Tag Archives: Insulation

Where can I find an EWI installer in Birmingham?

Here at EWI Store, we understand the importance of having a warm home to come back to after those dark and chilly winter days. Homeowners can unwittingly lose up to 50% of heat through their walls, effectively heating the outdoors.

It’s important that when you are considering an EWI installation, you have a reliable and professional installer at hand to provide a great quality of service. Here at EWI store, we have a list of approved installers who have undertaken our specialist training course, and who we can put you in touch with. If you are homeowner in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, or the surrounding West Midlands, and you are considering EWI, then Thermal Render Solutions are the installers for you!

By installing EWI (external wall insulation) you can achieve three main things:

  • Keeping your home warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer.
  • EWI can halve your heating bill (using less energy: helping the environment).
  • Improving the overall look and energy efficiency rating of your property, and therefore potentially increasing its value.

Installing EWI isn’t a small job, and a trustworthy, experienced installer is an essential factor towards achieving a positive outcome.

Who are Thermal Render Solutions?

Thermal Render Solutions are a highly commended company based in Wolverhampton, providing external wall insulation services all across the West Midlands and surrounding counties. They provide homeowners in Birmingham and the West Midlands with the best quality BBA (British Board of Agrément) approved EWI, sourcing their products directly from us here at EWIstore.

With almost twenty years’ experience as EWI installers, your home is in safe hands and Thermal Render Solutions can guarantee you a great installation job. Keep reading to see some of their fantastic before and after installation photos below!

If you are based in the West Midlands, a number of EWI services are available to you with Thermal Render Solutions, including:

  • External wall insulation
  • Through coloured render (monocouche)
  • Mesh reinforced crack resistance render
  • Weather-resistant nanoxil render
  • EWI/render surveys, inspections and repair advice

Are Thermal Render Products Improving the ‘Look’ of Birmingham?

Birmingham has a largely industrial past, and as a result has expanded over the years into a vast metropolitan city. Due to heavy air raid attacks during WWII, Birmingham has also been historically associated with the ‘concrete jungle’ look arising from the post war housing crisis.

When it comes to domestic properties, this means that EWI will benefit your home in numerous ways: by improving thermal comfort, saving internal floor area (essential for spatially smaller city properties), insulating against city noise (road traffic etc.) and enhancing external appearance.

Thermal Render Solutions have worked on installing EWI on many different Birmingham homes and as a result have contributed to the improvement of the city’s outlook, with customers reporting a noticeable difference to their home.

If you are interested in external wall insulation, then definitely give Thermal Render Solutions a call on: 01902 686283 or 07507 893222

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free quote on EWI materials, then you can fill out our materials calculator here. Our sales team are all experts on our products and would be happy to provide you with any technical information that you require.

What is Acrylic Render? EWI Pro Coloured Renders

About Acrylic render

Here at EWI Store we have a range of different renders, all of which have different characteristics and achieve different finishes for the external walls of your home. However, when faced with so many options and render types, and with a lack of information out there to guide you – which coloured render do you choose? We want our customers to always be happy with our products and the results they produce, so allow us to shed some light on what each coloured render is so that you can hopefully choose the render that is right for you.

What is acrylic render? We often get asked this, because there seems to be a fair amount of confusion as to what the difference is between acrylic and silicone renders or acrylic and monocouche scratch render. So, we’re going to break it down into what acrylic render is, what its properties are and how it compares to the other renders that we offer.

Acrylic render is a wet, thin-coat render which comes pre-mixed (ready to use) in a wide variety of colours, used as a decorative finish to an EWI system. Our EWI-010 Acrylic Render comes in four different grain sizes: 1.0mm, 1.5mm, 2.0mm and 3.0mm. What this means is that when you look at the wall from a distance, the larger the grain size the more apparent the texture will be, it’s all down to personal preference but essentially if you want a smoother surface you’d go for a 1.0mm grain size.

Acrylic render is a popular choice because it’s long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing and forms a strong protective barrier over your EWI system or simply as part of a render-only system.

