Diatomite Properties: Manchester

Non-traditional ‘Diatomite’ properties are renowned for being difficult and expensive to heat.  By externally insulating these particular properties in Manchester, Southway Housing Trust felt that they could make them warmer, drier and more energy efficient.

Triangle Architects were tasked to provide a solution that would not only externally insulate the properties, but also produce a design that would give the homes and whole estate a new look. A Wetherby Insulated Render System incorporating Brick Slips was specified to offer the thermal performance necessary to meet current building regulations, as well as offer a contrasting feature to the unique design that was required.

The design envisaged stack bonded brick slips, with a glazed appearance, to differentiate the properties from other brick slipped properties in nearby areas. The glazed brick slips were sourced by Wetherby especially for this particular project. Some of the properties had large terracotta tiles below roof level and Wetherby sourced similar to give continuity to the design. Up to five colours were used on each property, with different colours used in different streets.

This is the largest EWI project incorporating brick slips in the North West with 800 properties being involved.

The thermal properties of the 60mm Phenolic insulation saw the U-value decrease to an impressively warm 0.30W/m²K to give the residents cheaper to heat homes and help them make better use of the new boilers that had also been fitted as part of the refurbishment scheme.

Project Type

Residential Refurbishment


Southway Housing Trust

System Installer

Skyline Construction Services Limited


Triangle Architects Manchester


Wates Living Space