Author Archives: Nicholas Miles

Manufacturer product partners

EWI Store is on the lookout for new product suppliers

Who are EWI Store and what we do

Based in the building and construction sector, we are the leading seller of specialist coloured render, silicone renders and external wall insulation systems in the South East. In addition, in 2020 with our new National Distribution Centre in Aylesbury, we are geared more than ever to supply these specialist materials all around the country.

We have a large database of installers across the UK who use our systems and materials. We’re excited to say we’re looking for new supplier partners in this space to help us grow the market for these fantastic products. 

It is an opportunity to display your products both in our Aylesbury branch and our Chessington branch in Surrey to complement some of the most fantastic and well-known brands that we already partner with today.

The 2020’s offer a great opportunity for manufacturers to partner with EWI Store to take their first step into business development in the UK or in general to grow their current opportunities in this geographical sphere. We are keen to maintain strong a relationship with our end customers, so excellent customer service and organisation skills are necessary from all of our partners. This opening is a an excellent experience for any producer to partner with us and expose their products to 1000s of customers. 

Manufacturing and product partners already working with EWI Store

Kingspan are a world leading manufacturer of high performance phenolic, PIR and other thermal insulation boards for multiple applications on any building. Working with EWI Store since 2018, Kingspan have been providing the thermally efficient K5 external wall insulation boards, helping properties insulate their walls whilst maximising the space.

This is an example of the K5 external wall insulation board. Feel free to click through and see how this product has been retailing to the online market.

EWI Pro Insulation Systems are a leading manufacturer of specialist thin coat or silicone coloured render systems – designing coloured render or insulated render systems that are installed on multiple substrates and property types in the UK. Working with EWI Store since 2013, EWI Pro provide provides a series of basecoats, adhesives, topcoats and coloured paints. It has provided specification and technical support for various scenarios and projects we have supported over the years.

This is an example of the highly popular Premium Basecoat and the Silicone Render products – key products for both coloured and insulated render systems. Feel free to click through and see how this product has been retailing to the online market.


Rockwool are a renowned producer of stone wool / rock wool products used in all aspects of construction in the UK and Europe. The products are knows as being A1 non-combustible therefore used on public buildings and hi-rise developments. With the main factory in the UK based in South Wales, Rockwool have been supplying EWI Store specialist dual density external wall insulation slabs since 2014.

The first product being the A1 fire rated dual-density slab – used on external wall applications on a number of substrates. The RWA45 slab on the other hand is used in insulating in between wall structures.

Saint-Gobain Weber (according to their website) specialise in the manufacture of industrial mortar products including renders and decorative finishes, tile fixing products, floor screeds and other building chemicals. Working with EWI Store since 2019, Weber have been supply specialist monocouche or scratch renders as an alternative to sand & cement finishes.

This is an example of Weber’s scratch render. Click on the product for more details.

EWI Store seeking the following type of producers and manufacturers

As discussed EWI Store is open to all types of manufacturers and producers that can complement our existing offering or add-to it by offering similar products in this space. If you are a supplier of specialist facade products, accessories or machinery then we would be happy to hear from you. Also if you produce building products that add to the internal plastering market, it would be interesting to get in contact with us.

Here are the values or qualities that we expect from our partners:

  • Product quality driven – able to bring out the distinguishable elements of your product above anyone else’s in the markeplace;
  • Technically equipped with literature and support to enable us to effectively use a ‘solution based approach’ when marketing them to this industry;
  • Quality communication – be contactable and responsive to product, technical and logistical queries;
  • New stock responsiveness needs to be high. In a fast moving industry you must be prepared to move the stock requests in a robust way so that the end customer is services in an efficient way.
  • Support the marketing drive – have marketing literature available like guides and stands so that your products can be placed in front of our customers.

Want to work with EWI Store – what are the next steps?

If you are interested in partnering with EWI Store then there are several ways to get in contact with us, but the best way is to send us an email with a short proposal. This proposal should include a short paragraph on why your products meet our criteria and values set-out above.

