1. Uninsulated façades are outdated
  2. The compact façade
  3. The ventilated façade
  4. How to recognise damage
  5. Not all cracks are the same
  6. Renovate plaster façade
  7. Renovate wooden façade
  8. Renovate concrete façade
  9. Renovate brick façade
  10. Energy renovation of the façade
  11. Renovate façade: Costs

The façade protects a house from wind and weather and at the same time regulates the indoor climate. It has an average lifespan of 30 to 50 years. If you own an older single-family home or a condominium in an older apartment building, you should think about a façade renovation at an early stage. On the one hand, you protect your residential property and maintain its value, and on the other hand, you save money and protect the environment when you renovate the house façade for energy efficiency.

Uninsulated façades are outdated

Uninsulated façades consist of plaster applied directly to the exterior wall, exposed masonry such as brick or exposed concrete, sometimes timber framing or shingles. Uninsulated façades are only found in old buildings. They are no longer up to date because a house without insulation loses about a quarter of its heat. That is why façades are insulated when they are renovated. Insulated façades are available as compact façades or ventilated façades.

The compact façade

With a compact façade, you can renovate the house façade without changing the appearance of the house if you don't want to. The compact façade is a plastered exterior thermal insulation: insulation boards are attached to the exterior walls and then plastered. The insulation materials used are usually rigid foam (EPS), mineral wool or, in the case of high fire protection requirements, rock wool. Of course, ecological insulation materials are also available as an alternative. A compact façade is constructively simpler and thus more cost-effective than a ventilated façade.

The ventilated façade

In the case of a ventilated façade, the insulation panels are attached to a supporting structure that can be boarded with a wide variety of materials. For example, wood, fibre cement, ceramic, metal or stone. In this way, the appearance of a house can be completely changed when you have the façade renovated, for example from a colourless old building to a modern design house. The supporting structure between the insulation material and the façade cladding is called a rear-ventilation space, thanks to which moisture escapes from the masonry. Rear-ventilated façades are more expensive than compact façades, but they are more robust, last longer and drain moisture better.

Renovate façade: Major cracks in stone façade
You will see larger cracks immediately. To detect smaller cracks, moisten the façade with water.

How to recognise damage

Prevention is better than cure. That's why you should thoroughly inspect the façade of the house once a year for cracks and other damage. Even if it is less than 30 years old. You don't need a specialist to check the façade, you can do that yourself. You will only need a specialist when you renovate the façade.

  • Rub the wall with your hand. If residue remains, the paint has weathered. Then you should wash the façade thoroughly, prime it and have it repainted.
  • Tap the wall and scrape the façade with a pointed knife. If it sounds hollow or plaster is crumbling from the wall, you should knock off the plaster over a large area and have the façade re-plastered.
  • You will see larger cracks immediately. Moisten the wall with water so that you also discover smaller cracks as dark lines. Have the façade repaired so that no rainwater penetrates, freezes in the crack and expands. Otherwise parts of the façade will flake off - and it will be more expensive ...
  • Chipped off parts of the façade or moss are a sign that the wall is damp and no longer dries out properly. This usually happens on the weather side. Call a painter or plasterer immediately to renovate the façade. The moisture can lead to stains and mould in the rooms, weaken the building fabric or, in the worst case, endanger the statics.

Houzy Hint

Tip

For older houses, it is worthwhile to have thermography done. The exterior walls are photographed with an infrared camera. The pictures show how well the building components insulate. If it glows red or orange, you should have the façade renovated for energy efficiency because too much heat is being lost.

Not all cracks are the same

Experts distinguish between normal, dynamic and static cracks:

  • Normal cracks occur, for example, because climatic conditions change with the change of seasons.
  • Dynamic cracks usually occur at a weak point in the construction. For example, between a window and the roof or between two windows. Weaknesses in the material or insufficiently reinforced or too thin plastering are usually to blame.
  • Static cracks usually occur when the building statics are not right. For example, if a corner of the house sinks because the subsoil is not stable enough, not compacted enough or too sandy.

Houzy Hint

Tip

Have the façade repainted every few years, even if everything is still intact. This looks better and protects the plaster from air pollution, wind and weather.

