- Questions that need to be resolved before starting work on the insulation of the loggia
- Preparation of a loggia (balcony) for insulation
- Loggia glazing
- Insulation of the loggia floor
- Insulation of the walls and ceiling of the loggia – the initial stage
- Electrician on the loggia
- Insulation of the walls and ceiling of the loggia – continue
- Finishing of walls, ceiling and floor
In this article, we will take a closer look at the process of warming a loggia or balcony. We will touch on the issues that arise before the start of work on insulation, we will decide on the method and materials, we will talk about laying electrical wiring.
Apartments with additional space, which is a loggia or balcony room, have a greater advantage in the eyes of apartment owners without these premises. But how are these very loggias and balconies used? In summer, you can put a light table and armchairs there, breathe fresh air, or just pull on the clothesline and dry the washed things. With the onset of the first cold weather, balconies and loggias become a place for storing various unnecessary belongings, with the first frosts they allow you to do without a refrigerator and store perishable food without problems. But after all, square meters of living space are expensive today – why do we forget about “ownerless” premises that can simply be converted into living rooms using modern insulation materials? Without delaying until “tomorrow” we start to warm the loggia and the balcony – the guide in this article.
Questions that need to be resolved before starting work on the insulation of the loggia
First of all, you need to decide on the purpose of the future insulated room, whether it will be a study, a nursery, or, for example, a room for sports training. To a large extent, this choice will depend on the size of the loggia, to a greater extent on its width – if it is less than one and a half meters, then it will be too narrow for a study. The purpose of using the insulated loggia in the future depends on the layout of the wiring, positions and number of electrical outlets, lighting devices.
Important: completely abandon the idea of combining a loggia and an adjacent room by removing part of the wall between them!
This is the outer wall of the building, which means it is load-bearing, no additional expansion of the opening in it, except, possibly, removing the frame and the door frame (if the loggia is behind the kitchen) is absolutely impossible to make! News channels periodically publish reports of partial destruction of entire entrances in multi-storey residential buildings due to the fact that the owner of one of the apartments intended to increase living space by demolishing part of the load-bearing wall – do not even think about it!
The reason why the loggias are seriously freezing in winter is due to the large glazing area of this room – after all, it was designed by architects for a clothes dryer, and not for living quarters. It would seem that what is difficult here – to lay part of the window opening with brickwork or facade plasterboard with a layer of insulation between its panels and the problem is solved. But not everything is so simple – from the point of view of the official state bodies, the reduction of the glazing area of the loggia is an interference with the architectural appearance of the building, which means that it is not allowed. Glazing of the balcony is another matter, it is allowed, since it reduces the risk of fire from an accidental cigarette butt from the upper floors. In recent years, the supervisory government agencies have not responded in any way to these very interventions in the “architectural appearance”, but this does not mean that they will continue not to pay attention – it is better not to make serious changes in the existing glazing of the loggia. Heat loss through the glazing of the loggia can be significantly reduced by installing modern double-glazed windows and carefully sealing the joints between new window frames, as well as frames and adjacent walls.
It is necessary to think over the heating of the loggia – if, after insulation, this room will be used as a full-fledged room in which a person is present for a long time, then you cannot do without it. The idea of installing a heating battery powered from a central system on the loggia is tempting, but this is prohibited by municipal legislation. The reason for the ban is as follows – when designing the building and its heating system, the loggias were not taken into account, therefore, the installation of a heating battery in these rooms will lead to a shortage of temperature in the system for heating other apartments. As you can see, this is not at all about the theft of heat and your attempts to include the area of the loggia in the total heated area of the apartment are guaranteed to be rejected by all authorities. Installation of a water radiator on a loggia is allowed only if your apartment has an individual heating system, that is, it is heated from a boiler installed in it. There remains only the option of heating the loggia with electric heaters – infrared, convection or using an electric underfloor heating.
Preparation of a loggia (balcony) for insulation
At this stage, the room of the loggia is completely freed from everything that is folded in it – after cleaning it should become completely empty. The existing single-glazed timber frames must then be removed as they will need to be replaced with modern ones. If the balcony has a metal fence, it must be cut off (a grinder is required), instead of the old parapet, lay out a new one, made of light ceramic bricks or foam blocks. The new parapet can be brought out a little higher than the old railing, but not excessively – change the “architectural look”. Completely remove the flooring of the loggia, if it is made with tiles, you can leave it by cutting out part of the tile under the output of the brick parapet.
