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Insulation maintenance: effective solutions for every type of damage

Regular maintenance of thermal insulation is essential to ensure that the insulation system maintains its performance over time. Discover targeted maintenance interventions for every type of damage.

Thermal insulation, also known as “ETICS” (External Thermal Insulation Composite System), is an essential system for improving the comfort and energy efficiency of buildings. However, during its lifespan, it can be subject to various types of damage, including installation errors, external events, and degradation due to weather conditions.

In this article, we will explore specific interventions for each type of damage to thermal insulation, ensuring that the building remains protected and thermally efficient over time.

The Importance of thermal insulation maintenance

Maintaining thermal insulation is essential to ensure its durability over time. Contrary to common perception, the installation of insulation does not represent a definitive intervention. Instead, it requires periodic attention to avoid costly future repairs.

Three fundamental pillars for durable intervention are:

  1. selection and use of a certified system: the crucial first step is choosing a thermal insulation system consisting of tested and certified products. This ensures that the insulation remains durable and high-performing over time;
  2. correct design and installation: The design of an adequate thermal insulation system largely depends on understanding and accurately assessing the thermal conductivity and transmittance of the materials used. To optimally determine the insulation thickness and evaluate how much heat passes through the thermal insulation system, calculating thermal transmittance is essential. This calculation helps determine if the system can achieve energy efficiency and thermal comfort goals;
  3. qualified installers: It’s crucial to entrust the installation of thermal insulation to specialized or qualified installers. This ensures that the installation is carried out competently and precisely.

Failure to meet any of these requirements can cause short-term problems, so it’s essential to follow them carefully.

insulation maintenance

Periodic maintenance interventions: key to ensuring the lifespan of thermal insulation

Regular maintenance of thermal insulation is essential to ensure that the insulation system maintains its performance over time. This maintenance starts with regular visual analysis of the building.

The first inspection should occur after just 4-6 months of installation, followed by an annual review and subsequent inspections every 2-3 years. The inspection frequency will depend on the specific conditions of the building.

Aspects to monitor

During inspections, it’s crucial to pay attention to aspects related to plaster and colored finishing layers:

  • contamination by algae and fungi;
  • crack formation;
  • damages, breakages, swellings, and detachments;
  • sealing of connections and expansion joints;
  • water tightness and cleaning of sills, balconies, and protruding components.

It’s advisable to visually document each inspection to monitor changes over time.

Main types of thermal insulation system damage

Based on analyses of the state of the thermal insulation system, various types of damage can be identified. These can be categorized according to severity:

  1. aesthetic degradation:
    • molds;
    • algae;
    • discoloration;
    • micro-cracks;
  2. minor defects and damages:
    • poor flatness;
    • small lesions or cracks (>0.2 mm);
    • evidence of paneling;
  3. moderate defects and damages:
    • plaster detachments;
    • swellings;
    • cracks and fissures (>1 mm);
  4. serious defects and damages:
    • hail impacts and accidental impacts;
    • major lesions or cracks (>2 mm);
    • panel detachments;
    • serious installation or design errors.

Resolving interventions for each type of thermal insulation damage

Below, we’ll examine specific interventions for each type of damage:

  • aesthetic degradation (dirt, molds, algae, discoloration, micro-cracks):
    a new decoration cycle is the solution to address aesthetic degradation. Using a siloxane paint with high water repellency and resistance to algae, fungi, and molds will restore the original appearance of the insulation;
  • minor defects and damages (poor flatness, small lesions or cracks >0.2 mm, evidence of paneling):
    for minor defects and damages, performing a new reinforced plaster cycle with mesh and decoration is advisable. This will restore flatness and correct minor surface damages;
  • moderate defects and damages (plaster detachments, swellings, cracks and fissures >1 mm):
    for moderate damages, a new reinforced plaster cycle with anchored mesh and decoration is the ideal solution. This addresses more significant damages and restores insulation stability;
  • serious defects and damages (hail impacts and accidental impacts, lesions or cracks >2 mm, panel detachments, serious installation or design errors):
    in the case of severe damages, demolition and replacement of the thermal insulation may be necessary.

Regular maintenance of thermal insulation is crucial to ensure the durability and energy efficiency of your building. By identifying types of damages and intervening appropriately, you can preserve the comfort and appearance of your building over the years. Using a building maintenance software can significantly simplify the thermal insulation maintenance management process because:

  • you can plan inspections and revisions systematically, ensuring they are carried out timely and regularly;
  • you can organize all data related to past inspections, revisions, and any repairs made in an orderly manner. This helps track the condition of thermal insulation over time and identify trends or recurring problems;
  • it generates detailed reports on the status of thermal insulation, including photos and notes related to the interventions made. These reports can be useful for documentation and communication with maintenance professionals or industry experts.