structures, especially if your home has an old, cracking sand and cement render. All it takes for a sand and cement render to fail is this process of freezing and thawing.

Water is easily drawn into cracks within the render before repeatedly freezing and thawing. This weakens the render and eventually, the sand and cement will fail and crumble away, leaving your wall exposed and unprotected against the elements. Worse yet is when water becomes trapped behind the non-breathable sand and cement render, moving through the walls to create damp patches internally.

A fresh coat of render installed before the temperatures really start to drop can save so much hassle. We recommend choosing a Silicone-based render, because they are extremely hydrophobic but also incredibly breathable; this means that water will not be absorbed into the render but any water vapour from inside the house can easily pass through. Silicone renders are also highly flexible, so cracking is very unlikely.

Looking for a trusted installer?

We know how hard it can be to find a responsible and reliable installer to carry out your renovation project, that’s why we have installers up and down the country who have been ‘EWI Pro approved.’ Fill out the contact form below and we will be in touch!

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coloured render vs. coloured paint

Coloured Render vs. Coloured Paint

When thinking about redecorating the exterior of your property, coloured paint is often the first thing people think of as opposed to coloured render. In fact, many people aren’t aware of how the two differ. So which is better – coloured render or coloured paint? We’re going to take a look at both to determine which one is the best choice. If you’re looking for an indepth comparison, you can also check out our dedicated blog posts ‘The best masonry paint? Silicone paint’ and ‘What is Silicone Render?’ for full detail!

What is Coloured Render?

Coloured render is a fairly specific type of render. It goes by many names, whether it’s a thin coat render, silicone render or one coat render – they all essentially mean the same thing. Coloured render is a type of render that can be tinted to create any shade; it comes ready-mixed in a bucket, ready to apply to a substrate. It’s applied in a very thin layer on top of a flexible basecoat to achieve a finish that will remain crack-free for years to come. Thin coat renders offer the amazing advantage of being incredibly flexible but also very sturdy, so crack resistance is massively increased.

There are many different types of coloured renders available on the market, the most common being Silicone and Acrylic Render. Often people think of K rend when it comes to Silicone Render, however there are many manufacturers of silicone render, all of varying qualities.

Silicone Render has taken the render industry by storm and is now really popular with property owners because of its self cleaning capabilities; it looks newer for longer, which is pretty important when it comes to making sure your coloured render looks nice in the long term. It’s also a really great option because it is highly breathable and vapour permeable – it’s therefore great for a range of substrates, including older buildings, due to the fact that it works towards preventing water ingress.

Acrylic Render on the other hand is also well-known when it comes to coloured render because it holds onto colour pigment really well, creating bright and vibrant render finishes that are resistant to UV. Acrylic Render lacks the breathability and self cleaning capabilities of the silicone, however it is impact resistant so is ideal for those who live with kids or in an area where your render is at high risk of being knocked.

Why is Coloured Render better than Coloured Paint?

Because coloured render can offer all of the aforementioned benefits, using coloured paint on its own pales in comparison. When using just coloured paint as a standalone finish, you’re more likely to see hairline cracks develop within the paint which can really damage its overall appearance – this is purely because it lacks the strength that a render possesses. Although coloured render is more expensive, we always recommend using it because it is a longer term solution. 

Nevertheless, coloured paint does have its place. Our Silicone Paint is ideal for refreshing the external appearance of an existing render. It can be tinted to create any shade, so is ideal if you have an existing EWI Pro render as we can easily match the colours up for you. It’s also hydrophobic, so will go the extra mile when it comes to reducing water ingress.

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premium bio silicone render

What is the Premium Bio Silicone Render?

New Render New Home

We are so excited to have added the Premium Bio Silicone Render to our product line-up we thought we’d write all about what it can do for you. If you’re facing ongoing issues with organic overgrowth or cracked render, read on to find out exactly what the Premium Bio Silicone Render can do for you.

The EWI Pro Premium Bio Silicone Render is newly released and is said to be the brands’ most high performance silicone-based render yet. So what sets this render apart from your typical silicone render?

Premium Bio Silicone Render – what can it do?

While Silicone render is already renowned for its amazing self-cleaning capabilities and numerous other advantages, the Premium Bio Silicone seems to take this characteristic to a whole new level.

The enhanced properties of the render means that this is the best render for maintaining colour and a clean appearance.