Measure the dimensions of the free opening above the parapet, and you need to remove them using a building level – at the same heights on opposite sides, there may be a serious horizontal difference, that is, opposite points can be at different heights from the horizontal floor level. Measure the angles and take measurements from each of the walls, ceiling and floor, draw up a drawing with these dimensions – useful.
Depending on the purposes of insulation and temperatures of the cold season, new frames can be with one glass or with double-glazed windows of two or three glasses with a heat-reflecting film inside. The frames themselves can be aluminum, wood or plastic reinforced from the inside with a galvanized metal profile.
Measurements and recommendations on the glazing of the loggia will be given to you by the measurer of the opening for the glazing, he will also perform all the measurements – take into account at least one window in the total glazing area for ventilating the insulated loggia in the future.
Warn the measurer that you need free areas vertically between the outer frames and the wall about 70 mm wide on each side, that is, the frames on the sides of the glazed opening should not be located close to the walls. Subsequent insulation of the walls of the loggia will require attaching a layer of insulation, a metal profile or a wooden beam to them and subsequent finishing cladding, so the walls will move slightly inside the loggia – if you install double-glazed windows close to the walls, then the side profiles of the frames will be “recessed” into the wall to be insulated. In the free areas between the frames and the wall, a timber will be installed and two layers of thermal insulation (before and after the timber) will be laid.
In the process of installing new glazing, ask the performers to install a cover strip from the outside – a special plastic tape, its width can be from 30 to 70 mm. And one more thing – despite the adhesive layer on the back of the cover strip, you should fix it to the frame with short self-tapping screws with a step of 500 mm, because over time the glue will dry out and the cover strip will certainly fall behind.
Insulation of the loggia floor
There are two main ways to do this: lay the insulation directly on the floor, lay the base covering on top; put logs, on top of them insulation and a rough base of the floor, on top – the main coating. If it is possible to simplify the task and not to raise the floor on wooden logs – we lay only roofing material, glue its joints with a sealing tape and, if the floor height permits to the threshold of the loggia door, we lay the base of the floor from chipboard or OSB-plates, impregnated with linseed oil and further drying. In this case, we will not lay insulation, since there is no place for it.
As a heat and vapor barrier in the process of insulating a loggia or balcony, Penofol or Penoplex are most often used, the first insulation consists of foamed polyethylene, the second – of extruded polystyrene foam. Possessing good thermal insulation characteristics, easy to use and practically waste-free, both of these materials are not recommended for use in residential premises. The reasons are as follows: despite the declared flammability classes, for which these heaters do not burn and do not support combustion, their manufacturers are bending their hearts at the same time – Penofol and Penoplex smolder perfectly, emitting a significant amount of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. It is better to protect the residents of the apartment and the whole house as much as possible from such consequences of fire, using only a mineral wool-based insulation.
So, for the flooring of the insulated floor on the loggia, we need: roofing material, which is enough to cover the floor area of the loggia with a small overlap on the walls; a roll of self-adhesive tape-sealant such as “Guerlain”; wooden beam 50 mm wide for setting logs; rolled mineral wool with a thickness of 50 mm; flooring for the base of the floor (chipboard sheets, OSB 20 mm thick); finished covered floors (linoleum, laminate).
The floor surface is cleaned of debris and dust, roofing material is laid on top of it in one layer. The joints between the sheets of roofing material, between the roofing material and the adjacent wall are covered with a self-adhesive sealant tape. On top of the roofing material, logs are installed with a step of 500 mm, the timber for them is selected with the height that will allow the plane of the new floor to be brought to the level of the door threshold. When determining the height of the timber for the logs, take into account: the thickness of roofing material (usually 5 mm), the thickness of the slabs under the base of the floor, the thickness of the finished floor covering.
The logs are set at the building level, interconnected by bars of a smaller thickness. At this stage, you should not fasten the logs with high quality – their structure will have to be disassembled for processing from decay. To obtain a perfectly horizontal floor surface, you will need to substitute small support boards under the logs; they should not be fixed to the floor, since the roofing material will be damaged. In the design of some balconies, the slabs that form the floor slope towards the side of the fence to remove rainwater – differences of up to 90 mm are possible horizontally between the inside and outside of the floor slab. Consider this when setting lags.
After bringing the upper plane formed by the lags to a horizontal level, it is necessary to disassemble the entire structure and treat the bar with oxol linseed oil to protect it from decay. After waiting for the drying oil layer applied with a paint brush to completely dry, we collect the logs again, this time it is necessary to fasten them together with the greatest care. Plates selected for the base of the floor also need to be coated with a layer of drying oil on both sides and on all ends..
