Month: January 2017

Avoiding thermal bridging when fixing EPS

31 01/17
external wall insulation fixings

EPS caps

An essential element of any good external wall insulation system is the capping of mechanical fixings.

This stage takes place after the EPS boards are stuck to the wall with adhesive and then reinforced with metal fixings. These little foam caps may not look like much, but they can be crucial for the final finish of a project. The main consideration when installing external wall insulation is minimising cold bridging. There is no point fitting a system if you are effectively creating pathways for cold to travel inside through your walls in cold weather.

When installers rush (or try to save money) by missing out this step, it can really affect the final finish and the difference in thermal comfort that the EPS can bring to your home.

Below, you can see a wall with mechanical fixings, but no EPS caps. EPS (expanded polystyrene) is a fantastic insulator, and is used to block gaps made by the fixings. Without these caps, the insulation is could suffer as a result of cold air being transferred through the fixing rods.

The use of caps is optional, as the system will be structurally sound without them, but they are a final line of defence against thermal bridging. If EPS caps are not used, it is important to use (more expensive) plastic fixing rods, rather than metal. Because metal is a conductor, it can encourage heat transfer between inside and outside, which is exactly what solid wall insulation is designed to avoid. We recommend using caps to ensure a highly effective system which is guaranteed to perform for years. You can see examples below:

At Be Constructive we want to make sure we give our customers the best options, and that is why we are one of the leading solid wall installers in the UK.

south norwood2

The finished product


Give us a call today if you’d like any more information, or for a no-obligation quote.

Why use external wall insulation reveal bead?

27 01/17
external wall isulation aple beads

Why use external wall insulation reveal bead?

What is Reveal Bead?

Reveal bead is a plastic beading used around window frames to create a neat and tight finish on your render. The reveal, in case you didn’t know, is the wall into which your window frame is set. The width of the reveal can be 20 or 30 centimeters in some properties, whereas if the window has been installed flush with the wall then there may be no reveal at all.

There are many different types of beading – corner beads are plastic strips that run down the corner of the insulation, stop beads can be found where the insulation or render meets another wall. There are plenty of types of beading, but the end goal with all of them is to create a neat flush finish with whatever surface the edge of the render comes in contact with.

Externall wall insulation reveal bead Video.

Silicon vs. Reveal Bead

Some installers will not use reveal beading, instead opting to use a silicone sealant to seal the edge of the render and the frame of the window or door. This will do the job, but silicon has some really important downsides that mean we try to avoid using it where possible:

  • Silicon has a very short lifespan – after a few years, it will start to peel away from the wall and allow water to get in behind the insulation. Regular replacement of the silicon is therefore necessary. Beading has a lifetime warranty just like the rest of the system.
  • Silicon takes time to install and costs money in and of itself. The beading is actually cheaper to buy than the many tubes of silicon you will go through and is easier to install to create a good finish.
  • The beading is unaffected by the elements, so if you are installing in cold weather or where the surface may become damp, there is no danger of the sealant failing.


Why do Installers use silicon?

Silicon is seen as a cheap and quick way to install the render. Installing beading takes some forethought and needs to be planned into the works. We always use beading wherever possible, and keep the use of silicon to an absolute minimum.

In our opinion, installers using silicon around windows are probably cutting other corners as well, so be very wary!

external wall insulation reveal bead system


Longer Guarantees with Reveal Bead

We offer a 25-year workmanship warranty on our system. If silicone is used, there is no way that we can give a 25 year warranty, as the silicon will fail over that time and require us to revisit, probably more than once.

We, therefore, state clearly in our contracts that silicone is not part of our 25 year warranty, and we explain that if silicon is required we will point it out to you in advance and ensure you are aware of any maintenance requirements. Of course, avoiding its use is the best way to guarantee a trouble free and long lasting installation of you EWI.

Window Reveal Bead comes into two variations – Grey and White.

The Grey variation is to match RAL 7016 which is a popular color with modern bi-fold doors.

External Insulation in Winter – Let’s make it happen!

20 01/17
External Insulation in Winter

External Insulation in Winter – Let’s make it happen!

It is deep in winter now and the weather means that we are getting plenty of requests for external insulation.

Plenty of people are asking if we can insulate their properties this winter – and the short answer is yes we can!