Email us at: [email protected]

Call us on: +44 203 3974067 (Option 1 for Sales)

thin coat render

Coloured Render vs. Insulated Render – Ultimate Guide

As we are well into the 2020s, the demand for insulation, external decorative products and coloured render is rising. The 2020s has seen another generational shift, as renderers are moving away ever more away from traditional cement and choosing various coloured render or insulated render products.

In this industry, the terms ‘coloured render’ and ‘insulated render’ are talked about a lot. The terms are often used interchangeably, however subtle differences do exist and in this blog we are going to take a look at these in a bit more detail, so that the appropriate solutions can be used on your next and upcoming project.

What is coloured render?

Coloured render refers to render that is coloured right through it’s final decorative coat in one uniform appearance. Sand and cement render is not coloured render. When we refer to coloured render we usually refer to the EWI-010 Acrylic Render and the EWI-075 Silicone Render (also known as thin-coat renders), which form the final finish as part of a multi-layer build-up; or we refer to EWI-090 Monocouche Scratch Render, which is also coloured through and can be applied either on its own or on top of a basecoat preparation layer. Our coloured renders can now be matched to NCS colours as part of our colour matching service!

Acrylic Render, Silicone Silicate Render, Silicone Render, Premium Bio Render and Nano Drex Render are all examples of coloured renders. Coloured renders are also referred to as thin-coat renders. 

The next section talks about the nuances in the family of coloured renders. 

What are the differences in the coloured render types?

The acrylic or silicone renders usually come in wet bucket form and are manufactured in a standard white colour. To produce the coloured render, the acrylic or silicone renders go through a tinting machine, which consists of a pigment dispenser and a shaker. The coloured pigment is dispensed into a bucket in a controlled environment and this bucket is shaken-up by the shaker to produce one uniform colour throughout.

Monocouche scratch renders, come in a dry format, usually in 25kg bags – these are pre-mixed in different colours, and need to be mixed with clean potable water to make it ready for application.

Since monocouche render is pre-mixed with different colours, you will probably not be surprised to learn that the numbers of colours available with this type of render is limited. In fact, when going with a monocouche coloured render, you can pick from about a dozen or so different colours, but if you opt for the thin coat coloured renders you can literally pick from thousands of colours.

Achieving different types of finishes

Another difference between monocouche and thin coat renders is the type of finish that is achieved. While the thin coat renders, usually leave a textured, slightly grained type finish, the monocouche scratch renders achieve a pitted effect, by effectively leaving little scratches on the surface (hence often referred to as scratch coloured render). Both finishes look great, so choosing which coloured render to go for normally comes down to which look the end-user prefers.

However what we have found that since the turn of the 2020’s more and more customers are turning towards the thin coat coloured renders due to their additional hydrophobic and flexible qualities.

Difference in application procedure

The other differences between the two different coloured renders is how they are applied to the wall. The scratch render is in applied at a thickness of 18mm and scratched back using a scratch render scraper to give a final thickness of 16mm. Conversely the thin coat renders are applied at a thickness of 1-3mm onto a flexible basecoat layer (basecoat + embedded mesh). This means that a bucket of thin coat render will go far further in terms of coverage than a bag of monocouche scratch coloured render when applied to the wall.

Our dash receiver is also bagged like the monocouche scratch render and comes in different colours, but the decorative pebbles that stick on the outer surface form the main part of the decorative feature so the amount of actual dash receiver you can see is limited.

The “dash look” is rather dated and was quite popular in the 1970s and 1980s. However we do still have requests occasionally is parts of Wales or Scotland. 

The second part of the blog now explores what insulated render is.

What is insulated render?

Very often when we refer to insulated render, we refer to a coloured through render backed on an external wall insulation material. This external wall insulation material can either be lightweight EPS, stone wool (mineral wool), K5 phenolic or wood fibre insulation board. The insulated render part is the final decorative layer that sits on top of the reinforcement layer, which in turn sits on top of the insulating material.  The whole system in therefore an example of an insulated render system or a external wall insulation system (EWI).

