Where Can I Source a Quality Self Install Exterior Wall Insulation System?

non standard house advice, non straditional construction advice
I am planning to apply an external wall insulation system to my BISF house, in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
I will be removing the 1st floor metal cladding and all the external render and apply an external wall insulation system and render to the whole of the property.
The External Wall Insulation Systems I have found on the internet are restricted to authorised installers.
EWI For my BISF House?

I am planning to apply an external wall insulation system to my BISF house, in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
I will be removing the 1st floor metal cladding and all the external render and apply an external wall insulation system and render to the whole of the property.
The External Wall Insulation Systems I have found on the internet are restricted to authorised installers.
I am looking for a quality solution (along the lines of Knauf) but want to self install, with the help of a builder friend of mine, who is very experienced but, unfortunately, not an authorised installer.
Any suggestions or advice would be very gratefully received.




  1. Reading this thread, and seeing that at least two councils (Wrexham and Falkirk) have applied EWI to council properties and even private ones leaves me stumped.

    In my small-scale, ‘don’t make a mess of my fully decorated house’ way, I was working out a method of insulating the downstairs rooms internally. It gets down to 7C sometimes, during the depths of winter, first thing in the morning or when returning from a trip away. So I’ve been working out a plan of adding a couple of layers of insulation and then plasterboard to protect it. It would only take up about 6.5cm of the internal room space in the living room and dining room (my office), so it wouldn’t be a big sacrifice.

    I’ve attached an image of my favoured installation layers here, although nothing has been finalised yet. I’d really like to get something done before another cold winter though!

    But having seen the EWI work going on, I’m really not sure what to do. Installing myself is way beyond my skills and ability, so the cost of having someone else do the work also has to be calculated, and I haven’t been able to find anything that suggests my local council (in Somerset) is offering anything. So for now I’m back to square one, wondering what I can do to keep warm this winter.

    Best wishes

  2. Hi Tim,

    I’m currently quite far along an extension self build on my property and would like to encapsulate the existing to match the rendered extension when I do it. I was wondering if you managed to complete the encapsulation on your own as I was hoping to do the same?



  3. The photo with the partial insulation installed is not our house – it’s an example of a system we were thinking of using – Insulating around, between and over the steel structure, then installing cement board and then an EWI system, using grey EPS.


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    Hi there. Here is a link to some photos of the progress so far. Hope they are of interest to someone out there. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/sfv7g6eo8550dou/AAA4HtqGKC2eynOxckPyIghCa If anyone has any advice on what type of external render to use, I’d be very grateful. My instinct is to use mineral based, as it looks more substantial – and then paint it with a waterproof coat. The silicon and acrylic based systems just look too thin to me. Can anyone put my mind at rest on this issue? Thanks for all the advice. All the best, Tim


    1st Floor Section above door

    Back section brick foundation

    Back section

    Back section2

    Back section4

    Back section5

    1st Floor Section above door2

    Side Wall

    Back section1

    Back section3

    Archticts House
    1. Hi Tim
      What an amazing set of images you have shown there. We have always been very short on images that show the foundation plinth and associiated pipe work underground.
      Do you mind if I upload some to your post here to save people going off site?

      As for your question regarding the render, silicone render is a very popular finish but as you say it is very thin. I’ve heard of cases of where EWI coated with silicone render has been hit by childrenplaying with a football causing parts of the outer render to break away. I can’t actually substantiate this claim though so don’t take my word for it.
      Don’t forget most silicone render finishes incorporate a plastic mesh to provide extra strength and helps to reduce the amount of render required.
      Your number one consideration when choosing render is that it must be flexible to a degree as being a steel frame, expansion often occurs during hot weather and it can be surprising to see how much movement actually occurs.

      An example of this can often be seen where a company or council comes along to BISF house and patches up an area or render using cement based products with little or no give. In a relatively short time this repaired area can often break away from the surrounding original render.

