Swisslab from Alumasc chosen for unique refurbishment challenge

Swisslab from Alumasc chosen for unique refurbishment challenge

Alumasc’s Swisslab External Wall Insulation (EWI) system has made a dramatic difference to the thermal performance, living conditions and aesthetics of a rare and difficult to treat timber framed house type in Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Managed by social housing provider Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), the 45 properties of non-traditional timber construction were built in 1924 to an experimental timber design, with no cavity and almost no insulation, resulting in less than ideal living conditions for residents.

Maintenance and repair of the facades had become very problematic and following a thermal camera scan which clearly highlighted poor thermal performance, YHN was looking to achieve a significant improvement in the homes’ energy efficiency whilst also providing an uplift to the neighbourhood.

Swisslab was recommended to YHN by Sykes Specialist Contracting Ltd who installed 5500m2 of the system with 80mm EPS Platinum insulation and a Silkolitt 1.5mm silicone render finish on the properties. This was the first time Swisslab had been used on Norwegian timber properties and a RIBA architect had to approve use of the system before work could go ahead.

Swisslab is an insulated render system that provides outstanding energy efficiency. Insulation materials are mechanically fixed direct to a continuous substrate and faced with a choice of traditional and lightweight renders. Following the installation, the U-Value of the properties has seen a huge improvement from 1.33W/m2K to 0.28w/m2K and residents report that their homes are now much warmer and require less fuel for heating. A further benefit of the Swisslab system, particularly relevant to this project, was that it allowed for movement of the properties when the timber expanded and contracted.

The Silkolitt 1.5mm finish in an attractive rolled texture has significantly improved the look of the homes, and will result in minimal future maintenance as it is highly water-repellent, vapour permeable and weather resistant.

David Langhorne, Director of Property Services at YHN comments; “The Swisslab system has given a radical uplift to the homes and made a measurable difference to the lives of the tenants. The Silkolitt finish has greatly improved the appearance of the properties, which has already helped to foster neighbourhood pride.”

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