Acrylic render is a great coloured render

If you wish to paint your house a bright colour and you are looking for a coloured render that can be mixed into any shade, then through-coloured acrylic render is great because much like acrylic paint it bonds to colour pigment well, so the intensity of the colour will last a much longer time than other coloured renders. This means that you won’t need to re-paint it every 10 years or so, which can be consuming on your time and money, and considering that our acrylic render is one of our cheapest, it’s a pretty cost-efficient way to render your home.

Acrylic render is also a great choice in terms of being crack resistant, so it will ensure longevity in this respect. Our acrylic render is also the best value in comparison to other coloured renders, because it is long-lasting and only needs to be applied in one coat, so you will save money on labour costs.

Acrylic render and Silicone render

However, there are some minor downsides to the acrylic render when you compare it to the silicone render. Acrylic render takes slightly longer to dry, so cannot be installed in wet conditions – but this is common for renders anyway. It’s also a little bit less resistant to extreme weather conditions and due to the fact that it doesn’t contain silicone it doesn’t have the same hydrophobic properties as silicone render.

Silicone render also has self-cleaning properties, which means it is less prone to organic growth. So in terms of comparing it to acrylic render, you’ll probably need to clean acrylic more regularly than Silicone.  Acrylic render does offer breathability, however it isn’t quite at the level that silicone render can provide.

Acrylic render and Monocouche Scratch render

Whilst silicone render could be considered the slightly higher performing sibling to acrylic, monocouche is very different. The monocouche render is a thick-coat, traditional-style render. Instead of coming readily prepared, it needs mixing with water in a mechanical mixer and then it is applied to the wall in two layers with a trowel. Once both the layers have set slightly, it is scratched back to create the desired texture. The method of application for monocouche renders is slightly more challenging and could be difficult if you are an inexperienced do-it-yourself-er.

The good thing about the monocouche render is that once you have gone through the application process, it is pretty much maintenance free and, as with all our renders, is very long lasting. In terms of comparing it to the acrylic render, due to the fact that acrylic is a thin-coat render whereas monocouche is a thick-coat render, this means that acrylic render will offer you a level of breathability and flexibility that monocouche naturally on its own will not (unless you use fibreglass mesh with the monocouche).

So, there you have it, acrylic render is a great thin-coat render and can offer you the good performance and longevity that you require! If you are interested in any of our renders and you are still feeling unsure about which direction to go in, then do give us a call as our sales team are all experts and would be happy to help.

Infrared heaters and external wall insulation

Our friends over at the Eco Store are very enthusiastic about their infrared heating panels. So, we thought we would collaborate with them on this blog post to talk a little bit about why infrared heating panels and EWI are a bit of a match made in heaven. For more information about External Solid Wall Insulation, TheGreenAge wrote a really useful blog about it, which you can check out here.

What is infrared heating?

Well, infrared heating panels are a great energy-saving way to heat your home. Infrared produces a dry, sun-like heat. It’s considered to be a potentially environmentally friendly way to heat a property due to the fact that it does not directly produce any emissions – although they do run off of electricity, so their eco credentials depend on the source of your power.

How it works in scientific terms is that the infrared panel produces electromagnetic waves (radiation) which, when they hit an object, cause surface molecules to gain energy. When these molecules gain energy, they vibrate in place which produces heat.

The good thing about infrared is that it doesn’t heat up the air. This basically means that when you open the front door, the heat doesn’t whoosh out of the house, so you don’t need to use up even more electricity to constantly be reheating the house over and over again. This is because Infrared heaters heat up people, things and objects, and this is exactly where external wall insulation comes in really handy…

How do Infrared and EWI work together?

When your infrared panel is switched on, the heat that you will feel from it is from the infrared radiation hitting your skin. This is the primary method of how infrared produces heat. The secondary heating method of infrared is when the heat from your panel penetrates the fabric of the house, heating up the surface of the wall. The infrared heater will warm up the wall that it is attached to, and subsequently the heat from the warm wall will then gradually radiate back into the room.