Self-Cleaning

Premium Bio Silicone Render actively combats any signs of organic growth that occurs on the surface of the render, easily breaking down surface vegetation with its highly hydrophobic and overgrowth-repellent surface.

UV-Resistance

Where most silicone-based renders will have a level of protection against UV rays which can fade the more intense and vibrant colours, the Premium Bio Silicone offers enhanced protection. Brighter colours will stay vibrant for longer due to this extra level of resistance, meaning that the external appearance of the property is far better maintained. Check out our colour chart to view our full range of render colours. 

Mechanical Resistance

Mechanical resistance essentially means a renders ability to withstand any impacts without cracking. Premium Bio Silicone Render offers an increased level of mechanical resistance, so if your property is prone to these problems then this is the perfect render for you.

Breathability

As with the standard classic Silicone Render, breathability is still an essential component of the Premium Bio Silicone Render. Heritage properties and high performance blockwork structures all require a breathable but protective coating to ensure that water vapour is able to escape from the building fabric.

Flexibility

As with all thin coat render technology, flexibility is an integral part of the Premium Bio Silicone Render. Once applied on top of a reinforced basecoat such as our EWI-225 Premium Adhesive, it will provide a long-lasting finish that will be able to adjust to structural movements without cracking.

The Premium Bio Silicone Render really covers all the base(coats) when it comes to tackling the common issues associated with render, and we can’t wait to see how it performs! Premium Bio is available in our standard range of colours and can be tinted to match any shade.

So there you have it! An overview of our new thin coat coloured render. Premium Bio Silicone Render is an exciting launch and we think it’ll be a real game-changer, so get your orders in early and be the first to try it out!

We upload new blog posts every Tuesday and Thursday, so stay tuned for more content.

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rendagrip

EWI-310 Universal Primer vs. Rendagrip

EWI Pro Universal Primer or Rendagrip? What’s the difference?

Rendagrip is a primer produced by the brand Everbuild, who manufacture render primers and other building materials; their extra grip bonding agent is very similar to the EWI Pro Universal Primer. Both are essentially used to create a mechanical key on smooth surfaces that are difficult to render.

Primers can be an area of confusion when it comes to choosing the right one for the right substrate. Lots of installers will have a selection of preferred primers; whether its from the EWI Pro range or another brand, priming can mean the difference between a successful installation or one that causes problems further down the line.

That’s why a common question asked by customers who are new to EWI Pro primers is the difference between our Universal Primer and similar products, like the Rendagrip primer.

Keep reading for more information about both products, or check our our complete guide to EWI Pro primers.

What is the Universal Primer?

The Universal Primer is specially designed to prepare the substrate before applying EWI Pro adhesives. It dries red in colour, so ensures that you can see where exactly it has already been applied, thereby minimising waste. The primer itself contains quartz aggregate suspended in a binding solution; the quartz aggregate adheres to the substrate and creates a textured surface, which is important to create a mechanical key for the adhesive to bind onto. Universal Primer also ensures that the absorptive capacity of the substrate is reduced.

What is Rendagrip?

Rendagrip is a strong grip render primer, containing quartz aggregate to provide a mechanical key before rendering. The Rendagrip is red in colour so you can see where you’ve painted it already, and the actual formula not only enhances adhesion but also limits the absorptive capacity of the substrate.

What’s the difference?

The differences between the two are not huge, and some installers may prefer one over the other in terms of differences in application. However, when using a full ‘system’ e.g. EWI Pro, we always recommend sticking with a primer produced by the same brand as the render. This is especially true for EWI Pro primers, as all elements of the system are formulated to work in conjunction with each other. Any clashes in material are eliminated during manufacture to ensure that the products work in harmony.

The advantage to this is that you don’t need to buy your materials from different places. We take a whole-system approach when it comes to render and EWI, and so we sell all the necessary materials through our online shop. This means that everything you need is delivered together at the same time. You receive one invoice for all of your materials and the struggle of navigating different shops and making separate payments for different products is completely eliminated.

Alternatively, our sales team can process the order for you and calculate exactly how much you will need of each product, so product waste is significantly reduced. Alternatively you can try out our quick and easy materials calculator for a guide on the amount of materials you will need; it’s very simple and at the end you get a free quotation! We’re all about ensuring convenience for installers!

