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Maintenance Basics For EWI Pro Systems

EWI Pro offers a wide array of external wall insulation and render-only systems. But what should you do when they have been installed? What sort of maintenance do they need, and how can you repair any issues that crop up? We will discuss this in today’s blog.

What is an EWI Pro System?

External Wall Insulation is a system consisting of multiple layers of thermally efficient materials, bonded and mechanically secured to the existing walls of your property. The new insulation envelope works in partnership with a reinforcing render layer to protect your property from the elements. Renders and paints have also provided a decorative, coloured, and textured finish to the façade. The insulation creates an insulation envelope around your whole property, significantly reducing the passage of thermal energy through your walls. The system has a dual purpose; keeping your house warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. EWI Pro Systems achieve this by not allowing your house to heat up quickly. Our build-ups represent the systems we offer; they’re designed to consider all forms of substrates and finishes.

Inspecting your EWI Pro System

Your new EWI Pro System should be completed to the highest quality. However, to maintain it effectively, it is crucial to inspect it regularly and note any issues. We always recommend an initial inspection after 12 months, followed by an inspection every 5 years. Most systems will be covered by some form of material or labour warranty, therefore undertaking these inspections is crucial to ensuring that your system keeps performing for its whole lifespan. The lifespan tends to be 25 years plus, which is more than sufficient to pay back the initial outlay for the system. With certain schemes like ECO4 and ECO Plus in place, you can also receive grants to help with the installation of EWI Pro Systems. The inspection points to note are as follows:

  • Visual inspection of render – cracks in render exceeding 0.2mm must be repaired
  • Render surface should be cleaned every 12 months with a mild detergent and water, or a pressure washer on a low fan setting
  • Examination of sealants around various opening and entrance points – crucial to preventing water ingress behind the system
  • Inspection of architectural details designed to shed water like verge trim and header beads to confirm they are performing properly
  • Inspection of downpipes and gutters for leaks

Cleaning the system

The façade of your system can be finished with a wide range of renders and paint. If you choose Silicone Render or Silicone Paint, the maintenance and cleaning of the system will be much easier. The silicone additives in these products help to pool droplets of water and wick them away from the surface. This also extends to dirt. Some products even actively break down biological growth and prevent the regrowth of it.

In terms of dirt, staining often happens to the plinth of the construction. The plinth is the lowest level of the construction, usually in place to level the ground and provide a structurally sound and dimensionally stable surface. There are several methods for cleaning this area, and the techniques extend to the whole façade.

  • Sponge & detergent – A mild detergent mixed with warm water will be enough to lift away dirt when paired with a sponge.
  • Fungicidal wash – Vegetation and biological growth can occur on non-silicone based finishes. Fungicidal Wash will start to work on breaking down biological growth within 24 hours and also prevents regrowth for up to 6 months.
  • Pressure washer – Working from top to bottom, with the pressure washer set on a low fan setting.

Fixing issues

It is possible for issues to crop up with any EWI system. However, most issues will be related to some form of external factor affecting the system. This can include problems like mechanical compression wherein there are visible dents to the insulation.

  • Compression – This can occur due to a multitude of factors. Tradespeople working on your property should be informed of your EWI system as ladders or general building work can damage the system. Depending on the type of insulation you have installed, even lighter impact can cause damage. However, products like Kooltherm K5 have much higher compressive strength. If your system does sustain compressive damage, you will need to cut out the area and replace it in full with the same materials.
  • Seals – Seals around windows and doors will be susceptible to deterioration if the sealant is silicone based. In this instance, it should be replaced every few years to ensure the waterproof nature of your system. As a result, we would often recommend PVC beading as a more reliable solution within EWI systems.
  • Weathering – Weathering can include the loss of colour in the finish. If you choose Silicone Render or Silicone Paint, colour fading is not an issue as the products are resistant to UV rays, which cause colour particles to break down and fade.

Wall fixings

A problem installers often encounter is features attached to the walls. When you install an EWI Pro System, you may need to replace certain features like satellite dishes, therefore you will need specific fixings. We have a strong partnership with SWIFIX, an innovative designer and manufacturer of specialised solid wall insulation fixings.

For example, to re-attach a satellite dish; The satellite dish must be supported by one of two methods – the Swifix satellite fixing or by attaching a square of timber which will act as a bracket against the wall, protecting the insulation against any movements from the satellite dish. The timber bracket is secured into the insulation and back into the original wall, and the satellite dish should then be drilled directly through the timber bracket and again back through the original external wall. In order to prevent thermal bridging, silicone sealant should be used to seal the bracket and the points of entry into the wall.

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