Author Archives: Anna Hindley

health and safety

Health and Safety when Installing EWI

Tools On-Site

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

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

Clothing

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

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

Scaffolding

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

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

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sales staff training

Why We Train Our Sales Team on How to Install EWI

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

Technical Guidance

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

Training Facilities

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

Thorough Understanding of the Materials

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

Quality Materials and Quality Service

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

 

textured render finish

Choosing a Textured Render Finish

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

Textured thin coat render

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

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

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

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

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

Monocouche Scratch Render

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

Dash Render

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

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

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Materials Required for Rendering onto ICF

What is ICF?

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

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

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


Priming the substrate:

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


Applying the Beading:

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


Applying the Basecoat:

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

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


Embedding the Mesh:

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

Coverage rates:

1x50m2 roll covers 42.5m2 when overlapped


Priming the Basecoat:

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

Coverage:

1x7L bucket covers 20m2

1x21L bucket covers 60-70m2

Drying times:

12-24 hours


Applying the render topcoat:

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

Coverage:

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

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

Drying times:

24 hours (+)

 

3 Mistakes Homeowners Make When Installing EWI

  1. Choosing the Wrong Insulation Thickness

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

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

  1.  Choosing a Non-Breathable Render

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

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

  1.  No Specification

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

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

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materials for rendering

Materials Required for Rendering onto Brickwork

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


1. Repairing the substrate:

Is the brickwork damaged or very uneven in places? You may want to consider levelling off the surface or filling any cracks using the Levelling Mortar:

Coverage rates:

1.8 kg/m2 per 1mm of layer thickness (dry mix)

Drying times:

48 hours


2. Priming the substrate:

A brickwork substrate tends to be very porous, and so it will need priming with the Water Based Primer. We recommend applying this to the substrate by roller or brush.

Coverage rates:

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

Drying times:

1 coat takes 4 hours to dry.


3. Applying the Beading:

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


4. Applying the Basecoat:

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

Coverage rates:

1x25kg bag covers 4.5m2

Drying times:

24-48 hours


5. Embedding the Mesh:

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

Coverage rates:

1x50m2 roll covers 42.5m2 when overlapped


6. Priming the Basecoat:

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

Coverage:

1x7L bucket covers 20m2

1x21L bucket covers 60-70m2

Drying times:

12-24 hours


7. Applying the render topcoat:

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

Coverage:

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

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

Drying times:

24 hours (+)


 

Kingspan K5

Tips for Installing Kingspan K5 Insulation

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

Securing Kingspan K5 Boards to the Substrate

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

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

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

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

Applying the Basecoat to Kingspan K5 Boards

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

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

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

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OCDC

The Best Way to Get Rid of Pebbledash – OCDC!

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

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

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

What is Pebbledash?

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

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

How does OCDC work?

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

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

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

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

Shop the OCDC Product Now!

waterproof render

The Most Waterproof Render?

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing a Waterproof Render – The Premium Bio Silicone Render

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

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

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

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

How to Install Waterproof Render?

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

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

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foam insulation

Types of Foam Insulation for EWI

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

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

Expanded Polystyrene Insulation (EPS)

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

Extruded Polystyrene Insulation (XPS)

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

Polyisocyanurate Insulation (PIR)

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

Thermal Performance of Foam Insulation

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

 

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silicone renders

Silicone Silicate vs. Silicone vs. Premium Bio Silicone Renders

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

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

Silicone Silicate Render

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

  • Breathable
  • Water-repelling
  • Flexible
  • Great value

Silicone Render

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

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

Premium Bio Silicone Render

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

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

How do I choose a coloured render?

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

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

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

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thermal cladding

The Best Type of Thermal Cladding for Houses

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

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

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

Thermal Cladding: What are the benefits?

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

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

Insulation Materials for Thermal Cladding

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

How is Thermal Cladding Installed?

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

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

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

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mineral wool vs. wood fibre

Wood Fibre vs. Mineral Wool EWI

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

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

Thermal Performance

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

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

Breathability

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

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

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

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

Environmental Impact

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

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

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

Fire Resistance

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

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

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cutting EPS

The Best Way to Cut EPS Insulation

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

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

Using the hot wire cutter on EPS insulation

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

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

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

Precision cutting: the hot knife cutter

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

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

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

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benefits of kingspan

5 Benefits of Using Kingspan Insulation for EWI

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

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

1. High Compressive Strength

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

2. Advanced thermal performance

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

3. Resistance to Moisture

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

4. Environmentally Friendly

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

5. Great fire resistance

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

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

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levelling mortar parge coat

Using the Levelling Mortar for a Parge Coat

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

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

Creating a Parge Coat on New Build Blockwork

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

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

Using the Levelling Mortar to Repair a Substrate

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

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

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

Building up Render Thickness with the Levelling Mortar

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

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

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coloured render

3 Easy Steps to Choosing Coloured Render

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

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

1. Choosing the Type of Coloured Render

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

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

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

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

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

2. Choosing Colour with a Coloured Render Colour Chart

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

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

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

3. Testing EWI Pro Coloured Renders

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

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

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

applying render to OSB

Applying Render to OSB

How one should go about applying render to OSB is a question that we get asked on a near-daily basis. The simple answer is that applying render directly onto the OSB is not an ideal situation – it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, OSB is wood.

