What do I need to do to maintain my external wall insulation system?
Maintenance is actually quite light and not altogether more taxing than maintaining a rendered wall. Having said that, there are some things you will need to keep in mind in order to ensure your guarantee is maintained and the system performs for the whole of its life.
Cleaning your EWI System
Fortunately, silicone based renders are self-cleaning, in that water will run off them, taking the dirt with it when it rains. Acrylic renders are more likely to get dirty and will need regular cleaning. If you wish to wash your walls, you can use a jet wash, but please ensure at least 12 months have passed since the installation, as the render can be damaged if it hasn’t completely hardened (the curing process takes several months to complete in its entirety).
Painting your EWI
Like all render systems, you will need to paint the system every 10 years or so to protect the wall. For the long term health of the wall and to prevent the top coat from deteriorating with exposure to the elements, you will need to add a protective layer of paint twice over the life of the system. That isn’t so bad when you compare it to sand cement render for example, which deteriorates very quickly and will need painting even more regularly.
When you paint your EWI, you should use a silicone-based paint or a breathable organic paint rather than an acrylic based one.
Fixings on your EWI
When you fix lightweight fixtures such as lights or hanging baskets, it is usually only necessary to use a spiral anchor fixing, which helps the screw bite into the insulation. You should never fix a screw directly into the insulation as it will come loose very quickly and potentially damage the wall.
With larger objects like awnings or satellite dishes, you will need long screws that go all the way into the brick work, and these will need to be spread over as large an area as possible, with fixings on all 4 corners. This ensures that the fixings do not rip out in high winds or with the extra weight of the object.
Using ladders to maintain my external wall insulation system
You will probably need to get on a ladder at some point to clean your windows or do other works on the wall with insulation. This is absolutely fine, but we do strongly suggest you use a standoff or similar in order to spread the weight at the top of the ladder. Some ladders have quite sharp ends which can cause puncture damage to the render if too much weight is applied. A spreading board at the top of the ladder negates this, as well as providing a much more stable base for your ladder.
Over the course of the life of the system, silicone sealant will deteriorate and need replacing. Fortunately this is relatively simple and inexpensive. We recommend you us to come and do this work, but a competent builder who is used to working with silicone sealants should also be able to carry out this work. We always try to keep the amount of silicone to a minimum wherever possible to avoid added maintenance.