Now, say you have mounted your panel onto a wall which is externally insulated with EWI. As before, the infrared panel heats up your wall. Heat from the warm wall is redirected into the room, however, with the external wall insulation it will far more effectively store the infrared heat. This way, once your panel is switched off, the EWI will gradually be redirecting the stored heat energy back into the room for much longer, thereby maintaining the room’s temperature so you won’t need the panel on for as long.

The good thing about infrared with external wall insulation is that you don’t have to worry about problems with damp. Because infrared is heating up the surface of objects it will produce a drying effect – particularly if it’s mounted onto the wall, so any problems with damp that you may have previously had will be resolved, and your EWI on that wall will be even more effective due to the support the infrared provides.

What if Infrared and external wall insulation makes my house too hot?

The great thing about infrared is that you can wire it to your thermostat. Once you switch on your infrared it gets going emitting heat and raising the temperature of the room. Then, as soon as the room is heated to the temperature on the thermostat, then the thermostat will automatically switch the panel off. So you don’t even have to lift a finger or keep having to remember to switch it off! 

The added benefit of EWI is that once your room is up to temperature and the infrared panel has been switched off by the thermostat, the externally insulated wall will maintain the heat in the room for much longer. Infrared panels do run on electricity, which is more expensive to run than gas. However, with EWI you will have them running for a lot less longer and a lot less often – plus, with the thermostat you won’t accidentally forget to switch it off and then end up running up your electricity bills. The actual panel also has a much longer life as a product when compared to other electric heaters so investing in the panels at the start will save you money in the long run.

If you are interested in infrared, then you can check them out on the Eco Store or give them a call – their sales team are very knowledgeable about how infrared can work for different homes. As for external wall insulation, give us a call here at EWI store and we will be able to point you in the direction of one of our approved installers!

Can I install EWI onto my flat?

There seems to be a bit of a gap in information out there about whether it is possible to install external wall insulation (EWI) onto a flat, so we wanted to answer this question for you and provide as much information as possible for any flat-owners who are considering EWI!

In most cases the answer is yes, you can install EWI onto a flat. However, usually the insulated render system is sealed at the top where it meets the soffit of the roof. So, on a groundfloor flat the insulation must be sealed at the top by other methods. This is because if it isn’t sealed, the exposed edges of the insulation can allow for water to seep behind the back of the insulation boards which can in turn effect the integrity of the EWI system, and water can then also enter the property through the walls causing problems with damp and mould.

We would recommend that EWI is most ideal for people who own a ground floor flat. This way, the EWI is at least sealed at the base so to prevent too much heat loss and water ingress, and the EWI will most likely be less noticeable.

So how do you install external wall insulation onto a flat?

Installing external wall insulation onto a flat is a slightly different process than with a normal house. This is because if the top of the insulation is exposed, i.e. does not meet the soffit of the roof, then certain actions will have to be taken to ensure that the EWI on your flat is water-tight.

There are a few options to consider in order to achieve a water-tight finish:

With the upper ledge of your insulated render system exposed, you will always need to use a verge trim to protect the EWI from water exposure. One option is using a basic verge trim which screws into the wall above the EWI. However, this is not entirely water tight because the top of the verge trim is not sealed, so you will need to use a sealant along the upper edge of the external insulation to prevent water running down its back.

The second option is using a Grind-in verge trim. As the name suggests, this is a verge trim with the length of its upper edge inserted into the wall surface. However, you have to first damage the surface of the existing wall to insert the verge trim, and the result is that it’s still not completely watertight. This method is therefore still a bit risky.

We suggest that the best option is to use lead flashing with a normal verge trim. This doubles up the waterproofing so that the lead flashing protects the verge trim, and the verge trim protects the top of the EWI.

As for the base of the external solid wall insulation, if it’s exposed (because your flat is not on the ground floor), then we recommend the use of white PVC so that it will look nicer for your neighbours below to look up at.

