- What is special about panels
- Insulation of the basement
- Carrying frame device
- Fittings and special profiles
- Panel mounting
- Facade connection and ebb installation
Plinth finishing under a ventilated façade is almost always difficult. Plinth panels are durable enough and are great for finishing and high-quality home protection. In today’s review, we will talk about basement panels and the rules for their do-it-yourself installation..
What is special about panels
If basement siding has a key feature, then it is precisely its stylistic properties. The panels are made of PVC, a material that lends itself well to processing and shaping. The variety of textures and colors allows you to reliably imitate almost any surface or material; in existing collections there are imitations of stone, wood, clinker tiles and bricks. That is, there is no problem that the appearance of the plinth finish is in harmony with the facade, roof and general exterior..
But the specificity of the basement panels is not limited only to aesthetic qualities. As many people know, the plinth is a very vulnerable area of outdoor decoration. When using almost half of the known materials, the issue of maintainability is always carefully considered. Due to permanent dampness, exposure to drafts and frost, stone finishes often fly off, plaster finishes cracks and exfoliate, there is almost always a loss of color of natural materials. These vulnerabilities are completely devoid of materials that are mounted in a hinged way, that is, as a ventilated facade.
Well, do not forget about the properties of the plastic itself. Unlike lining and ordinary siding, plastic base / plinth panels are much more durable and have a much higher threshold for impact loads. Thanks to the stabilization of pigments, the decorative layer is reliably protected from fading and tarnishing due to erosion and dust pollution. Thus, we can confidently name durability as the third distinguishing quality of basement panels: not only structural, but also decorative..
Insulation of the basement
The curtain wall system is one of the finishes most suitable for placing a thermal protection belt of unlimited (within reasonable limits) thickness. The basement panels of this concept fully comply, however, there are a number of technical rules, the observance of which ensures a synergistic effect – that is, the properties of the insulation system at least do not limit the quality of the finish and vice versa. The first question arises: in what cases does the base need to be insulated. With this, everything is quite obvious, because the concrete base is subject to freezing only if its above-ground part is more than 20 cm in height and there is a risk of through freezing with frost formation on the walls of the underground. In any case, even the slightest insulation will only benefit the foundation: stabilization of the thermal regime is one of the most important factors in durability.
To begin with, the basement thermal protection belt (if any) almost always serves as a continuation of the basement insulation. Since it is not customary to use anything below the ground level besides expanded polystyrene and similar heaters, the above-ground part is made with the same materials. There are certain advantages in this: rigid slabs are easy enough to cut to size, thus, the pitch of the post elements for fixing the skin can be chosen arbitrarily.
To insulate the basement, use expanded polystyrene made by extrusion, that is, XPS: the closed shape of the cells in it excludes the accumulation of moisture, that is, in such harsh operating conditions, the material will last a really long time. More advanced materials such as foam glass or PUR are allowed, but their high cost justifies their use mostly in the construction of buildings with zero and positive energy balance..
Carrying frame device
In the presence of insulation, the only gaps in the thermal protection will be the elements of the frame system, on which the finishing panels are subsequently attached. There are several ways to solve this issue, each of which involves the use of a certain material with an original layout of elements..
With the material, everything is quite simple: steel has a high thermal conductivity, but at the same time it is stronger and more durable, wood is inferior in tolerance to operating conditions, but conducts heat worse. If it is customary to install a wooden frame under the plinth plating, then only stabilized wood should be used. For such operating conditions, vacuum impregnation with linseed oil or saline solutions is ideal. Contrary to popular belief, a wooden frame is not cheaper than a metal frame, it simply provides a gain in thermal conductivity, allowing you to use a simpler arrangement of elements.
The latter should be discussed in more detail. Most manufacturers of basement siding regulate the following subsystem configuration: vertical posts with a pitch of 40 or 60 cm. In this case, the cross-section of the posts is chosen for sufficient structural strength, and not based on the thickness of the insulation. In practice, the difference between steel and timber frames is often the row. If wooden racks can be fixed with one outer row on the bumpers, which act as consoles, then the metal subsystem is usually made in a cross-type manner, and the consoles are used exclusively for leveling the plane for finishing. In the latter case, it is thanks to the cross connection that the lengthening of the cold bridges is achieved.
In general, it is recommended to fasten the facade to the base through a gasket of damper and heat-insulating material – neoprene or foamed rubber. You should correctly choose the type of fasteners for different wall materials: if dowels and pins in plastic corks are optimal for brickwork, then for porous concrete, fastening with self-tapping screws should be performed, distributed at 3-4 points in each node.
