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External Wall Insulation on a terrace of houses

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One great feature of external insulation systems is how beautiful architectural features can be created.  


We supply and fit a wide range of architectural mouldings and decorative features such as quoins, window surrounds and columns, to name a few. These items can be used in houses, shop fronts, and apartment blocks. Small items can be produced on site using hot wire cutters and larger panels can be produced off site using computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines to create the precise look you want.   


The lightweight polystyrene elements can be lifted into place by hand and rendered to match the rest of the facade.  This saved the clients time and money, as well as creating a unique feature for you to enjoy.


Quoins fitted over external wall insulation side view If we look at an example from Dublin where the client requested quoins. 

Quoins are an ancient element of any architect's portfolio.  The Roman architect Vitruvius, whose treatise on building is the only written evidence we have of the theories of Roman buildings and classical architecture, states that quoins were used for the points where the walls met. This was both to give them strength in themselves and also to hold the infilling, which might be of cobbles or of brick – cheaper materials.  

Quoins fitted over external wall insulation before fitting front
In Ireland they arrived much later!  Many of Dublin’s Georgian buildings were decorated with quoins and can be still seen today around Merrion Square and Saint Stephens Green.  Rumour has it that some were made from wood!  

For the Romans, quoins were a structural element, with Palladianism and the revival of classical design in the renaissance quoins moved from being structural to being cosmetic. Hence the shift from using stone to using wood.

The reason they were used is because quoins Quoins fitted over external wall insulation side view fitted before renderaccent the corners of your house, giving them the appearance of sturdiness and elegance.  

Some clients talk about wanting “authentic quoins“ as in the days Vitruvius.  Veneer stones are one option, but the cost and reinforcing required to adhere the higher weight ends up being cost prohibitive in most cases.

Why would you need real stone anyway? Quoins are no longer used to structurally reinforce the corners of buildings, as was “authentic” in the days of Vitruvius.

In modern construction, and by modern we mean since the 16th century, quoins are purely cosmetic regardless Quoins fitted over external wall insulation side view detailof the material they’re made of. Does it not make sense then to use a material that is light weight, easy to work with, and has the same look as stone?  Which is why wood was a popular substitute from the renaissance onwards.
 
Today we have a wider range of materials for example EPS. While EPS it is not impervious to moisture, however the degree to which it is affected is negligible compared to wood.

This low-moisture absorption is particularly important in this country where there are freeze-thaw cycles. When waterfreezes, it forms a crystalline network that takes up more space than in the liquid form.

Quoins fitted over external wall insulation side view fitted with final render coat If you have a building material that is saturated with water, and freezes, the effect is the material (such as wood) being pushed apart from the inside due to the pressure of the water crystallizing. A few times shouldn't cause any huge problems, but when it happens hundreds of times over year andyears, it will cause the material to disintegrate.  Which is why we choose to use EPS.

If you would like to see more detailed pictures please click on the thumbnails above for larger phographs.

 

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