Pro’s of installing external wall insulation onto your flat

EWI is a great way to save energy on your heating bills. Most flats have electric heating, which is far more expensive than gas heating. This means that heat loss through the external walls of a flat is much more problematic for you as the homeowner, because you then need to spend even more money on re-heating the flat. EWI can dramatically reduce the amount of heat being transferred through the walls of your flat and save you a lot of money on energy bills every year.

As well as this, people who live in flats are often in a more built up area which suggests more noise from road traffic. For people living on ground-floor flats this is potentially more of an issue and can be exceedingly unpleasant, so installing insulated render can greatly improve the amount of noise that enters your home.

People living in flats are also the most likely candidates to be struggling for space. EWI takes up absolutely none of the internal floor space, which means that your property will not lose any value due to a decrease in the size of its rooms and you will still have plenty of moving around space!

Cons of installing EWI onto your flat

If you install external wall insulation onto your flat, depending upon the thickness of the insulation boards, it could mean that the external walls of your flat will physically stand out from the rest of the building and the necessary verge trim may not be a particularly attractive feature to look at. Also, depending upon the external walls of the rest of your building, you might need to spend more to ensure that your render matches the overall look of the building. There are a number of ways you can do this, for example we offer a variety of very realistic looking brick slips which could work really well at blending the EWI on your flat in.

Most flats are lease-hold only, so you would likely need to ask for permission to install EWI, which is potentially a long and difficult process. It can be an expensive job for a small property and is not guaranteed to be as energy efficient as if you were to insulate an entire house, for example. Also, you will have increased scaffolding costs if your flat is on an upper level.

People who live flats live in very close quarters with their neighbours, so any work being done to your flat is likely to be more disruptive. Upset neighbours may therefore complain about any disruption during installation time, and may not be all too pleased with the finished look.

The best thing to do when considering an EWI installation is to seek professional advice. We recommend that you hire a surveyor to discuss the feasibility of installing EWI onto your flat. Our staff are all extremely knowledgeable about EWI, and are always happy to help in any way. For any enquiries, please do not hesitate to call us here at EWI Store.

Will EWI keep homes warm in 2018?

With the recent launch of the government’s 25-year environment plan, the rising awareness of climate change and the plan to gradually switch to electric cars, 2018 has been kickstarted with the hot topic of energy efficiency. Here at EWI Store, energy efficiency is something that we deal with on a daily basis. So, let’s look into the crystal ball to see what 2018 might bring for the popularity of external wall insulation?

Will new Landlord EPC Regulation bring about more external wall insulation installs in 2018?

If you hadn’t heard of it, the new legislation basically dictates that from the 1st of April 2018, both private domestic and commercial rental properties will need to have an energy performance rating of E.

If you are newly renting out a property or renewing/extending a rental contract after April 2018, then the rental property must have an energy performance certificate of E. For all other landlords with existing tenancies, then the energy efficiency rating will need to be at E by the 1st of April 2020 (for domestic properties only). Any landlord in breach of this will face a penalty fine of up to £4,000. There are however some exceptions to the rule, so more information about the new legislation can be found here.

Many landlords can up their energy efficiency rating with just a few tweaks to their properties, such as draught-proofing, pipework insulation or hot water cylinder insulation. However, others may need to consider more extreme measures.  External wall insulation could be an option for landlords because it will dramatically improve your EPC rating. EWI will also save you/your tenant hundreds on energy bills every year and improve the external appearance of your property, which overall increases how appealing your property might be to potential tenants.

Since the new legislation, we have had a lot of phone calls from both worried and motivated landlords showing an interest in EWI. The good news is that depending upon the weather, EWI can only take two weeks to install so if you’re in a panic about running out of time to get your EPC rating up before April, then EWI could work.

So how is this all going to be enforced? The downside is that local authorities are going to be in charge of enforcing these regulations. If you are suspected to be noncompliant with the regulations when basically you should be, then your local council can request from you more information about your property and the EPC rating/measures you have taken to ensure you are compliant with the regulations, and if you are found to be within breach you will be fined.