Fittings and special profiles
As a product, basement siding is not so much the panels themselves as a mounting system. On average, a decent manufacturer presents up to a dozen additional articles: starting and closing profiles, ebbs, corners, platbands and slope elements. Of course, not every manufacturer provides an exhaustive list of fittings, but sometimes elements of the same type from different suppliers may well be interchangeable..
From the mandatory list of accessories, we indicate the following elements:
- Starting profile with horizontal abutment to the blind area.
- J-profile for inclined abutment and for joining corners without overlays.
- External and internal corners to bring the finishing planes together.
- Trailing strip.
- H-profile in the case of a facade finish with a plinth of one plane.
- Ebb or chamfer.
The range of colors for accessories is usually poorer than for the panels themselves. The exception is corner profiles: as the most noticeable finishing element, they are made textured and with a special color card corresponding to the style of a particular collection. At the same time, most elements with a purely technical value (J-profiles, end strips) have a single color and a smooth surface.
In addition to the aesthetic variety, which we mentioned at the very beginning, basement siding has a number of other features. Next in importance is the manufacturability of processing and installation of finishing. What to do, European manufacturers are extremely practical people, respectively, a product of European origin, as a rule, absorbs not only the advantages of certain materials – it is extremely easy to work with it if you follow the established procedure. We are in a hurry to please: even a schoolboy can handle the installation of basement panels.
The only difficulty is the fixed format of the panels. The manufacturer’s recommendation states that the edge element in each row should not have a length less than a certain value, as a rule, it is 30–35 cm. Thus, the layout scheme must be thought out in advance, but not only for one row. After all, the panels are displaced by at least a third of the length, respectively, there should not be too short extensions in each row. In the best case, each row starts with an undercut, the remainder of which is used to complete this or the next row..
As for the preparation and fastening of the panels, everything is extremely simple in this regard. Cutting is easiest to perform with an electric jigsaw or angle grinder, on which a fine-toothed mill is installed instead of a disc. The panels are fastened with self-tapping screws with a press washer, while the key rule common to all types of siding applies: do not tighten the fasteners all the way, leaving about 1 mm for free sliding of the panels and compensation for thermal expansion.
Installation begins with the installation of a starter or J-profile. With an oblique conjugation with the blind area, I start the installation from the highest point, gradually preparing the lower wedge-shaped extensions. The main difference here is that the starter profile mimics the top locking edge of the panel, while the J profile is a simple groove needed to hide the cut edge. For some panels, the direction of installation is important: while a number of manufacturers supply siding with double-sided locks, some products can only be fastened from left to right. Installation always starts from the corner, internal or external – no difference. In the case of an inclined abutment of the blind area, the corner should be at its highest point.
Before fixing the outer panels, it is necessary to pre-fix the so-called starts of the corner plates. The corners and the top end strip are fastened last when the base / plinth main planes are already covered. There are, however, a number of exceptions: for example, with a significant groove depth of the corner profiles, it makes sense to sequentially fasten, so that the end panels do not have to bend too much later to bring the edge into place.
Separately, it is worth touching on the topic of indirect angles. When decorating bay windows and walls of irregular shapes, this complexity almost always arises. There are two ways out of the situation: either bend the panel itself, or provide the required turn of the corner element. Unlike siding lamellas, the panel has a long fold line, it can be bent only with the participation of two or more people, warming up with a hair dryer on both sides. It is easier to deform the corner element, you just need to cut the ribs on the back.
Facade connection and ebb installation
The final stage of finishing is pairing with facade finishing. If siding is also used as the latter, then the simplest option would be to bring the cladding into a common plane through the H-profile. The only thing that can prevent this is too big a difference between the planes of the basement and the wall: here you will either have to increase the thickness of the insulation in the upper belt, or install an ebb.
The latter can act as a product from the assortment of accessories for a certain collection of siding (for example, J-chamfer), or roofing iron – sheet steel with polymer protection. Ebb elements, in extreme cases, are made individually, this method is well suited for uneven protrusion of the basement beyond the plane of the main finish. There is nothing tricky in this version of the ebb device – the L-shaped ridge with the upper rolled edge and the lower Z-shaped edge just bends.
It is only important that the ebb is attached under the lower part of the wall decoration, thus, the plinth trim must be carried out before the start of the façade improvement work.