This is the time of year that many people say they wished they got their insulation done back in the summer when it was the perfect time for building work. This time of year, it is true that rendering work takes longer and may need more time to dry. There can also be days where the weather is so cold or so wet that work has to stop until it is suitable again.

At Be Constructive, we work all year around, and are used to battling with the elements to get your job completed. But more importantly, we won’t rush to finish a job if the weather conditions don’t allow it. If we require a day off to let adhesive or primer dry, or if it is just too cold and may lead to freezing of the render, then we will pull our team off site and wait for conditions to improve.

Whilst installing in winter will always take a little longer than in summer, we strive to ensure that a winter install does not create any unwanted problems further down the line. We always factor in some down time to our estimates during the winter period, so we don’t give you unrealistic expectation of when your job is going to complete.

We get plenty of requests for insulation in winter, so it is really important that we can deliver the same kind of service year round and ensure customers don’t have to suffer through the cold before they can get their home insulated.



External Wall Insulation East Anglia

11 01/17
External Wall Insulation East Anglia

External Wall Insulation East Anglia

If you live in East Anglia, external wall insulation could be well worth installing. Whether you live in a rural area or a town or city, external wall insulation has a number of advantages.

While there is no ‘typical’ East Anglian house, it is safe to say that external wall insulation can add value to nearly all of them. Whether it’s an old building which was not built to be efficient, or a more modern property in need of some TLC, external wall insulation could be the answer. Maybe you already have cavity wall insulation, but it’s not quite doing the trick, or maybe your solid walls mean other forms of insulation are impossible. Old, new, terraced, detached, cavity or solid walled properties – external wall insulation can be installed on all of them.

Having said this, East Anglian properties are a diverse mix between the older properties in the centre of towns like Ipswich, Colchester and Norwich, with newer developments clustered around newer towns like Basildon and Harlow. The older towns tend to have a larger clustering of older period properties with solid brick walls, whereas the newer towns have a construction that tends to be quite diverse – solid walls, cavity walls (unfilled), cavity walls filled, timber frame construction, metal frame, etc

Benefits of External Wall Insulation East Anglia

As you will know if you live there, it is pretty windy on the East Coast! Insulating your external walls can really improve your home’s ability to retain heat, and therefore keep you and your family warm.

With the uncertainty of energy prices out of your control, it is important to save money off your household bills where you can. External wall insulation will greatly increase the thermal efficiency of your home, meaning it retains warmth rather than leaking expensive heating out into the street.

Installing external wall insulation will also help to soundproof your walls, as the insulation materials used absorb sound waves as well as heat. It can be a great option for urban areas with a lot of traffic noise. In this case the best product is the stone wall or the mineral wool based external wall insulation system for soundproofing as the fibres on the insulation itself absorb most of the noise pollution.

The External Wall Insulation Process

Installing external wall insulation is basically like wrapping your house in a blanket. First an insulating material, like EPS (expanded polystyrene) or mineral wool, is attached to the walls (using mechanical fixings and adhesive), then the outer layers are sealed with flexible beading and a high quality, breathable render product.

But keeping your house warm is not the only benefit of external wall insulation. Unlike other insulation options, it can also protect the outer leaf of the property from driving moisture and rainfall, reduce the risk of future interstitial condensation (trapped moisture within the fabric of the walls), and smarten up the outside your home. If, for instance, your property is covered in tired pebbledash or flaking render, external wall insulation is a great chance to give it a facelift!

Combine with Other Building Work

With a bit of planning, you can save on some of the fixed costs of external wall insulation. If you are undertaking other retrofit projects such as a loft extension, you can probably use the same scaffolding if you install external wall insulation at the same time. These kinds of building work generally require scaffolding being up for weeks until the works are complete, and there is no point paying for it twice.

While external wall insulation is not cheap, it is a long term investment that will save you money for years to come.

Property typeEstimated Energy Costs (gas & electricity)Estimated annual savings with EWI

Assumptions (data sourced from: TheGreenAge website):

1. Using EPC data for typical properties in the Essex County area.

2. Property scaling: 90m2 area property with partial double glazing, 75mm of loft insulation and a non-condensing boiler.

Where can I find more Information About External Wall Insulation Materials & Install Processes?

We are also very grateful to EWI Store Ipswich, who are a specialist external wall insulation materials supplier in the East Anglia area, who have helped us with product training and sourcing quality materials at a reasonable cost. They regularly have customers, architects and developers come around to have a look at the facilities and inspect the possibilities available with external wall insulation retrofit or application to new properties.