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The Best Basecoat for Rendering?

The Best Basecoat for Rendering

Our range of basecoats is growing more and more extensive, so we thought we’d write about our top of the line basecoat, the Premium Basecoat, which is undoubtedly the best basecoat for rendering. We’ve also released some new branded slogan t-shirts! The ‘All About that Basecoat’ t-shirt is one of our favourites, and we think our installers will love to wear these on-site! So have a read and check out the t-shirt pictures…

All About that Basecoat?

When it comes to finding the best basecoat for rendering, the Premium Basecoat ticks all the boxes. It’s incredibly strong, breathable and flexible to ensure a render system that lasts. We always recommend using the Premium Basecoat on painted or rendered substrates for strength and stability.

As a multi-purpose adhesive, the Premium Basecoat can be used in two ways: for securing insulation boards to a substrate, and as a basecoat for rendering using a thin coat render.

Why use the Premium Basecoat?

Our Mineral Wool insulation system requires the use of the EWI-225 Premium Basecoat. This is because Mineral Wool insulation boards are much heavier than your basic EPS, so they require an extra strong adhesive – much like using super glue rather than plain old PVA.

We’ve previously written all about the difference between all of the EWI Pro adhesives in our ‘Ultimate Guide’ blog post, however to give a brief overview: the Premium Basecoat differs from our Basecoat Adhesive due to the fact that it is made of Portland cement, which is much stronger than other cements therefore creating a stable basecoat for rendering. It also contains strands of fibreglass within the material, ensuring extra tensile strength and flexibility. This means that the adhesive remains strong and stable, but also has a level of flexibility to ensure the render on top stays free of cracks.

As part of the reinforcement basecoat layer, the Premium Basecoat works well in conjunction with a Fibreglass Mesh, which is embedded within the basecoat. Each strip of mesh is overlapped, so any expansion or contraction of the external walls during heating and cooling will not cause the basecoat to crack because of the Fibreglass Mesh.

Why Choose a Breathable Basecoat?

Choosing a breathable basecoat with a breathable render finish (such as our Silicone Silicate render and Silicone render) ensures one key advantage: water vapour can pass easily through both layers of material.

This means that cracking and blown render will be significantly reduced, as well as build-up of damp within the render system. Breathable materials are also essential for older properties to ensure that the building fabric remains structurally sound.

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Common Mistakes during EWI Installations

Common Mistakes during EWI Installations

Life doesn’t always go to plan – sometimes common mistakes during EWI installations are made and things can go wrong. It’s always frustrating when something goes wrong, but rest assured there is usually a solution to the common mistakes that are made during EWI installations! We have a close relationship with all of our installers who come to us for technical advice when things don’t go as planned, which is why we know exactly how to fix the usual issues!

Our render and EWI systems are all highly specialist and need to be installed properly for full functionality. With that said, we do offer training sessions and the chance to become one of our approved installers if you attend. These sessions run every Thursday from 10am onwards and teach attendees all about our systems, how to install them and what the products are all about.

For installers who are just starting out, it takes a while to get used to the installation process, including on-site organisation, timings, materials and how best to use them. So with the intention of pre-empting any problems, here are a few common mistakes and solutions that an installer might face during an EWI or render-only installation.

On-site Planning and Organisation:

A common mistake during EWI installations is a lack of organisation and planning. Installing EWI is a process that not only involves high skill but careful planning of timings. There are many things that require an installers attention, and slip-ups can easily cause a halt to on-site works, wasting your time and money! Here are a few things to do with planning and organisation that may go wrong…

Delivery doesn’t come on time

When ordering materials, careful planning needs to go into making sure you are ordering the right quantities and that you are ordering far enough in advance to ensure that the materials arrive in time for the job to start. It’s so frustrating when workers are idle on-site because the materials haven’t arrived yet; with some companies, delivery times can be slow and on-site delivery may not even be on offer. One of our key priorities at EWI Store is making sure that we offer next day delivery. We aim to get our materials out to installers as quickly as possible, and we even have our own delivery drivers to do the job to make sure it happens!

Furthermore, if you do find that your materials are late then feel free to pop down to our premises and pick up some starter tracks so that you can at least be doing something while you wait!

