A city apartment is a fairly limited living space. Happy owners of new apartments, owners of apartments in old buildings seek to expand their own possessions by any means. Almost every full-fledged apartment has a balcony, which, in the process of refurbishment and insulation, can be made a significant addition to the existing living space. In addition, open balconies often become the only place in the apartment through which precious heat escapes in cold weather. How to make a warm balcony in your apartment, cozy and comfortable, how to insulate the balcony with your own hands — let’s try to figure it out in detail.
To do this, we offer a step-by-step guide to action, rich in efficient, practical comments. Each photo will allow you to get a visual idea of what needs to be done and how to do it.
Analysis of the decision made. Careful preparation at work
The main problem that needs to be solved first of all is to avoid the typical mistakes that many apartment owners make when trying to insulate their balcony in a hurry. Technical issues should be taken seriously, starting with a thorough and detailed analysis of the current situation. Those. give yourself answers to the following questions:
- what is your goal;
- what financial expenses are you willing to bear when trying to insulate a balcony or loggia;
- in what format is the insulation planned, cold or elite;
- how quickly you want to realize your idea.
The main thing is not to rush in pursuit of extra square meters. A warm balcony should eventually become not just another pantry for household rubbish, but a full-fledged cozy room. Similar tasks are faced by residents of apartments, in the layout of which there is a loggia. Rushing may not lead to the results you expect. Often there are situations when a glazed balcony equipped with an electric radiator remains cold and uncomfortable. The money invested in insulation is, by and large, wasted. To avoid such a situation, it is necessary to treat each stage responsibly.
Using our tips, you will get the answer to your question. How to insulate your own balcony with your own hands, using a step-by-step photo, what are the regulations for warming work.
Step one — balcony glazing
By choosing the appropriate option for balcony glazing, you solve one of the main tasks. High-quality glazing will allow you to save heat in the apartment by blocking the access of cold air into the living space. A good balcony frame will eliminate drafts in your apartment once and for all. A closed insulated balcony adds a feeling of security to the inhabitants of the apartment, expands the habitable space, opens up opportunities for further conversion of the balcony into a winter garden or a rest room.
Read also about the insulation of balcony walls with your own hands.
The best option in this situation is to turn to the services of specialists. Today, there are a huge number of firms and companies on the market that are ready to glaze your balcony in a matter of days. The choice of materials and glazing options is quite wide. In each individual case, the owner of the apartment chooses which glazing option suits him, both technically and economically.
The first step to effective insulation of the balcony is a good balcony frame. Today, the consumer is offered a variety of glazing options using traditional double-glazed windows and ending with wooden structures. A simple wooden frame is suitable for cold glazing, as is the single glass option in window units.
On a note: cold type of balcony glazing is often used in apartments with two or more balconies. Installing a conventional frame will prevent the impact of precipitation on the balcony and shelter from the wind. In terms of maintaining temperature, cold glazing plays an insignificant role. The temperature on such a balcony is only 2–5 degrees higher than outside.
For serious insulation, double-glazed or triple-glazed windows would be an ideal option. It all depends on the financial side of the issues. The price must match the quality of the products. Modern wooden double-glazed windows are an expensive pleasure, however, such an investment will pay off in the future. The most important thing is that the balcony frame does not freeze in the future, otherwise it will be necessary to install additional seals on the glass. A warm balcony will become a reality if it is protected from external influences by a reliable and durable balcony frame.
Important! Before choosing the type of balcony glazing, pay attention to the parapet. Whether it has sufficient strength and whether it can withstand a massive structure. In some cases, especially in old-built houses, additional work has to be done to strengthen the parapet.
Preference in the insulation of the balcony is given to double-glazed windows. Shutters can be chosen at your discretion. In order to save internal space, sliding doors can be oriented. This is convenient, but in this case there is no good fit between the window frames, which is fraught with the penetration of cold air from outside. Swing sashes look preferable. Expansion profiles must be installed at the top and sides of the frame, with the help of which the insulation is subsequently attached. Properly selected balcony frame and installation will prompt in the future how to properly insulate the balcony from the inside with insulating materials.
By correctly calculating the area to be closed, the number of doors and choosing a high-quality profile, you can expect to get the desired result as a result. The cost of such glazing is quite high, but it should not scare you. Such glazing will serve for a long time, while the inhabitants of the apartment will be satisfied with the comfort of your balcony.
Step two — we make the facade of the balcony
A stable and reliable parapet, a strong balcony frame is the first part of the work. Exterior, or I call it, the exterior decoration of balconies, is the same integral part of the appearance of the whole apartment as its entrance hall. Proper and professionally executed exterior decoration of the balcony will guarantee the preservation of heat on the balcony. For a very long time, the legal glazing of the balcony and its exterior finish were the subject of discussion and the final decision of a special commission that evaluated the appearance of the balcony. Now other times have come and the exterior decoration of the balcony has become the most commonplace. New buildings in our cities, which are being put into operation, have already glazed balconies, with facade decoration.
What is the external decoration of the balcony for? So to speak. To whom, no matter how dear it will be to you to look at your balcony from the street, without ceasing to admire it. Moreover, having ennobled your balcony inside, creating a cozy, warm and protected space, you should definitely take care of the security of the entire structure from the outside. A little more about how to insulate a balcony with your own hands from the outside, to make the exterior finish not only an element of aesthetic decoration, but also an effective protective element.
