Exterior Wall Insulation Problems – What Can Go Wrong?


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  • Installing Exterior Wall Insulation (EWI) can be a great solution to help keep your home warm, lower your energy costs and improve your sustainability qualifications. And while most installations go without problems and problems are rare, there are a few factors that can cause complications when retrofitting an EWI. So what could be wrong? We outline some of the possible exterior wall insulation issues you need to know about.

    Exterior wall insulation problem

    Will Kirkman, Managing Director of Ecomerchant, said, ‘If you install exterior wall insulation on the outside of your home, you get a thermal upgrade, but remember, these buildings were not originally designed to have insulation.. The secret to ensuring your existing property can cope with a converted EWI depends on a thorough investigation with experienced and proven installers.

    Here are 5 exterior wall insulation issues to avoid to ensure success.

    1. There is moisture in the house

    Traditionally built buildings are designed to breathe in such a way that water vapor can escape through the walls. Wrapping this type of house in insulation reduces drafts, which is a positive thing. However, if not done properly, it can reduce ventilation and air movement and can even form a barrier to moisture in your living space. Long-term consequences: moisture and mold.

    outside the house

    Image Credit: Future PLC/ Liam Clarke

    ‘Before making any changes to a property, you need to understand the balance of use and heating methods and how it will change if you add insulation. Things can get worse when the house is out of balance,’ says Will Kirkman. businesswomen.

    You may need to add additional ventilation to your home to help keep things in balance. Using vapor-open insulation that preserves the breathability of building fabrics is a great solution. That is, natural products such as wood fibers. Will Kirkman said, ‘Before steam opening must be later steam opening. Experts with a proven track record of working with your building type can advise on the best solution for your unique home.

    2. Bad wall finish

    Continuing from the above, if you are upgrading an older building with EWI, it’s not just insulation that needs to shut off steam. Investing in wood fibers and then covering them with inappropriate materials like traditional sand and cement renderings makes no sense. Lime Render is a good breathable option for this kind of exterior wall insulation project. Remember: any layer added to the wall should complement the others.

    Sometimes modern insulation products and exterior finishes can be the right solution, even for traditional walls. However, this may involve changing the wall from a breathable wall to an impermeable wall and requires extremely careful design by a skilled professional. To provide the best insulation for your home, consider communal wall insulation.

    3. Planning a permit issue for EWI

    outside the house

    Image Credit: Future PLC/ Douglas Gibb

    Adding exterior wall insulation to a home involves changing the appearance of a building, but is generally considered acceptable development (PD). This means that you don’t always need to apply for a formal planning permit to add an EWI to your home. However, the PD rule does not apply to all households. This does not apply in locations with planning restrictions, for example in conservation areas or registered buildings.

    EWIs are typically installed to improve the energy performance of solid wall homes commonly found in traditionally built pre-1920 homes. These types of assets can have heritage value, so local planners may not like you changing their appearance.

    Your best bet is to check if the installation of exterior wall insulation is acceptable. Proceeding without such confirmation can result in expensive fines or even an eviction order. Proactive support advice is one option. Alternatively, you can apply for a legitimate development certificate. If it turns out that the EWI cannot be installed, internal insulation may be the best option.

    4. Difficult to insulate around windows and doors

    exterior wall insulation

    Image Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

    The framing and exposure of windows and doors can be problematic for exterior wall insulation. If left uninsulated, a cold bridge will be created. As the name suggests, they provide an escape route for useful warmth inside the house across the insulated envelope. This can significantly reduce the energy efficiency of a newly insulated home.

    Gaps in insulation can also lead to sharp temperature differences, where condensation can form where warm interior air hits the colder parts of the wall, ultimately causing moisture and mold problems.

    The problem is that window and door frames in traditional homes can be quite narrow. This makes it difficult to treat exposed areas (concave sidewalls connecting windows/doors to the main facade) with standard exterior wall insulation.

    Switching to ultra-thin insulation that exposes the windows and doors of your building will give you the desired performance, even with profiles as thin as 10mm. The right solution for your home is determined in a pre-installation survey.

    5. Installation Mistakes

    white age house with basement

    Image Credit: Future PLC

    All of the above emphasizes the importance of hiring an experienced company to design and install the right exterior wall insulation for your building.

    There are many problems that can be avoided by using an inexperienced installer. Incorrect fastening used to hold the insulation in place, problems with the depth of roof overhangs, etc. Remember that your assets are unique and require a thorough assessment before any work can be completed. This way, your exterior wall insulation will work properly and you will enjoy the benefits of a cozy and efficient home.

    ‘Insulation retrofit issues are extremely rare, and installers approved by industry agencies must install systems that are approved to industry technical best practices to obtain a warranty that will protect homeowners,’ said Nigel Donohue. Insulation Guarantee Agency. The IAA website has a list of local approved installers.

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