Thermal insulation detachment: the reasons and possible solutions


Emma Potter

In urban and residential environments, thermal insulation plays a crucial role in ensuring living comfort and energy efficiency of buildings. However, the increasing incidence of the detachment of these insulation systems, especially during the winter months, has raised concerns regarding the safety of structures and the safety of people.

This phenomenon, which goes beyond material damage, draws attention to the need for correct assembly, the choice of suitable materials and diligent maintenance.

Below, we will delve into the causes behind the detachment of the thermal coat and the preventive and corrective measures to be taken to mitigate the associated risks.

What is thermal insulation and its types

Thermal insulation, also known as external insulation, is an architectural solution aimed at improving the energy efficiency of buildings through the application of insulating layers on external or internal walls.

This technology not only promotes significant energy savings, reducing heat loss in winter and limiting heat entry in summer, but also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions, playing an important role in protecting the environment.

There are mainly two types of thermal insulation:

  • Internal
    It is characterized by the application of insulating panels on the internal side of the walls. This solution is often preferred due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of installation, but it can lead to a reduction in living space and presents specific technical challenges.
  • External
    More common in small residential buildings, it offers advantages in terms of durability of thermal and acoustic insulation, as well as preventing the formation of mold and cracks on the facade. The external insulation, following the ETICS (External Thermal Insulation Composite System) standard, includes various components such as the adhesive mortar, the insulating panel, anchoring plugs, base and finishing plaster, and various accessories for optimal protection.

The effectiveness and safety of these solutions depend largely on the correct choice of materials and precision in installation, factors which will be explored in the following paragraphs.

The main causes of the detachment of the thermal coat

The detachment of the thermal insulation represents a serious problem that can compromise the insulating effectiveness of the building and represent a danger to people's safety. The causes of this phenomenon can be different, but some of the most relevant include:

  • Incorrect installation
    Inadequate application of insulating materials and fasteners, such as plugs and glue, is often the key factor behind the detachment of the thermal insulation. An insufficient amount of adhesive or improper use of anchors can lead to incomplete adhesion to the wall, compromising the stability of the insulation. (Read more: External thermal insulation: how it is made and how it is installed).
  • Inadequate choice of materials
    The durability and efficiency of the thermal coat also depend on the quality and suitability of the materials used. Materials not suited to the climatic or structural specifications of the building can deteriorate more quickly, increasing the risk of detachment.
  • Lack of maintenance
    Regular maintenance is essential to preserve the integrity of the thermal coat over time. The lack of periodic checks can lead to ignoring signs of early degradation, such as cracks or partial detachments, which if not treated promptly, can develop into more serious problems.
  • Extreme environmental conditions
    External factors, such as violent weather events or extreme thermal variations, can accelerate the deterioration process of the coat, especially if it has not been installed or maintained correctly.

Promptly identifying the causes of a possible detachment is essential to intervene effectively, avoiding negative repercussions on the safety and energy efficiency of the building. Collaboration with qualified professionals and the adoption of proactive maintenance are, therefore, key strategies to prevent these risks.

Preventive and intervention measures in case of detachment of the thermal coat

Prevention plays a crucial role in minimizing the risks associated with the detachment of the thermal coat. However, it is also essential to know how to act effectively when such a problem occurs. Here are some preventive measures and intervention strategies:

Preventive measures:

  • Careful choice of materials and supplier: Select high quality materials, suitable for the climatic and structural specifications of the building and rely on specialized companies with proven experience in the external insulation sector.
  • Strict inspection during installation: Carefully supervise the installation of the insulation system, ensuring that all stages of the process are carried out according to best practices and technical specifications.
  • Periodic maintenance: Implement a regular maintenance plan to inspect and evaluate the state of the thermal insulation, allowing the identification and timely resolution of any signs of degradation.

Interventions in the event of detachment:

  • Professional damage assessment: At the first sign of detachment or deterioration, it is vital to consult experts in the field of insulation for an accurate diagnosis. These specialists can determine the exact cause of the problem and suggest the most appropriate course of action.
  • Targeted repairs or replacement: Depending on the extent of the damage, it may be possible to proceed with specific repairs, such as strengthening the fixing points or applying new adhesive material. In severe cases, complete replacement of the insulation system may be necessary.
  • Improved maintenance practices: After the intervention, it is important to adopt or strengthen maintenance practices to prevent the recurrence of the problem, adapting the maintenance plan to the needs identified during the detachment analysis.

By adopting these preventive measures and responding promptly to signs of detachment, it is possible to guarantee the longevity and effectiveness of the thermal insulation, thus preserving the energy efficiency of the building and the safety of people.