Weather Conditions

When it comes to EWI and render, careful attention must be paid to the weather conditions. The materials cannot be used at low temperatures (unless you’re using our Winter Adhesive and Mineral Render!) and they cannot be used when temperatures are too high. The installation process also cannot be carried out during rain, because as we know damp can inhibit the functionality of the insulation. Always be on top of things by keeping an eye on the Met Office weather updates, this way you hopefully won’t find yourself in a situation where all of your workers are on-site and unable to do anything due to rainy conditions!

Installer-Client Communication

Part of on-site organisation involves communicating with the client to ensure that your requirements in order to carry out the work are met. If you find that the client has gone off to work and left you without access to the property for water and electricity, then you may find yourself wasting money on bottled water and even a generator. Communication with the client is key to ensuring a smooth installation process!

Drying times

Different materials at each stage of the EWI installation process have different drying times. When materials aren’t left to dry for long enough, or they’re left too long and are no longer workable, you may find that the quality of your work is impeded upon. For example, a common mistake during EWI occurs when the basecoat is left too long in the bucket and then applied directly to the substrate without re-mixing it will set much quicker and its workability will be dramatically decreased, resulting in a not-so-smooth finish. Always pay attention to the drying times on the bag, and attend one of our training sessions where all of these things are covered!

EWI Materials and Common Mistakes:  

At EWI Store, we offer free training sessions for any installers who are keen to use our materials. Those that attend are then qualified as approved installers, which means they have the knowledge and know-how that is necessary for a successful installation. Unfortunately, sometimes things can go wrong with materials on-site, whether it’s user error or other. The following are some examples of these problems.

The render is applied too thick

Our thin coat renders are designed to be applied just a few millimetres thick. Most installers who have used EWI Pro thin coat renders before will know that the thickness of the application should match the grain size. So, if you’ve chosen a 2mm grain size then you should apply it at a thickness of 2mm.

For many installers it can take a while to get used to this, and often common mistakes during EWI occur when the render is applied far too thick, purely because installers are more used to working with plaster and cementitious products with thicker application rates. In order to fix this, the quickest method is to use a plastic render float to scrape the render back to the correct thickness. Make sure you keep an eye that all the workers are applying the render correctly, as if not you will need to act fairly quickly in order to scrape it back.

Plastic fixings break

Our plastic fixings are designed to be used with our EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation boards. One of the common mistakes during EWI is to use Plastic Fixings for unsuitable insulation materials; for example, Plastic fixings will not be suitable if you are installing Mineral Wool or Wood Fibre insulation, as these materials are too heavy for the fixings to be able to hold their weight. Not only this, but all fixings need to go through both the insulation board and the substrate in order to be totally secure. If your fixings are breaking, then it could be that you aren’t drilling them in far enough. After a while you should be able to judge this by eye, but to be really sure you’re drilling far enough through then we recommend putting a piece of tape on the drill bit to indicate where you would stop drilling.

Basecoat and mesh can drag

When installing Fibreglass Mesh and embedding it within the basecoat layer, the mesh is first placed onto the basecoat and then, starting from the bottom, a trowel is used to drag the basecoat through the mesh, embedding it in the process.

With this technique the mesh can sometimes get caught, and rather than becoming embedded it is simply dragged back up the wall with the trowel creating a bit of a mess. To resolve this, we first  recommend making sure that the basecoat isn’t too wet before you attempt to embed the mesh. If this does happen, simply remove the mesh and start again, but if you find that there’s a tear in the mesh you will have to add another layer on top to reinforce this area.

There you have it! We hope that this was informative and helpful for those just starting out with EWI. Don’t forget to attend one of our training sessions which run every Thursday if you haven’t already. We upload new content every Tuesday and Thursday all about render and EWI, with information blog posts about different products, technical advice and answering customer’s FAQ’s.

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EWI Pro Adhesives: The Ultimate Guide

We’ve now gathered a pretty wide range of EWI Pro adhesives for our render and external wall insulation systems, but without any real clarification about which ones should be used with certain materials and in certain conditions.

Last time we talked about a specific range of our products, it was to provide an overview of our entire line of primers. This week we’re doing something similar and we are going to be talking about our range of adhesives and basecoats, so read on for more information!