      I’ve got a contact at SERs Energy Solutions who may be able to help you with your query.. His name is John Kennet and you can e-mail him at the following address @se**.uk" data-original-string="boHhidIhZtFJsaeH6ScK2eW9lM+Ot1d/lv8W+vPHD6A=" title="This contact has been encoded by Anti-Spam by CleanTalk. Click to decode. To finish the decoding make sure that JavaScript is enabled in your browser.">jo*******@se**.uk
      Just mention that Marc from the BISF project in Birmingham has asked you to contact him.

      I hope this helps Tim but if you have no joy we canalways try to get you in touch with some of the Sers technical team in Wales where the main head office is situated. We do need to get this part right for you as choosing the wrong product can prove costly.

      Best regards and keep the updates coming


      1. Hi Marc.
        It’s fine for you to upload photos here. It was just quicker for me to post a link.
        I’ve got in touch with Chris Hirst from Clan and he’s been very helpful but I’ll get in touch with John Kennet to get another opinion.
        Will post more photos soon.
        All the best, Tim

    1. You’re welcome Tim, I think even though it might be a steep learning curve, you should be able to do it for a good price and ensure a good result if you do it yourself. I think the price of having it done commercially is often pretty inflated compared with the cost of the materials and the time it takes to install as it’s not a common thing yet apart from large scale projects for councils and housing associations. Also as the insulation is hidden from view at the end, you really have to rely on the installers to do a good job and not just cover up any gaps in the insulation, but if you do it DIY you should be able to avoid this!


  5. Hi Tim and welcome,

    I don’t have any experience of installing EWI, but I would recommend the Green Building Forum ( http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/forum114/ ) for advice as there are quite a few people on there who have installed EWI themselves. One thing to bear in mind is that EWI is usually applied to solid-walled homes, but a BISF house has a ventilated cavity. If left as it is, open to the loft, this will bypass the insulation and negate much of its value, so you’ll need to think about how to deal with this. I’m not sure how the big insulation companies deal with this, or if they even bother or if they just think ‘out of sight, out of mind’.


  6. Hi Marc.
    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
    I have been thinking through all the options long and hard, including the Green Deal. I would like to cost through a self build External Wall Insulation, ideally using high quality materials for comparison purposes at least.
    I would very much appreciate any help in sourcing and costing all the necessary materials for a high quality, self applied and comprehensive External Wall Insulation System. Durability, efficiency and a nice quality rendered finish are important factors.

    Thanks for your help. This site is amazingly useful for someone who has just taken the plunge and bought a BISF house.
    All the best,

    Tim Peck

  7. Hello Tim and welcome to BISF House.

    You pose a very interesting question to which at this moment I cannot provide a solid answer.
    As you say many system providers require purchasers of some of the more well known brands of EWI to be registered installers, partly to ensure that the product is installed correctly and partly due to honouring the guarantee of the product, which is normally for a period of 25 yrs.
    May I ask why you haven’t chosen to go down the Green Deal route?
    Recent changes that come into effect this month allow for the scheme to finance up to 75% of the cost of EWI, up to a maximum of £6000.
    The scheme will now be financed by the GDHIF (Green Deal Home Improvement Fund) and I am informed that the Green Deal Assessment will be provided free of charge. There is also a £500 bonus for new occupants.

    We have been in contact with several Green Deal Installers and early indications are, that an installation can be completed at a cost of around £8000, leaving the customer/home-owner to pay a balance of just 25% of this, which is around £2000.

    In effect, it could now be cheaper to externally insulate your entire house under the scheme for less than the cost of having a block paved drive installed.
    I would also suspect that the £2000 cost would be cheaper than what the materials alone would cost you on a DIY basis.

    In certain cases depending on status, further ECO funding may be available that could reduce the £2000 required cash input even further.

    I am willing to contact some of the insulation providers on your behalf if required but I do think the Green Deal would be a better option, and of course you would be covered with the 25 year guarantee.