Nevertheless, there is a solution for rendering OSB, and we’re going to talk you through the best way you can do this!

Rendering OSB: Render Carrier Board

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

To avoid this, the best solution is to use render carrier board. However, render carrier board needs to be attached to battens, rather than to the OSB directly. This is because the two separate fabrics (the RCB board and the OSB) need ventilation between them 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 therefore necessary for the reduction of condensation.

The best course of action is to:

  • First, staple a breather membrane onto the OSB substrate – this will help prevent the build-up of condensation on the surface of the wood.
  • Next, install timber battens on top of the OSB (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 onto the battens with wood screws.

The spacing of the boards will depend on the type of render carrier board you are using, but 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 a breathable, self-adhesive membrane, so it will prevent water vapour from gathering in the gaps between boards.

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.

Allow the basecoat to set for a period of 24-48 hours, before priming the basecoat with a Render Primer. 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 buildings 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 of the OSB and RCB boards, you are finally ready to render. Using our ready-to-use Silicone Render, apply it onto the substrate using a trowel. The render should go on at a thickness that matches the chosen grain size – for example, if you’ve chosen a 1.5mm grain size finish, then you should apply the render at 1.5mm thick.

Once distributed across the surface, 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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Kingspan K5

Installing EWI with Kingspan K5

We’re excited to be stocking Kingspan K5 external wall insulation boards for customers to use as part of our systems! As a result of this, we’ve had many questions about how to integrate them with the rest of our materials, most especially which materials to use to install the Kingspan.

If you’re used to doing EWI, then you will find that Kingspan is very easy to install so we’re going to talk a little bit about why you may want to use Kingspan K5 insulation, as well as how you would go about installing it!

What is Kingspan K5?

Kingspan K5 boards are designed specifically for use as part of an external wall insulation system – they are fitted to the exterior of a property using a combination of adhesive and mechanical fixings. While EPS (expanded polystyrene) is our most popular insulating material, Kingspan insulation offers different advantages.

Kingspan K5 has a phenolic core (phenolic is a type of plastic), giving it excellent thermal capabilities. In fact, the thermal properties of Kingspan are greater than EPS. When choosing to install EPS insulation, it’s important to remember that 90mm of insulation is required to meet building regulations. On the other hand, Kingspan K5 boards (despite being more expensive than EPS) only need to be 60mm thick to reach building regulations. This means that if space is an issue, Kingspan can be a more advantageous choice.

The other advantage of Kingspan K5 boards is that they are a far denser board with a higher compressive strength. Kingspan insulation is often used for floor insulation due to its strength, so in EWI systems where impact resistance is key Kingspan wins hands down.

How to Install Kingspan K5 External Wall Insulation?

Installing K5 boards as part of an EWI system is easy. We recommend using our Premium Basecoat as an adhesive to secure the boards to the substrate. Although they are relatively lightweight compared to Mineral Wool, K5 boards are still heavier than EPS and therefore require our strongest adhesive.

Our standard method of applying the adhesive should be used for Kingspan. The ‘dot and dab’ method involves applying the adhesive right the way around the perimeter of the board, with three dabs in the middle. Once this has been applied to the back of the board, they should be staggered in the usual formation upwards from the uPVC starter track.

The slight difference with K5 boards is that they require metal screw fixings to secure them to the substrate. Hammer fixings (be it plastic or metal) are more commonly used for EWI, however, because Kingspan K5 boards are a more rigid structure than EPS, the metal screw fixings are a better choice.

Applying Render to Kingspan

Kingspan K5 boards are ideal for use with a lightweight render on top, such as our Silicone Silicate render system. The Premium Basecoat should once again be used within the basecoat reinforcement layer; this should be applied up to 6mm thick with a Fibreglass Mesh embedded within it.

Once the basecoat has dried, it will need priming with the render primer that corresponds with the render. For example, our Silicone Silicate primer is intended for use with our Silicone Silicate render. Simply paint on the primer using a roller brush, then leave to dry for 12 hours.

Once the render primer has dried, you are finally ready to render! You can start applying the Silicone Silicate render using a trowel. Remember to apply the render at a thickness that corresponds with the grain size – so, for example, a 1.5mm grain size render would be applied at 1.5mm thick. Spread the render out and rub it up using a plastic render float to bring out the texture. Once applied, leave the render to dry for a minimum of 24 hours.

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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 for ewi and render

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 resistant, 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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