EWI-210 EPS Adhesive

Our EPS Adhesive is designed for use purely for mounting EPS insulation boards onto a substrate. We only recommend using this adhesive for EPS because other insulation boards (Mineral Wool and Wood Fibre) are too heavy for it. It’s vapour permeable so will allow any trapped moisture to escape, all while maintaining a strong hold. This is a really versatile adhesive in that it can be used on almost any substrate, be it masonry, concrete, cement-lime or blockwork.

EWI-220 EPS Basecoat Adhesive

The EPS Basecoat Adhesive is designed to be used in two ways. As an adhesive, it is used to secure EPS insulation boards to the substrate (much like the EWI-210, but stronger). Secondly, it can be used as a basecoat for the mesh reinforcement layer. This is a really popular choice for installers because it has a dual purpose which limits the amount of products that are required on-site and also the amount of product that goes to waste.

EWI-221 Winter Adhesive

Much like the EPS Basecoat Adhesive, the Winter Adhesive is a dual-purpose product. It can be used as both basecoat and an adhesive, however the main difference here is that the Winter Adhesive can be used at temperatures down to zero degrees celsius (but no lower than zero) while still maintaining a strong adhesion. This is a fantastic solution to ensure that any hold-ups on-site due to winter weather issues are prevented.  

EWI-225 Premium Adhesive

This is our strongest and most flexible adhesive. It can be used as both an extra strong adhesive and an extra strong basecoat. We always recommend using this adhesive with Mineral Wool and Wood Fibre systems as this is a strong enough adhesive to be able to support the heavier insulation materials. The reason this is our premium adhesive is because it contains strands of fibreglass mesh within the material, which enhance its tensile strength and grip.

EWI-269 Lightweight Basecoat

Our Lightweight Basecoat is highly breathable and is perfect for heritage projects on substrates such as limestone and sandstone, and for use on high performance blockwork. This basecoat is not designed for use on top of insulation boards, but the good thing about it is that it can be applied at a thickness of up to 25mm in one pass without compromising its breathability. The Lightweight Basecoat also contains lime, which is why it’s so breathable and lightweight.

EWI-235 Dash Receiver

Last but not least is our Dash Receiver. In some ways the Dash Receiver is both adhesive and basecoat. It creates a smooth basecoat onto which the dash aggregates adhere to. The Dash Receiver is highly flexible and offers strong adhesion, so you can be sure it will remain crack free for years to come, while holding fast onto the dash aggregates.

EWI-104 Universal Tile Adhesive

The Universal Tile Adhesive is made a cement-based adhesive, with CT2E class adhesive capabilities. This is ideal for internal or external use and offers users a long correction time to enable the adjustment of tiles before it dries in order to achieve a perfect finish.

And there you have it! Our complete guide to EWI Pro adhesives. Any further questions, comment down below or get in touch with our technical team!

Recap: EWI Pro Adhesives

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Applying Coloured Render to Ziegel Block

New Ziegel Block Building, New Coloured Render

When thinking about applying a decorative finish such as coloured render on Ziegel blockwork, it’s important that the materials you are using compliment the substrate (we’ve written previously about failed renders caused by this). Ziegel blocks are known for fire safety, thermal performance and excellent indoor air quality. With that said, the right materials are required in order to compliment the functionality of the substrate and subsequently reduce cracking.

At EWI Store, we have a range of solutions for applying coloured render to high performance blockwork successfully, so let’s take a look at the process and the materials required to ensure crack resistance and a lasting finish.

Why Build with Ziegel Blockwork?

In order to understand the kind of render that would be best suited for Ziegel, we need to take a look at what exactly Ziegel blocks are and what properties they have. Ziegel blocks are renowned for being high performance because they have excellent insulating capabilities.

Their high thermal performance is due to the air channels that run vertically through each block creating a honeycomb effect, while the clay itself has more air pockets made by sawdust that is burned off in the kiln during the firing process. Ziegel blocks are also a breathable building material as they can maintain the equilibrium of humidity by storing and releasing heat and moisture, helping to maintain room comfort and healthy indoor air quality all year round.

Ziegel are also a highly dense material, creating a uniform substrate that offers reduced thermal bridging with a quick and easy construction process. Although Ziegel is a high performance block, it does need finishing with a protective layer to prevent weathering. This is where coloured render systems are ideal, because the technology of the system means that the substrates functionality is in no way hindered by the coloured render, instead the materials that go into the render system compliment the substrate.