However, there are doubts about whether local councils will actually have the time and the money to invest in ensuring that this is upheld. The question is which departments will this workload be put onto will be responsible for this?

 Fire risks of Cladding and External Wall Insulation in 2018

This is a very exciting time for taking a step towards environmental awareness, however tragic events in our recent past have definitely altered the public opinion towards retrofitting and cladding. The Grenfell Tower disaster has impacted the public and governmental awareness of fire safety and hazards associated with cladding. Going forward in 2018, we suspect that there will understandably be a huge amount of public confusion as to which external wall materials present a fire safety risk, and the performance of cladding when exposed to fire has therefore become a key concern for homeowners who are considering EWI.

When it comes to the Grenfell tower tragedy, the cladding installed onto Grenfell Tower was called Rainscreen cladding, or ventilated cavity cladding, and was installed as a means of waterproofing with an inner layer that also offered some thermal insulation. The plastic core of the first waterproof layer of the cladding was suspected of being flammable and therefore allegedly provoked the spread of fire, whilst the air cavity between the two layers of the cladding (waterproof layer and thermal insulation layer) further fuelled the fire (according to current reporting).

External wall insulation is fitted onto a property tightly to the wall (it’s basically glued on) with no cavities in between the materials on a standard masonry property (main property type in the UK). Therefore, there is very little risk of large-scale air circulation in between the materials, which would contribute to a fire. It is also made up of fire-resistant, non-combustible insulation boards such as Rockwool in some systems. If used with the EPS (expanded polystyrene), the EPS – like the Rockwool – is encased with a plaster-based adhesive both on the internal and the external sides of the boards, mitigating the risk of surface fire spread.

External wall insulation materials are manufactured and tested according to rigorous building regulations and standards. If you are using BBA (British Board of Agrément) approved products, and they are installed with the correct system specifications, then fire risk of these systems should be at a minimum.

We wanted to highlight these risks to potential end users and/or the improvers (e.g. landlords, funders, etc), and once they are understood, we have seen that this shouldn’t wane the appetite for EWI improvements to properties. The industry will wait on any updates, and will apply the suggested practices that come out as a result.

The Green Deal funding in 2018, may lead to a surge in EWI installations

As of 2017, the government are soft-launching the previously unsuccessful Green Deal scheme again. What this means is that people can get grants for home improvements which would improve the energy efficiency of their homes. A nice summary of the Green Deal 2017, was written by TheGreenAge. Click here for more details.

But what this means is that there may be a window of opportunity for homeowners to get low interest finance for energy saving improvements such as external wall insulation. The basics of how the funding works is that you can get your property assessed by an approved Green Deal Provider, and for any recommendations on home improvements that they give you then you can get funding for the installation of them (note: there are several ways that you can choose to pay for the work).

Say, for example, you were recommended a new boiler. You would then be able to set up a finance plan and re-pay the borrowing with the approximate money you are saving on energy. The money is repaid by being charged to your electricity bills.

The downside to this is that the approved Green Deal adviser would have to recommend that you require something like external wall insulation (EWI), so properties with solid walls may be more likely to get the funding for it.

So, if the Green Deal scheme has been improved since the last time, then the opportunity for people to get EWI could be greater – which is fantastic for improving levels of energy consumption in homes.

Our thoughts on 2018, External Wall Insulation Growth

Despite the negative headlines for the industry in 2017, there is a lot to be optimistic about in 2018. Here at EWI Store, we have spoken to some very enthusiastic installers and customers about what they want to do with External Wall Insulation in 2018. We are finding that many people are really worried about the potential rises in energy bill prices, and with EWI being such a great measure for reducing heating consumption, it makes it the perfect thing to do.

Alternatively, we expect many people not to be motivated by incentives over energy consumption, and future energy prices, but are motivated by the aesthetic improvements that can be achieved of installing a rendered or a decorative finish.

