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Fibreglass Mesh and Impact Resistance

External Wall Insulation (EWI) systems are pivotal for increasing the energy efficiency of a building. However, durability is a significant factor to consider. One of the pivotal components that ensure this robustness is the fibreglass mesh, especially when it comes to enhancing the impact resistance of EWI. In this article, we’ll explore the synergy between fibreglass mesh and impact resistance. We’ll also examine how it enhances the durability of EWI. Lastly, we’ll examine how EWI Pro’s new systems have set a new benchmark in the industry.

What is Fibreglass Mesh?

Fibreglass mesh is a woven material made from fibreglass strands. Its primary function is to provide a stable, flexible, and durable layer that reinforces the surface it’s applied to. In the context of EWI, the mesh is typically embedded into the basecoat to strengthen the overall system. This also prevents cracks from forming, especially due to external impacts.

Understanding Impact Resistance

Impact resistance refers to a material’s ability to withstand external force without sustaining damage. For EWI, this is particularly crucial. Be it children playing with balls near the wall or inadvertent bumps by heavy equipment; walls have to endure many accidental impacts over their lifetime. High impact resistance means that the EWI system will maintain its structural integrity and appearance over time, even after taking a hit.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Fibreglass Mesh and EWI

To understand the depth of the relationship between fibreglass mesh and External Wall Insulation (EWI), it’s vital to look at the challenges faced by EWI alone and then understand how the integration of fibreglass mesh addresses these challenges.

  1. Crack Formation: EWI, like all other wall treatments, is vulnerable to crack formation, especially when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. As the EWI expands and contracts, it can result in micro-cracks, which can further allow moisture to penetrate and compromise the insulation’s performance.
  2. Direct Impact Vulnerability: Walls often face accidental impacts, such as from moving furniture or playing with children. These impacts can lead to surface damage, which, over time, can deteriorate the wall’s appearance and efficiency.
  3. Shear Stresses: External factors, such as wind and inadvertent pressures, can cause shear stresses on the EWI, making it vulnerable to delamination or detachment from its substrate.
Fibreglass Mesh
  1. Distributing Stresses: When embedded into the EWI, fibreglass mesh acts as a ‘net’ that captures and distributes stresses across a wider area. Instead of the stress concentrating at one point, leading to potential cracks, the mesh ensures it gets spread out, minimising localised damage.
  2. Flexibility and Strength: Fibreglass mesh is both flexible and strong. Its flexibility ensures that it moves with the EWI during thermal expansions and contractions, thereby reducing the risk of cracks. Simultaneously, its tensile strength ensures that direct impacts don’t cause immediate dents or damage.
  3. Bridging Cracks: Existing micro-cracks in the substrate can be ‘bridged’ by the fibreglass mesh. This ensures that they don’t propagate through the EWI. This is particularly useful during renovations or when applying EWI to older buildings with minor imperfections.
  4. Enhanced Adhesion: The mesh also aids in enhancing the bond between the EWI and its substrate. This synergy means a reduced risk of delamination, ensuring the insulation stays intact for longer durations.
The Resultant Symbiosis

When fibreglass mesh is integrated with EWI, what we witness is not merely the addition of a layer but a comprehensive upgrade of the system’s properties:

  1. Robustness: The combined system becomes more robust, able to withstand everyday challenges from the environment, direct impacts, and even seismic activities to some extent.
  2. Longevity: The risk of early wear and tear diminishes, extending the lifespan of the EWI system. This means reduced maintenance costs and a prolonged pristine appearance.
  3. Performance Efficiency: With minimised risks of cracks and damage, EWI systems continue to provide optimal insulation. This ensures energy efficiency and comfort for the inhabitants.

Impact Resistance Testing: The Ball Drop Method

To quantify impact resistance, the industry uses a test known as the “ball drop” method. In this test, a ball of a specified weight is dropped from varying heights onto the EWI surface. The energy exerted on the surface, measured in joules, corresponds to the height and weight of the dropped ball. By observing the damage to the EWI after the ball drop, manufacturers and testers can gauge the impact resistance of the system.

EWI Pro’s Innovative Systems

EWI Pro has taken things a notch higher. Their recent system modifications focus on an improved basecoat composition. With a new blend of materials and the integration of fibreglass mesh more seamlessly, the basecoat now provides even greater impact resistance. This innovative approach means buildings with EWI Pro systems are better equipped to handle daily wear and tear, ensuring a longer-lasting, pristine appearance.

Impact resistance in EWI is not just about preventing visible damage; it’s about ensuring the insulation continues to perform its primary function effectively. Through the clever use of fibreglass mesh and innovations like those from EWI Pro, modern EWI systems promise not only energy efficiency and beauty but also impressive longevity in the face of external challenges.

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