- Varieties and cost of thermal panels
- Panel mounting methods
- Mounting substructure
- Insulation cake and vapor barrier
- Decorative properties
- Stages of the device for finishing with thermal panels
One of the most interesting facade finishing technologies today is clinker thermal panels. We have analyzed the key features of this finishing material, including the specifics of installation, behavior in different climatic conditions and the impact on the thermal protection of buildings..
Varieties and cost of thermal panels
When choosing thermal panels for facade cladding, it is easy to face a limited choice. Despite the fact that for clinker panels alone there are about a dozen different types of base, in a single region you can personally get acquainted with only two or three samples of such products.
By the type of base, the panels are divided into homogeneous and multi-layer. The latter type can now be found quite rarely, mainly at exhibitions of building technologies. Reinforcement with sheet materials should fulfill the task of preventing shrinkage of the foam polymer at the first stages of setting, however, this disadvantage is not observed in high pressure casting technology. At the same time, the introduction of an additional hygroscopic layer into the thermal panel does not bring significant benefits, but it can worsen the heat-insulating properties of the finish and form a pronounced thermal barrier, where moisture will condense with a high risk..
Single-layer panels are based on one of three types: PSB, XPS (EPS) and PPU, in this order the cost also increases. In terms of thermal performance, all these materials are very similar, only their frost resistance, operational stability and fire safety differ.
Clinker tiles from a wide range of manufacturers are used as a cladding layer. It provides reliable protection of the insulation from external influences and at the same time forms a finished finishing surface with an almost exclusive appearance. Naturally, the more trust in the tile manufacturer, the lower the likelihood of detecting defects over time. In principle, the clinker tile itself is a very strong and durable material, its qualities can be spoiled only by the introduction of third-party impurities into the raw material.
According to the manufacturing method, the panels are divided into bulk and extruded gluing. It is quite expected that pouring a heat-insulating filler into a matrix with a tile at the bottom provides the highest possible quality of adhesion, but this production technology requires special equipment. The tile is also glued to the insulation by the method of repeated pressing, which ensures high performance. Thermal panels of this production method should be purchased only from a trusted supplier..
Panel mounting methods
Thermal panels are very demanding on the quality of substrate preparation. Due to their large format, they are highly susceptible to temperature deformations and seasonal building shrinkage. Nevertheless, taking care of the preparation of external walls for the installation of thermal panels pays off with interest: they not only form a finishing layer with a high-quality appearance, but also provide the required value of the wall resistivity to heat transfer.
In Russian construction practice, there are often attempts to save money due to the fact that the thickness of the panels is reduced by first sticking ordinary insulation boards on the facade. In this case, the thermal panel is used simply as a decorative finish. There is no justified benefit from this: the main cost of thermal panels is precisely the tiles, while the cost of increasing the thickness of the insulated base is approximately comparable to the selling price of insulating materials. In covering the facade with expanded polystyrene for the installation of thermal panels, the only benefit lies in the preliminary preparation of the surface in order to level it or increase adhesion.
Since thermal panels are able to fully provide thermal protection of a building and at the same time are not sensitive to wetting, they do not need to arrange an air space. On the contrary, the presence of an air gap between the wall and the thermal panel can provoke the formation of condensation in the area adjacent to the bearing layer. This is especially detrimental to walls made of wood, aerated concrete or SIP panels..
There are two ways to ensure a high-quality installation of thermal panels. The first is preparatory plaster with a tolerance for the curvature of the plane of the order of 1–1.5 mm / m, but no more than 10 mm over the entire wall area. The second method refers to “dry” construction: a supporting subsystem is mounted on the walls, the space between the racks is filled with insulation, then panels are attached to the frame. In both cases, the panels form an almost monolithic cake with the wall..
Thermal panels create a minimum load on the base, depending on the thickness of the insulation, their specific gravity can be 7-15 kg / m2. For this reason, the mounting structure does not need to have outstanding load-bearing capacity, but its durability should not be in question..
It is not recommended to use profiles for gypsum board under thermal panels. Better to give preference to laminated veneer lumber or hardwood lumber. Before installing the bars or slats, they must be impregnated with a combined action antiseptic, and then they are hydrophobized.