If you are looking for a local installer who can provide you with competitive quotes for external wall insulation, then do give us a shout as we can point you in the right direction!

EWI installers in the Midlands

Finding EWI installers in the Midlands

Finding an EWI Installer for a proper EWI installation is vital to ensuring that your EWI and render will last for years to come. Choosing which company to use for your EWI installation can be a daunting and overwhelming process. Who can you trust to ensure that they will do a good job and not waste your hard-earned money on poor quality materials and sub-par installation?

At EWI Store, we have a list of approved EWI installers who we are proud to have representing us, and who are ready and waiting to assist our customers with any of their EWI installation needs. We ensure that all our installers are fully trained in the appropriate methods of EWI installation, and we regularly quality-check their work. If you are a home-owner based in the Midlands area, looking to install EWI onto your property, then read on!

We wanted to introduce to you one of our fantastic installers based in the Midlands who we couldn’t recommend more,  Kooka Developments headed by Bobby Cook!

Kooka Developments are a highly trained, reliable company who specialise in external rendering and EWI. Working in the trade for 8 years, Kooka Developments have a wealth of experience and knowledge to make your EWI installation a smooth and stress-free process. Kooka developments work closely with EWI Store, using our BBA (British Board of Agrément) approved products to ensure that all of your EWI expectations are met.

So what services do Kooka Developments offer?

• Silicone Thin Coat Through Coloured Render
• Pebble Dashing
• Insulation Works
• Plastering
• Fascias, Soffits and Gutters
• External Dormer Renovation

According to Kooka, the most popular render type with their customers is the 1mm Silicone system, because it looks smooth from a distance. Below you can see some pictures of an installation, and read an EWI installation review from one of their many happy customers.

You can contact Kooka Developments by phone or email on: 07490968499 info@kookadevelopments.co.uk

Kooka Developments EWI Installation review

”I would like to express my satisfaction with the standard of work carried out by Bobby from Kooka Developments at our house in Leicester.

We had a lot of building work carried out at our house over the last several years and the end result was that we had various different colours of bricks. The best way to have a uniform look rather than an unsightly appearance due to bricks laid over varying periods of time was to render the brick work.

We were very fortunate to have somebody of the calibre of Bobby to carry out the work.

Bobby was very clear about the number of visits that would be required to complete the work and what work would be done at each of the visits -prep, first coat etc.

He was punctual and very methodical in the way the project was carried out.

Despite some hiccups due to the weather conditions, it was very reassuring to know from him the reasons why it was best not to work on days when the conditions were not ideal to render – the work at my house was carried out during a rather cold period of time when it is critical for optimum conditions for the render to hold.

Bobby’s professionalism and value for money turned out to be a very worthwhile investment for us and I would have no hesitation in recommending him for any work that entails rendering where a high quality and durable finish is required.”

For more company reviews, take a look at their page on checkatrade.

Professional EWI Installations in the Midlands

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you will probably already know the many benefits of EWI to your home. If not, then EWI involves securing special insulation boards to the exterior of your property, and then applying render over the top to create a fresh, clean finish. EWI is suitable for many different types of properties and is a great option for achieving a number of things:

• Improving the thermal comfort of your home: keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer
• Saving money on energy bills by reducing heat loss through your external walls
• Reducing the amount of noise that enters your home from outside.
• Saving space: EWI is all external and does not reduce your internal floor space.
• Improving the external appearance of your property and therefore upping its value.
• No disruption to the inside of your house during installation!

EWI isn’t an inexpensive job, but when it’s done correctly by the right installer you can save yourself hundreds every year on your energy bills and achieve a fantastic looking property from the exterior. EWI is appealing to many people who live in older style houses with solid brick walls, as it is possible to recreate characteristics and features of the property, thereby maintaining the traditional look of the property and keeping energy costs down at the same time!

Our EWI products are long-lasting, top quality and highly reliable – so be sure to contact one of our approved installers if you are interested!