Applying the Basecoat to Ziegel Block

Ziegel block creates a uniform, continuous substrate which is incredibly easy to render in terms of creating a smooth surface; the only area that requires close attention is using the right materials and the right method of application. You can decide based on the climate and weather conditions whether or not you need to apply a two-coat system or a three-coat render system for this kind of blockwork. The default for the UK tends to be the three-coat system because the Lightweight Basecoat and render on its own will not withstand the weather conditions.

Two-coat system:

The two-coat system consists of the application of the Lightweight Basecoat, then a tightcoat and then a render.

In a typical render system on an ordinary substrate, a substrate primer would be necessary to limit the absorptive capacity of the substrate. However, when rendering a Ziegel substrate, to limit the absorptive capacity of the substrate you do not need to prime. Instead, you spray apply a first pass of the Lightweight basecoat at approximately two thirds of the thickness it should be applied at – around 12mm. You leave this to ‘pull back’ and dry slightly before appyling the final one third to take the basecoat up to its total thickness.

The Lightweight Basecoat needs to be left for a period 0f 24-48 hours to dry, then the tightcoat is applied. This consists of another thin layer of the Lightweight Basecoat; it is applied to the dried basecoat and is sponged or rubbed up to achieve the required texture. Once the tightcoat has been applied, it can be primed and painted or primed and rendered using a ready-mix render (e.g. Silicone or Silicone Silicate). You can also use Mineral Render (and then paint with Silicone Paint) or you can use Monocouche render. The main thing here is that the tightcoat must be primed if you are using a ready-mix render such as Silicone or Silicone Silicate, because otherwise blooming may occur across the lime basecoat.

Three-coat system:

A three-coat system is the standard system that is recommended for use in the UK. The three coat system involves applying the Lightweight Basecoat in two passes, as outlined above. Once the Lightweight Basecoat has cured (after 24-48 hours), a layer of the Premium Adhesive with Fibreglass Mesh embedded is then applied on top. The Premium Adhesive is then primed using a render primer, before the render of your choice is applied; whether it’s Silicone, Silicone Silicate, Mineral or Monocouche.

The reason that the Premium Adhesive is applied as an extra layer is because it is far stronger than the Lightweight Basecoat, and when applied with a Fibreglass Mesh embedded within the adhesive it provides the required tensile strength to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions without cracking.

Applying Silicone Coloured Render to Ziegel Block

When applying coloured render to a Ziegel substrate, we really recommend the use of Silicone Render as it’s incredibly flexible, breathable and hydrophobic. It will therefore resist any cracking, prevent water ingress and allow water vapour to escape from the building fabric. It’s currently our most high performance coloured render and is an extremely versatile and popular solution for a wide range of substrates.

Silicone Render can also be tinted to create any shade of colour (hence the name coloured render). If coloured render is of interest to you, you can view our full shade range using our render colour chart, or you can purchase a coloured render sample pot.

For any further questions about applying render to Ziegel block, contact our technical team or leave a comment down below – we are always happy to help!

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

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Essential Tools for Rendering and EWI

The best render and EWI jobs are those that you are most prepared for. At EWI Store, our main goal is to make sure that every installer is fully equipped for their next EWI job with minimal fuss. When you go through EWI Store, you can find everything you need in one place, along with our technical expertise and installation advice which is always on hand. With that in mind, in no particular order, here are our essential tools that any installer should have on site with the relevant links so that you can pick up anything you need quickly and easily!

Essential trowels for rendering and EWI

Stainless Steel Trowel

If you’re a renderer, then you won’t be able to live (or do any work) without your trowel on-site. Our stainless steel trowels are reliable and hard wearing – fantastically multi-purpose in that they are ideal for use with our basecoats, adhesives, thin coat and thick coat renders. They help to apply the product super smooth and at the appropriate thickness.

Square Notched Trowel

The square notched trowel is a fundamental tool for any render or EWI installer. It’s primarily used to ensure that the basecoat is applied at the appropriate thickness and to smooth out the adhesive onto the back of the insulation boards.

Bucket Trowel

The bucket trowel is a pretty standard trowel, nevertheless it’s very handy for scooping, mixing and distributing – be it adhesive or render.

Plastic Render Float

If you’re using one of our thin coat renders, then this is a fundamental tool because you need to use it rub up the render after it’s been applied in order to get the textured finish. Using the plastic render float means that the individual grains within the render can be revealed.