The need for an assembly subsystem, as a rule, is due to the difficulties in fixing the thermal panels to the load-bearing layer of the wall. In particular, such a solution is used in frame construction, or if loose shell rock or foam concrete was used as masonry material. The rail itself can have multiple distributed fixings, while the panel is attached to the subsystem at just four or five points..
Insulation cake and vapor barrier
The main counter-argument against the use of thermal panels is the problem of condensation of water vapor, penetrating from the inside of the room to the outside due to the difference in partial pressure. Since the insulating base of the panels has practically zero capacity for gas exchange (with the exception of PSB), the material of the masonry itself should have an even greater ability to retain water vapor. Otherwise, the main rule in the distribution of the layers of the cake according to their ability for gas exchange will not be observed.
There are two ways out of this situation, the first is to increase the thickness of the panels to such a value at which the entire range of coordinates of the dew point will be entirely inside the insulation. The calculation for clinker thermal panels is carried out according to the same principle as when insulating with plates of the same material as the insulating base. If there is a reinforcing sheet in the base, the calculation is performed according to an individual scheme, most calculator programs cannot calculate such a cake.
The second way to exclude moisture condensation is to limit its penetration into the walls by covering the inner walls with a vapor barrier. At the same time, the zest of the “breathing” walls is lost, which are able to regulate the humidity inside the building in a natural way. This approach requires a more thorough study of the ventilation system..
High-quality thermal panels do not lose their appearance after 30 or even 50 years. In turn, the experience of using mediocre products demonstrates exactly the opposite results. There are several risk factors for disturbing the appearance of thermal panels with clinker tiles..
The clinker itself does not lose its properties under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, practically does not get dirty and, in general, demonstrates exemplary durability. The assortment of most suppliers has from two to five dozen variations of colors and textures, it is possible to combine different tiles in one panel. All this makes the decorative value of such a finish one of the highest.
The main problem of clinker thermal panels is associated with a violation of the integrity of the seams or peeling of tiles from the insulating base. If the latter occurs mainly due to a violation of production technology, then jointing defects appear due to installation errors.
First of all, you should know that the most durable thermal panels on a five-point mounting system. You should also pay attention to high-quality joint jointing. Usually, they are filled in and laid out after the panels are installed. It is optimal to fill the seams in the evening, to carry out joining in the morning of the next day. The composition of the fugue must be specially designed for use with clinker tiles. An additional advantage will be the presence of a fillet groove at the ends of the clinker, which will not allow the filler to spill out.
Stages of the device for finishing with thermal panels
The main feature of thermal panels as a material for facade finishing is their large format. With such dimensions, it is quite difficult to bypass the abutments to the openings and correctly calculate the height. For this reason, manufacturers supply custom-made kits for facades. They include both ordinary and corner panels, as well as elements for facing slopes and top row extensions. All that is needed to obtain such a kit is to provide working drawings of the facade indicating the key dimensions, usually the calculation is performed free of charge. At the same time, work on trimming and fitting panels is minimized..
By the time the set of thermal panels arrives at the facility, a rough surface must already be prepared or a supporting system must be installed. Installation of the panels themselves is extremely fast:
1. Along the line of the base, a perforated starter profile is attached, which serves as a zero mark. The starter tray allows finishing the basement after the main plane of the walls.
2. Panels are installed and fastened from bottom to top in horizontal rows, starting from the outer or inner corner of the building.
3. The main fastening of the panels is carried out by means of polystyrene glue, which is applied in a continuous contour along the perimeter and in several places along the center of the back side of the panel.
4. For greater reliability and fixation while the glue dries, each panel is fastened with dowels with a plastic plug or self-tapping screws at the locations of the embedded elements, that is, in the T-shaped joints of the seams between the clinker.
5. It is also possible to fasten the panels with umbrella dowels on vertical edges, where the base insulation is not covered with tiles. So that the fastening does not interfere with the gluing of the neighboring panel, a round sweat is sampled with a feather drill.
6. Vertical joints of the panels are connected using highly adhesive polyurethane glue, which is applied to the gaps and the back side of the protruding tiles of adjacent thermal panels.
7. Horizontal joints have a quarter joint, which is also filled with glue.
8. After the installation of the panels is completed, jointing of the seams is carried out. You can use a special gun, you can use a tight plastic bag with a cut corner for this purpose as a kind of pastry syringe.
9. Sewing of joints is carried out 10-15 hours after filling, it is optimal if a low temperature and moderate humidity are observed throughout this period.