Façade renovation - Painter

Façade renovation planned?

Houzy makes it easy to find regional and certified painters and plasterers. Simply describe your project and receive up to three free offers.
Get offers from painters

Renovate plaster façade

The plastered façade is the most widespread in Switzerland. The exterior wall is plastered with mortar - sand, water and binder. In the past directly on the wall, today on the insulation. Plaster has a lifespan of 10 to 25 years, if it is processed correctly, and it lasts well. Nevertheless, cracks can occur, mostly due to environmental influences. If you discover the cracks early, a plasterer or painter can repair them with little effort. The larger the cracks become, the greater the danger that the plaster will crumble. Then the affected wall must be completely replastered. Do not wait too long and have the façade renovated or refurbished.

Houzy Hint

Tip

The façade should be permeable to water vapour so that moisture can escape through the wall. Therefore, choose a mineral plaster when you have the façade re-plastered.

Renovate wooden façade

The wooden façade is a wooden cladding on the exterior wall with a space in between for the insulation material. Because wood is very susceptible to weathering, you should have a wooden façade sanded, painted and varnished every two years. This way you protect the material and avoid costly consequential damage. In addition, damage to the wood attacks the insulating material. On the other hand, wooden façades are easy and quick to renovate, because only individual elements need to be replaced instead of entire exterior walls having to be re-plastered. If you want to renovate a wooden façade, ask a carpenter or a timber construction company.

Renovate façade: House with wooden façade
Wooden façades are susceptible to weathering, but are easy and quick to renovate.

Renovate concrete façade

The concrete façade was also in vogue for residential buildings in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the weaknesses of the material are becoming apparent. For example, if moisture or carbon dioxide penetrates from the outside, this can trigger a chemical reaction: The reinforcing steel rusts, increases its volume and causes the reinforcement cover to burst. During concrete façade renovation, damaged reinforcing steel is exposed and protected from corrosion or, if necessary, replaced and rebuilt.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Renovate brick façade

The brick façade or clinker façade provides excellent protection for the masonry and the insulation. It is durable. Minor damage can be easily repaired because only individual bricks or clinker bricks need to be replaced.

Energy renovation of the façade

Most heat is lost through uninsulated exterior walls. That is why façade insulation is so important if you want to save energy and money and protect the environment. Therefore, if you are renovating uninsulated façades, take the opportunity to have them insulated. Depending on the material, you will need an insulation layer 14 to 30 centimetres thick. Whenever possible, have the house insulated from the outside. This way you avoid thermal bridges through which heat is lost and you do not change the size of the rooms.

Houzy Advice

Gut zu wissen

Wenn der Denkmalschutz oder zu geringe Grenzabstände die Dämmung von aussen verhindern, können Sie die Fassade auch von innen dämmen lassen. Das ist allerdings bauphysikalisch anspruchsvoller und aufwendiger.

Renovate façade: Building envelope with insulation
With façade insulation you save energy and money and protect the environment

Renovate façade: Costs

The costs of a façade renovation depend on the effort and the material. If you want to have the façade insulated, scaffolding must be installed and the top layer completely removed. This takes days or weeks. For a wrist-by-pi estimate, calculate 250 to 400 francs per square metre for the insulation material and the fixed costs for plastering. The thicker the insulation, the higher the cost of the façade renovation. This is an investment in the future that will pay off sooner rather than later because you will significantly reduce your energy costs.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Some cantons and municipalities provide generous funding for energy-efficient renovation measures. At gebäudeprogramm.ch you can find out how your canton supports the thermal insulation of façades.

Houzy Hint

Tip

A façade renovation can be expensive. That's why you should put money aside for it early on. If you are a homeowner, put it in a savings account; if you are a condominium owner, put it in the renovation funds of the condominium owners' association.

A house is a complex system. If you change one component, it has consequences. For example, for the indoor climate if you renovate and insulate the façade. That's why you should seek advice from experts who know these interdependencies. They will recommend sensible renovation measures and professionally renovate the façade.

Related articles

Back to Houzy Magazine