After checking the parapet for strength, you can begin to perform finishing work. The exterior decoration of the balcony is done using the same technology as the well-known suspended ceiling device.
Important! First, a crate is applied to the entire structure of the fence, usually wooden. Only then, sheets of finishing material are already attached to the crate itself. The material that is used for the exterior decoration of balconies has special grooves designed for dense installation of the entire array. In order to achieve complete waterproofing of the balcony, the entire installed structure is treated in the necessary places with special sealants in order to avoid accidental moisture ingress into the balcony.
As for materials for exterior decoration, this point should be considered in more detail. When choosing materials for finishing a balcony, one should take into account their resistance to atmospheric phenomena and temperature extremes. The most famous and well-established materials used for the exterior of balconies are plastic lining and vinyl siding. Both materials have good frost resistance, completely immune to various atmospheric precipitation. Synthetic materials keep their color for a long time and do not fade under the influence of sunlight. By using these materials, you free yourself from the constant care of them.
Properly executed exterior decoration of the balcony, a good facade will prevent premature wear and aging of interior decoration materials, protect your balcony from the effects of atmospheric phenomena.
Step three — sealing the seams, eliminating gaps between structures
Having finished with the installation of the balcony frame and finishing the facade, you should proceed to a thorough study of the condition of the parapet and the junction of the installed structures to the wall panels. We fix visually clearly visible gaps between the frame and the parapet, we mark small gaps with the help of an ordinary burning candle. Where outside air enters, the flame of the candle will fluctuate, the candle burns brighter. There is no need to hurry in this matter. At this stage, at the same time, you eliminate the technical shortcomings made during work with the balcony facade.
The further thermal efficiency of the balcony space depends on how carefully you caulk the cracks, seal the gaps and seams. A residential apartment building is a rather complex engineering structure, but even in this case there are no ideal surfaces. In any case, during the installation of the balcony frame and during the reconstruction of the parapet, gaps and gaps occur due to vertical and horizontal deviations of the wall panels.
In work, use a wide variety of polyurethane sealants and mastics. Mounting foam will eliminate large gaps. Reliable sealing of cracks, holes and gaps already at this stage will show how well you did the first stage of work.
Step four — working with insulation
Having finished with the main structural work, having ended up with a closed space, go directly to the insulation of the balcony space from the inside. A reasonable question arises at this stage. What is the best way to insulate a balcony from the inside, what materials should be preferred? Good insulation is always good, but when using foam or mineral wool, you risk losing precious inches of interior space.
On a note: if you live in a region where the cold season lasts for many months, you will have to insulate with insulating material not only the floor, but also the ceiling, parapet, and wall panels. It is important to create a solid array of insulation that can withstand the cold air inside. If your neighbors have already insulated the balcony, there will be less work for you. The ceiling may not be insulated. The situation is similar with balconies that do not have side parapets. There is a significant savings in materials and time.
Having calculated how much material is needed for insulation, we decide on the choice of insulation. The insulating material must have high thermal insulation parameters and technological parameters:
- low flammability;
- high manufacturability;
- a light weight;
- affordable cost.
Today, foam is massively used for insulation, but we have already said. Sheets 5–10 mm thick will eat up your precious insulated square meters. Styrofoam is the cheapest option for insulation. With limited finances, you will have to be content with this material. It should be remembered that the foam is a fairly thick material, its durability and fragility is highly questionable. The best way to make the insulation of the balcony as efficient and productive as possible is to use mineral wool and foil isolon. In the latter version, porous polyethylene is used for manufacturing, which is based on a metal film. The listed materials have the necessary technological properties that will tell you the answer to the question of how to properly insulate the loggia from the inside. Actions are carried out according to the same principle. All internal panels in the loggia are covered with insulating material, which is easily masked from above by decorative and finishing elements. It is quite easy to insulate a loggia in a panel house if you include it in the common room space.
Extruded polystyrene foam has similar properties. Low thermal conductivity, lightness and strength provide this material with the necessary technological advantages in comparison with other insulating materials.
The diagram shows a view of the fastening of the insulation from the inside:
The insulation is fastened with dowels or with mounting glue. The choice of mounting method is up to you. In the case of glue, the situation is much simpler. The fixing area and the insulation itself are smeared with adhesive composition. By tightly connecting both surfaces, we get the finished panel. The gaps between the pieces or sheets of insulation are filled with mounting foam.
Important! A brand of polyurethane foam is used, in which there is no toluene.
Step Five — Installing Heaters
Having finished with engineering work, we proceed to equip the balcony with heating devices. It is not worth bringing central heating radiators to the balcony, otherwise the heating intensity in the apartment will immediately decrease. If your gas boiler is capable of heating a large area, then in this case you just need to install an additional heating radiator on the balcony.
If you are thinking about how to make a warm floor on your balcony, it is enough to purchase the necessary equipment and do the installation correctly. A small heated area, good insulation of the internal space, together with a working underfloor heating, will give the desired effect. In the absence of the necessary finances, you can get by with connecting a conventional electric convector or infrared heater to the outlet. In both cases, a small area can be easily heated by household electric heaters.
Having finished all the work, we hang curtains on the windows, arrange the furniture and turn on the heating. Your balcony has become a full-fledged habitable room in your apartment. Now in winter it will be as cozy and comfortable as in the whole apartment.