How to insulate an apartment

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Insulation of apartments – a topical issue for many citizens of Russia. The reason is not only in the harsh climate, but also in the quality of Russian housing.

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And if apartments in new buildings still keep warm well (although not always), then apartments in old buildings are often very cold. Plus, the heating system of many old houses is worn out and functions with great difficulty. In winter, these apartments turn into a small branch of the North Pole. However, you can try to insulate the apartment yourself..

I will say right away that effectively insulating an apartment only from the inside is not a very simple task, since proper thermal insulation of a house is a complex measure affecting the facade. But the facade work is beyond the power of the residents of apartment buildings – therefore, we will focus on the “internal” insulation.

The first and most important part of apartment insulation is the windows and doors of loggias and balconies. If there is such an opportunity, it is better to replace the old wooden “Soviet” windows with modern double-glazed windows, preferably two-chamber. If this is not possible, then repair the old windows. First, you need to walk around the glass perimeter with silicone sealant; secondly, put rubber seals on the window frames.

Replacing old heating radiators with new, more efficient ones also helps a lot. But often replacing windows and radiators is still not enough. In this case, wall insulation is required..

First, let’s list the main materials that are used to insulate walls:
1. Mineral and glass wool.
2. Various foams and polyethylene foams.
3. Cork insulating materials.

All of these materials have low thermal conductivity and perform their main task – thermal insulation of the room – well..

Mineral wool and glass wool

This is the cheapest material from the above, absolutely non-flammable. Mineral wool is a thin and flexible fiber obtained by cooling a mineral melt previously crushed into droplets and stretched into threads..

The disadvantages of mineral wool include an increase in thermal conductivity when wet and, accordingly, the need for vapor barrier, as well as shrinkage over time.

Mineral and glass wool is associated with the myth that it is “harmful to health”.
This is not true. Dust generated when working with these materials is harmful to health. Therefore, workers use respirators when working with mineral wool and glass wool. But after it is laid, covered with a vapor barrier film and drywall, it is absolutely harmless.

Styrofoam and polyethylene foam

They are just foamed plastics and polyethylene. They are not afraid of high humidity, in addition, they are very convenient in installation, they can be glued to the main wall. Among the shortcomings, one can single out the fact that this material belongs to the class of combustible, although it is “low-combustible and self-extinguishing.” When buying this group of heaters, you need to pay attention to the presence of fire-resistant additives in the material.

Cork insulating materials

Very easy to use. Long lasting. They are not afraid of moisture. With the addition of flame retardants, they belong to the B1 flammability class (“hardly flammable”). And when smoldering, they do not emit harmful phenols and formaldehydes. Cork mats are a natural material made from the bark of cork oak. The disadvantage of this material is the higher, relative to other materials, cost.

So, we have chosen the material and proceed to the wall insulation.

When insulating walls with mineral wool, a frame from a galvanized profile is first mounted on the main wall, then mineral wool is placed between the profiles, then a vapor barrier film is attached to the frame. Now we fix the drywall to the frame with self-tapping screws in one or two layers – and our warm wall is ready for finishing.

Mineral wool 50 mm thick is usually sufficient to insulate the outer wall. Accordingly, the galvanized profile is taken 50 x 50 x 3000.

If we use different foams, polyethylene foams or cork mats, then there are three ways to arrange the wall.

1. Metal frame. This is the method described above, only the need for a vapor barrier film disappears. Please note that when mounting the frame and drywall on it, the area of ​​the room will decrease by 6.5-10 cm from each wall.

2. Installation of thermal insulation directly to the wall using mounting glue and dowels, then installing drywall to the insulation, again using mounting glue, and additional reinforcement of the drywall to the main wall with long dowels.

This method is great if you are struggling not to reduce the space in your room. Reducing the usable area can be reduced to losses of 3-4 cm from each wall. Space saving is obtained due to the absence of a frame.

You just need to keep in mind that the smaller the thickness of the heat insulator, the less the heat insulation effect..

3. Installation of thermal insulation to the wall using mounting glue and dowels, installation of a plaster mesh over the thermal insulation and subsequent plastering of the wall.

The last of the described methods is the most time-consuming and technically difficult, but many resolutely prefer plastered walls to plasterboard. For plastering, it is desirable to use plasters with a lower thermal conductivity coefficient.

You should also pay attention to the fact that when walls are insulated with foams, polyethylene foams, cork mats, it is necessary to seal the gaps between the plates or mats with a sealant.

Now a few words about the problems that may arise after thermal insulation of a room..
Alas, there are no ventilation holes in the living rooms of most houses. Therefore, after replacing or sealing windows, ventilation of the air may deteriorate, accordingly, humidity may increase, and being in a stuffy room is uncomfortable and not good for health..

An expensive and time-consuming way to solve this problem is to install a ventilation system in the apartment. If this is not possible, then be prepared for the fact that after insulation you will have to ventilate the premises more often and more thoroughly.

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