Insulated renders as parts of external wall insulation systems first introduced the “coloured render” component to the UK as part of the overall concept in the early 1990s. 

What are the differences in the insulated render types?

There are differences in insulated render types, which are characterised by the differences in the build-up – starting from the insulation material, to the reinforcement layer and then a variation in the decorative look.

For example, insulated renders can use one of the following insulating materials: EPS, Mineral Wool, K5 phenolic and Wood fibre insulation. Phenolic insulated has the best thermal insulating value followed by the EPS, Mineral Wool and then the Woodfibre. On timber backed systems you would want to go for something like the woodfibre, whereas if you are insulating traditional brick, then you have a choice of all four depending on the individual choices and preferences.

Basecoats and reinforcement mesh may vary to achieve a different preparatory coat ready to receive the final coat. Basecoats can either be in the grey or white adhesive types. Also, the system build-up may contain a slight variation in the weight of the fibreglass mesh, with one coat mesh or two coat mesh being used for different impact resistance requirements.

Achieving a nice and level basecoat is absolutely crucial in getting the best type of aesthetic finish on the final silicone or other thin coat texture. In addition depending on the use of the wall being reinforced, 2 layers or fibreglass mesh can be installed or a panzer mesh instead of one regular level of mesh to give the overall wall additional structural strength. 

Coloured renders like the thin coat silicone or acrylic can sit on top of an insulated render system and work very well. Monocouche scratch render can also sit on top of the reinforcement layer, but it is not commonly specified due to the weight/ load of this final coat of the coloured through render. Some manufacturers do specify monocouche or scratch render on top of insulation, but we are a bit sceptical on its long term performance due to the load and flexibility issues.

Can the render itself be ‘insulating’?

In certain and rare circumstances, the coloured render itself can contain special insulating properties, which when used as part of the render build-up can be considered an insulating render. These coloured renders don’t necessarily have an insulating material behind it. An example of a coloured render that is also an insulated render, is using a basecoat that contains a certain amount of the following ingredients (not limited to this list): perlite, EPS, cork or aerogel, and the product itself has a declared lambda value (ƛ) on the product packaging.

Remember the lower the lambda the better the insulating property of the material. For example the K5 Phenolic board has a declared lambda of 0.018-0.020 whereas the Mineral Wool is 0.036. Therefore we can conclude that the K5 phenolic board is a better insulator than the Mineral Wool for a given level of thickness.

An example build-up of coloured render with insulating properties: the EWI-520 Insulating Basecoat (limited availability and special orders only) with a layer of fibreglass mesh to give the layer flexibility; finished off with 1.5mm of the EWI-075 Silicone Render.

Limitations of insulated render materials

Although the insulated coloured render in this example has insulation properties, it would not replace the degree of insulation associated by installing a full external wall insulation system. You could install this type of system in areas of difficult access or where it would be tricky to thicken the walls by a certain degree due to width (boundary) restrictions around the property.

Additionally you may want to use the insulated render on the window reveals, where applying a 20mm insulation board is not a practical situation. You can also have these details between openings and facias & gutters. 

Coloured renders and insulated renders in summary

As discussed above coloured renders and insulated renders are used interchangeably in the industry but you do have subtle differences. Coloured render refers to the cement-based plaster applied either as a basecoat and a thin-coat decorative finish; or to a one-coat Monocouche Scratch Render applied in one pass onto the substrate. Therefore there would be additional external insulating boards stuck on the substrate waiting to receive the coloured render itself.

Insulated Render usually refers to an external wall insulation system that not only contains a coloured render, but an insulation material that is adhered to the substrate. This insulation material can EPS, Mineral Wool, K5 Phenolic or Wood fibre insulation.

Coloured render can also have insulating properties, but it must be declared on the packaging. However this can be used to take the edge of a substrate rather than as a prime insulating material for the purposes of thermal insulation. I.e. applying 100mm of insulating cement based plaster is just practical. 

