Worst EWI Installation we’ve Ever Seen

Another Warning with Regard to The Poorly Regulated EWI Industry

Just when we think we have seen the worst EWI installation we’ve ever seen another comes along to take the title. So for now, and as we write this blog, this is indeed the worst installation we’ve ever seen but we’ve learned to appreciate that it’s only a matter of time before another comes along to take the title.

We have recently been advising a client in Carmarthen with regard to the quality of their installation and with regard to a potential construction claim against the installer. This particular system is a Wetherby system, nothing wrong with that so long as it is installed to appropriate guidelines with a reasonable degree of skill and care by qualified installers.  We’ll comment more on this installation after you’ve viewed the image slider…

Negligent and Incompetent EWI Installation

Clients chose EWI due to water ingress

Clients chose EWI due to water ingress

Water ingress continued after EWI installation

Water ingress continued after EWI installation

Insulation boards wet before render applied

Insulation boards wet before render applied

No base track in some areas

No base track in some areas

Moisture blisters soon after installation

Moisture blisters soon after installation

Lead apron sealed with Gaffa tape

Lead apron sealed with Gaffa tape

Broken hammer fixing

Broken hammer fixing

EWI applied to random rubble wall. Note gaps behind boards.

EWI applied to random rubble wall. Note gaps behind boards.

Ragged edge on base track

Ragged edge on base track

Shocking installation standard

Shocking installation standard

Widespread moisture blistering

Widespread moisture blistering

More moisture blisters

More moisture blisters

Yes, this really was the finished product.

Yes, this really was the finished product.

Delamination of top coat.

Delamination of top coat.

Clear bathroom silicone seal against slate roof tiles

Clear bathroom silicone seal against slate roof tiles

Adhesive failure of silicone

Adhesive failure of silicone

Poor edge detailing with leadwork

Poor edge detailing with leadwork

Incredibly, the insulation extends to the floor and has no base rail.

Incredibly, the insulation extends to the floor and has no base rail.

Terrible detailing at door reveal.

Terrible detailing at door reveal.

More poor flashing detailing

More poor flashing detailing

Crack in render and top coat delamination

Crack in render and top coat delamination

Large moisture blister

Large moisture blister

Failure of sealant around cable

Failure of sealant around cable

Moisture blisters to right of door reveal.

Moisture blisters to right of door reveal.

Poor detailing to base of render

Poor detailing to base of render

Passive air vent not sleeved.

Passive air vent not sleeved.

This installation standard cannot be excused as a rush job or a Friday afternoon job, rather, we’re of the opinion that it must have been installed by completely unqualified site personal. In all likelihood, they were not just unqualified to install EWI but the general standard would tend to indicate that they have no previous construction experience whatsoever but nevertheless chose to jump onto the EWI gravy train.

We’ll let the quality of the work speak for itself but one thing we found particularly interesting on this installation is that a decision was taken to install EWI on a random rubble stone wall. When EWI insulation boards are applied to a wall then walls have to be regularised to ensure that a smooth, in plane surface finish is achieved at the face of the installed insulation boards. Where EPS is used then sometimes the boards are given a final rasping or sanding  to help achieve a flush, in plane surface, prior to the base coat application. If walls deviate by more than 20mm then it becomes almost impossible to regularise the walls and in fact, in our opinion EWI was completely unsuitable for application on a random rubble wall and should have been ruled out at design stage, but of course it wasn’t. Not only was it applied to a random rubble wall, it was also extended to the floor to wick up moisture; presumably due to the impossibility in applying a straight and level base rail to a random rubble wall.  The slider image shows the random rubble wall after the base of the EWI was cut away to expose the stone wall; we believe this happened after the installer heard that the system manufacturer were coming to inspect their installation. We could write a thesis on everything that is wrong with this installation but you should take this as another warning with regard to ensuring that systems are properly designed and that you have seen a written copy of the design process. You should ensure that you inspect company credentials and more importantly, the credentials of the site installers, and you should ensure that the system comes with a 25 year SWIGA guarantee; these aren’t always being offered to private buyers of these systems. Finally, if you are a private home owner paying for one of these systems then our strong advice is you you set aside a small percentage of the budget to have your installation quality managed and signed off at key stages by a Chartered building professional who understands these systems. Set up a minor works construction contract and look to agree staged payments at each successful stage of inspection. In our opinion it would be utter folly to pay for one of these installations upfront.

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