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Case Study – Render Onto ICF

At EWI Pro, we specify many projects throughout the UK. They vary in size, scope, and system application. From large-scale commercial projects to small-scale residential, we cover every type of project. As we’ve discussed recently, we provide a comprehensive range of testing processes. These include wind-load tests, moisture testing, and pull-out tests. Our Technical Team also provides expert U-value calculations to ensure the system is suitable. In our new series of blogs, we will shine a light on specific projects and the build-ups they utilise. Our newest case study focuses on a render onto ICF project, an insulated building material enveloped in a weatherproof envelope.

Project details

– Substrate: ICF New Build
– U-Value change: N/A
– Basecoat: EWI-225 Premium Basecoat
– Topcoat: EWI-075 Silicone Render – 1.5mm grain size
– Colour: 20001 Pure White
– Location: Walton
– Installer: Surrey Screed & Render LTD completed by Global Rendering & Plastering LTD

The build-up – Render Onto ICF

This ICF residential new build is also strikingly elevated on a stilted framework. The location on a river bank makes it susceptible to flooding, hence the architectural choice. Insulated Concrete Formwork is a method of construction growing in popularity due to its inherent insulating properties and easy handling. The shell of the block is manufactured out of expanded polystyrene and stacks together, much like Lego. Once erected, the concrete is poured into the cavities to form solid blocks. There are very few downsides to ICF construction. The newly constructed residential property has a U-value that satisfies building regulations, as well as being extremely durable and airtight.

The use of ICF almost eliminates the installation of external wall insulation, but the property still showcases several EWI Pro products. The combination of EWI-225 Premium Basecoat and Fibreglass Mesh enhances the stability and durability of the walls. Windows are often particularly problematic, acting as stress points and thermal bridges. However, window reveals and header beads reinforce the problem areas in this property. The façade is expertly finished with our most popular combination of EWI-075 Silicone Render is 20001 Pure White with a 1.5mm grain size. Silicone Render offers crucial benefits in an area of high moisture as it is hydrophobic, whilst offering resistance to cracking and freezing.

Why use ICF?

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are increasingly being used in construction due to their many advantages. ICF construction involves creating a framework from hollow foam blocks or panels, which are then filled with reinforced concrete. Here are some of the main reasons why ICF is used in buildings:

  1. Energy Efficiency: ICF walls can offer superior insulation, which results in significant energy savings over time. This can lead to reduced heating and cooling costs.
  2. Strength and Durability: Buildings made from ICF are incredibly sturdy and long-lasting. They can withstand extreme weather conditions, including hurricanes and tornadoes, better than many traditional building materials.
  3. Fire Resistance: ICFs have excellent fire resistance properties. The foam does not burn but melts away from the heat, leaving the concrete to provide a high degree of fire protection.
  4. Sound Insulation: ICF buildings offer excellent sound insulation, making them a good choice for locations close to noisy areas, such as highways or urban centres.
  5. Comfort: ICF buildings often have fewer drafts and a more constant temperature, resulting in a more comfortable indoor environment.
  6. Ease and Speed of Construction: ICFs are relatively easy and quick to construct, as they combine the insulation, studding and sheathing processes into one step.
  7. Environmentally Friendly: Because of their energy efficiency and the longevity of the buildings, ICF can be considered a more sustainable choice compared to some traditional construction methods.
  8. Versatility: ICFs are versatile and can be used in both residential and commercial construction and for both walls and floors.

However, as with any building method, there are also disadvantages. ICF construction can initially be more expensive than traditional methods, and it requires contractors experienced with the technology. Additionally, any alterations or additions after construction can be more challenging because of the concrete walls. Nonetheless, for many builders and homeowners, the advantages outweigh these potential challenges.

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