Michael, one of the store managers there, says:

We have specifically set-up shop in East Anglia England to potentially help spread the delivery of external wall insulation to Essex, Suffolk and beyond. Although our day-to-day services are mainly aimed at the specialist trade, we are always happy for end customers to pop-in and ask any questions about the external wall insulation process.

FYI – you can come to EWI Store anytime from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturdays, and have a look at the samples of products as well as the reading literature available with more information.

Can I Organise a Quote for External Wall Insulation if I live in East Anglia?

Since 2014, we have been working in close collaboration with EWI Pro Insulation Systems, K-Rend and others – all specialist external wall insulation manufacturers and BBA approved system certificate holders. If you would like to see some of our local work, we can email you over some photos or you can view the projects on our website.

If you would like us us to help you organise a quotation for potential external insulation works, just get in touch! We don’t have to come out to see you straight away, but can organise a desktop quotation no problem and provide you with an indication of costs, to check whether the works would be suited to your budget. Simply contact us or send us an email with some property details, like the measurements of the height and width of the walls, with some photos, and we should be able to turn around the quote in less than 48 hours.


Be Constructive Ltd 

External wall insulation East Anglia
Phone: 01473 487340





White and Grey EPS – What’s the difference?

04 01/17
solid wal grey eps

Solid wall grey Eps

If you’ve seen external insulation jobs around your area, chances are you’ve seen EPS blocks on the wall – those big lumps of polystyrene fixed to the wall with long pins. You might have seen these blocks in different colours – some are white, some grey and some have little grey spots. So which one is best and what is the difference?

Graphite – the key to EPS high performance

Grey Expanded Polystyrene  one crucial difference to white EPS, and that is simply that graphite has been added to the mixture. Graphite significantly improves the performance of the polystyrene so that you would only need a thickness of 90mm in grey EPS to achieve the same performance as an 120mm block of white EPS. That is a really significant improvement for such a small change in the mixture.

Does Grey Polistyrene cost more?

solid wall insulation eps
Grey eps for solid wall insulation

Solid wall grey eps will usually cost marginally more than white EPS. The cost difference is usually fairly minimal however, so most installers will use grey EPS if they are concerned about performance. There is one reason why you might use white EPS however – it is slightly easier to work with.

White EPS reflects the sun better than grey, and therefore its surface does not get as ‘greasy’ in the heat of the sun. This means it is often not necessary to rasp the white EPS, saving several hours of work for an average installation. Some installers feel that this, combined with a small cost saving, makes it worth installing white EPS.

What are the dark spots in the white EPS?

ewi white eps


Some companies claim that white EPS boards with grey spots are somehow better than other EPS.

This is very much an urban myth – the grey freckles in the board are simply from where the machine that manufactures the boards has not been cleaned after creating grey EPS.

There is no real improvement in performance with this type of board.

 What do we recommend?

We will usually recommend  solid wall grey eps as it has few disadvantages and a better thermal performance than white EPS. If you do wish to specify white EPS however, we can fit it.


Silicone Render Accelerator

03 01/17
render accelelator

Accelarator for drying off silicone and silicone-acrylic renders?

Render Accelerator – A word of warning!

We were installing an insulation job with silicon render just before Christmas. The weather was cold and the customer was super keen to get the work done before Christmas and the scaffolding down. In order to get the job done, we decided to use some accelerator fluid in the top coat mixture to help the drying of the render when applied on the wall.

The  render accelerator creates a chemical reaction in the render which speeds up the drying process, and can ensure that the top coat dries in good time, even when the temperature is hovering around freezing – normally we only install silicon render in temperatures above 10 degrees.



The job was a bit of a nightmare unfortunately – the render  accelerator worked ok on the light coloured wall at the back, but where the customer wanted darker colours at the side and front of the house, the render dried looking very patchy. Not to mention the smell of the accelerator, which really isn’t very pleasant during application or drying.


What did we do? We decided to strip back the patchy top coat and go for a mineral render instead. Mineral render dries at temperatures all the way down to zero degrees, and it made sense to go for this option after the problems caused by the accelerator and silicon option. The only drawback of mineral render is that it needed to be painted after the render dried, but this was no big deal and the customer was very happy with the finished result.

So we really recommend going for mineral render in winter conditions rather than using an  render accelerator – it is much more pleasant to work with and gives you a much better finish.