External wall insulation installation Photograph – Wetherby Building Systems
External wall insulation (EWI) is one of the home energy saving measures that the UK Government is backing to help fuel poverty and to help contain heat in residential properties with thin solid walls.
So what is external wall insulation?
It’s a system that is fitted to the outside of a property and it helps to keep the heat in by trapping it between the insulation and the wall. The insulation can be made from different materials such as polystyrene, mineral wool or even recycled plastics.
There are various ways that you can have your external wall insulation installed. You can have it installed as part of a new build project, or if you are renovating an existing property, then you may be able to have the insulation retrofitted.
External wall insulation is not just for houses that have thin walls though. It can also be beneficial for properties with solid walls that are not well insulated. EWI can help to prevent heat from escaping, which in turn can help to reduce your energy bills.
Can my home have this type of wall insulation?
If you’re thinking of installing EWI, then there are a few things that you need to take into account.
The first is the type of property that you have. External wall insulation can be fitted to a range of different types of properties, including houses, flats and even commercial buildings, but if you have a cavity between your wall, you may need to consider cavity wall insulation.
The second thing to consider is the climate. If you live in an area that is colder, then the material will differ and you may need thicker insulation than someone who lives in a warmer climate. It’s possible you would need to contact your local authority or council as planning permission could be needed.
Thirdly, you need to think about the aesthetics of your home. External wall insulation comes in a range of different colours and styles, so you can choose one that will complement the look of your property, or the actual insulation can be skimmed over in a form of render.
Finally, you need to make sure that your home is structurally sound enough to accommodate the insulation.
Is external wall insulation a fire risk?
One of the concerns that some people have about external wall insulation is the fire risk. However, if it is installed correctly and maintained properly, then there should be no increased fire risk.
EWI should always be fitted by a qualified professional and it’s important to keep an eye on any damage that may occur and to repair it as soon as possible.
Materials used for EWI should BBA Approved and have been tested by the British Board of Agrement.
Depending on the type of insulation used, there are various ways that external wall insulation prevents the spread of a fire. For example Mineral wool boards that are rated as Euroclass A1 non-combustable and would contain a fire and prevent it from spreading.
Is external wall insulation breathable?
One of the benefits of external wall insulation is that it can be breathable, which means that moisture can escape from the property. This is important as it prevents the build-up of moisture inside the property, which can lead to mould and other forms of damage.
EWI also helps to protect your property from the weathering effects of rain, snow and wind.
So is external home insulation worth it?
There are a number of benefits to external wall insulation, including the prevention of heat loss, the reduction of energy bills and the prevention of moisture damage. It can also improve the aesthetics of your property and it’s a more environmentally friendly option than some other forms of insulation.
If you meet all of the criteria, then external wall insulation is definitely worth considering.
As fuel prices continue to grow, EWI that is installed correctly with quality materials can contribute to sufficient savings.
Are there any grants for external wall insulation?
There are grants and funding available but this depends on your circumstances. We work with energy suppliers and local authorities to help homeowners who meet this criteria. If you would like to see if you can obtain funding or grants towards external wall insulation – you can check your eligibility here: Can i get a grant for external wall Insulation?
Note that the Green Homes Scheme that was introduced in 2021 is longer available for homeowner’s to apply for.