2020’s outlook for coloured render

We are finding that the 2020’s have brought about a significant increase in demand for coloured render finishes either as a render itself or with an insulating board applied. Sand & cement while still widely used is slowly being phased out due to the fact that once applied does not have the benefits offered by coloured and insulated renders.

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    Looking to re-render a property?

    If you are looking to re-render a wall then EWI Store can provide all the materials. The process is relatively simple, but the finish should be long lasting and certainly improve the look of the existing façade.

    Do you need to remove the existing render?

    To re-render a wall, the first thing you must do is check the quality of the existing render. If in any doubt about its strength, then it must be removed before applying the new render coat. This is a painful but necessary process, since the new render needs to be installed on a stable substrate. If it is not removed prior to installing the new render, then sometime down the line cracks may appear or worse, your new coat of render will fall away from the wall.

    If the existing render is okay in patches, then you have a choice – you can either remove the existing render so you are left with the bare wall or you can using a wall levelling compound to where the old render has come away from the wall. The wall levelling compound we provide can fill gaps of up to 50mm, so this can be used to build up to the thickness of the good render to give you a stable surface on which to apply the new render.

    Following either of the methods above will give you a suitable surface on which to re-render. Once you have a strong, stable surface, the next thing to do is install the reinforcement layer. Using a notched trowel, you need to add a 6mm layer of EWI-220 Adhesive to the wall. Each 25kg bag of EWI-220 (once mixed with water to form the adhesive putty) should cover approximately 5m2 when 6mm thick is applied.

    Reinforcing the reinforcement layer (or basecoat!)

    Once applied, you then need to embed the fibreglass reinforcement mesh (EWI-640). This comes in rolls – 50m long by 1m wide. We recommend doing this in vertical stripes, and each stripe needs to overlap the last by 100mm. The easiest way to embed the mesh is to first cut a strip the length of the wall top to bottom then, starting at the top, gently push the mesh into the adhesive, so it stays in place. Once the mesh has been gently pushed in by hand, turn the notched trowel around so you are using the flat edge and drive this down from the top – this will draw adhesive through the holes in the mesh and embed it within the adhesive layer.

    The aim is to get the mesh embedded within the middle of the adhesive layer – the mesh is really important as it provides strength and flexibility to the render system, ensuring it won’t crack.

    Once you have embedded the mesh, stand back and admire your handiwork. If it is not completely flat, we recommend using a wet adhesive mix to smooth out the surface. Do this before the underlying adhesive has fully gone off to ensure it adheres properly. It is very important the reinforcement layer is flat prior to applying the render because the render layer is very flat.

    Once you are happy with the reinforcement layer it is time to prepare the wall for the final render topcoat. The key to a nice finish when rendering is applying the render very thinly – if the render is 1.5mm, then the render layer should be 1.5mm in total. Likewise if the render finish is 1mm (size of aggregate in the render) then the render layer should be just 1mm in total.

    The first thing to do prior to applying the render is to prime the wall first. If you are using a colour render finish, then normally the primer will need to be tinted as well – check that this is the case before starting the render work.

    One 21kg bucket of primer will cover approximately 70m2 of wall, while the small 7kg bucket will do just over 20m2. The primer can be applied with either a brush or a roller and this needs to go off before applying the final top coat of render. It is important to match the primer type (e.g. acrylic or silicone) to the final render you are using.

    Picking the render

    We offer several different types of render including water based renders (acrylic, silicone silicate and silicone) as well as mineral render which is concrete-based.

    The water based renders come ready mixed and tinted as per the colour selection. The mineral render is a grey colour and needs to be painted once it has been applied to the wall. We have discussed the major differences between the renders previously and you can read more about that by clicking on the link below

    >>> What is the difference between the renders? <<<

    Applying the render

    The render is applied using a trowel as usual; ensure you take off any excess though, as the render layer is incredibly thin. Once the render is on the wall, the final finish is achieved using a plastic float.