Sponge Float

The sponge float is used on the basecoat layer to smooth out any trowel lines that were left during application. If you’re using a thin coat render, this is an essential step because any imperfections in the basecoat are sometimes visible through the render.

Corner Trowel

The corner trowel is primarily used to evenly distribute product around the corners and achieve a seamless finish. This is certainly a multi use tool as it is often necessary for the basecoat layer and the render top coat layer.

Speedskim

This one isn’t necessarily essential, but it is a timesaver. The Speedskim essentially allows you to rule off your basecoat, covering a wider area than an ordinary trowel it means that you can get a flat surface in less time and using less energy!

Essential tools for insulation

Mineral Wool Knife

For use with both mineral wool and wood fibre, this is a really handy knife to have on site because you can jab it straight into the insulation and start cutting. Great for if you need to cut the insulation to fit corners etc.

Spirit Level

Essential for making sure your starter track is straight, which in turn means your insulation is laid straight.

Steel EPS Rasp

Best practice for a good quality EPS installation is to use a steel EPS rasp to remove the oily layer that sits on the surface of the EPS, and create a key onto which the basecoat layer can bind.

EPS Wire Cutter

If you are installing EPS, a really handy tool to have on-site is the EPS hot wire cutter. Essentially, it melts the EPS so that you end up with super straight lines and you don’t get a rough jagged mess and polystyrene absolutely everywhere.

Industrial Hoover

When you are rasping back your EPS, you will inevitably find that it goes everywhere and blows about in the wind. Something really handy to have on site is an industrial hoover. This way, one worker can be rasping the EPS while another holds the hoover underneath ready to catch all the fall-out.

Other essential EWI and render tools to have on-site

Large Bucket

Essential for mixing adhesive and more. Also best practice for rendering (especially coloured render) is to decant all your render buckets into one large bucket so that you can mix them all together and ensure a uniform colour.

Drill and Two Batteries + Masonry Drill Bits

Pretty important if you are using mechanical screw fixings – plus, always have a backup battery! Handy bonus tip for drilling mechanical fixings is to use tape on the drill to mark how far in you need to drill the fixings.

Hammer

You’ll need a decent hammer for your plastic/metal hammer fixings.

Measuring Tape

Speaks for itself really, you’ll need to measure up your insulation boards if you’re cutting them etc!

Spades, Brush, Dustpan

Other essentials. You may find yourself needing to dig up some plants in order to gain access/move them out the way of the system, especially if you’re insulating below the DPC.

Window Covers

One of the most important things is to be mindful that you are on someone else’s property. Therefore, it’s your responsibility as the worker to protect windows etc. from damage and from getting render dripped on them.

Ladders and Stepladders

Always necessary! Make sure you follow the ‘working from heights’ guidelines.

Tank of Water

If you’re working on a domestic property, sometimes access to water isn’t available. Having a tank of water for mixing materials can be a lifesaver, so think ahead and always check with the customer whether you can use their water supply.

Safety essentials to have on-site

Gloves, Hard Hat, Boots, Goggles, First Aid Kit

Always use protection. And by that we mean protective work gear so that you aren’t putting yourself at risk. That means wearing work boots to protect your feet from falling materials and tools, goggles for when you’re rasping the EPS, and a hard hat to wear while on scaffolding. And importantly, always always always have a first aid kit on site (and someone who knows how to use it!).

Mobile Phone

In this day and age, it’s rare to find yourself without a mobile phone. However, accidents do happen and being able to contact emergency services is crucial so make sure it’s fully charged and easily accessible in case of emergencies!

So there you have it! Your basic guide to the essential tools to have on site. Any further questions? Call our technical team who are always happy to help, or leave a comment down below.

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The Ultimate Guide to Render Grain Sizes

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

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

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

1mm Render Grain Size

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

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

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

1.5mm Render Grain Size

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

2mm Render Grain Size

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

3mm Render Grain Size

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

Overview…

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

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

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Stages of an EWI Installation

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

Wall Preparation

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

Addition of Starter Tracks to the wall

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

Applying insulation to the walls

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

Addition of Beading and Verge Trims

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

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

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

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

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

Basecoat and mesh layer

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

Render Primer

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

Render

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

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

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