After finishing the treatment with linseed oil, drying and setting the lags, we proceed to laying the mineral wool insulation, for which it needs to be cut into blocks according to the size of the compartments between the installed lags. Mineral wool is easily cut with an ordinary carpentry saw, in the process of working with it you need to put on a bandage or a respirator – small particles of mineral wool will break off and rise into the air when cutting and laying.
At the next stage after laying the insulation, the base plates are installed on the logs, attached to them with self-tapping screws for wood. Further work on flooring at this stage is stopped – first, it is necessary to complete the insulation and finishing work of the ceiling and walls. The surface of the rough base of the floor for the time of work with the ceiling and walls is covered with two layers of PVC film, fixed along the contour with masking tape.
Insulation of the walls and ceiling of the loggia – the initial stage
Inspect the surfaces of the ceiling and walls for cracks and falling away plaster, tiles, tile, embroider all fragile seams, then fill them with polyurethane foam, seal them over with sealant tape. The next step is to install a wooden beam with a section of 40×50 mm (pre-treated with linseed oil) on the walls and ceiling. The beam is exposed across the walls and ceiling with a step of 500 mm, the beginning of the installation is at the junction of the planes of the ceiling and walls, that is, at the interface, the beam is attached both to the ceiling and to the wall, close to each other. Self-tapping screws for concrete with a pitch of 300 mm are used to fasten the timber.
At this, work on the walls and ceiling is temporarily stopped – then it is the turn of the electrician.
Electrician on the loggia
As a rule, the old wiring of the loggia is represented by a 2×1.5 aluminum wire in a common braid, designed for a simple lamp in one 100 W lamp. For a full-fledged living space, such wiring is not suitable at all – we will pull a new one. First, you need to find out where the wiring box is located in the room closest to the loggia – this issue should be clarified by the electrician of the local housing office or you should get a wiring diagram in your apartment in this office. If for some reason you do not want to contact the housing office, then you can stretch a new wiring from the nearest electrical outlet to the loggia, piercing a channel from it to the wall between the loggia and the room, then drill a hole through this wall. For a detailed description of this process, see our article..
For wiring to the loggia, you can use an aluminum cable, for example, APPV 2×2.5 or 3×2.5, if grounding is assumed (in residential buildings, most often there is no grounding). You can use a copper cable VVG 2×1.5 – it will be better. The electrical cable must be laid in a PVC corrugated hose, designed to completely prevent ignition from short circuits. Accordingly, the channel for laying the cable must have sufficient width and depth to accommodate the corrugated hose (a corrugated hose with a diameter of 16 mm is suitable for one cable). In turn, the drilled hole in the wall to the loggia should contain a metal tube through which, according to the rules for performing electrical wiring, the cable is passed to the loggia.
At the exit from the hole into the room of the loggia, the cable is again threaded into the corrugated hose and inserted into the tuso-wiring box for the indoor installation – the place for it is determined and prepared in advance, for its fixing it is necessary to install a wooden mortgage (a plank of sufficient size), fix it to the wooden crate. It is most convenient to put the soldering box on the wall separating the loggia from the living room adjacent to it, 250 mm from the existing ceiling (without insulation and decoration). A corrugated hose with an electric cable inside is threaded between the wall and the bar attached to it, if necessary, holes are drilled slightly larger than the diameter of the corrugated hose at the places where the bar and the wall fit. Holes are drilled in the embedded plates for the output of the electrical cable. Decide on the places of installation of electrical outlets and switches, the place of installation of the lamp (lamps), a heater hung on the wall – at each point of installation of electrical installation products and electrical appliances fixed to the wall, it is required to install mortgages to which these electrical appliances will be attached in turn.
The cable at the places of installation of wiring accessories and in the junction boxes is brought out to a greater length than is actually necessary – by 70 mm, which will allow in the future to replace the electrical appliance if necessary. In no case should the bare ends of the wiring go beyond the wiring accessories and junction boxes!
Important: all switches and sockets mounted on an insulated loggia should be external installation only.
Important: make the connections of the electrical cable supplying power from the living quarters to the loggia with cables that distribute power to sockets and switches in the junction box only through the DIN rail of the terminal block – no twists!
After finishing the installation of the electrical wiring, turn off the general power supply of the apartment and connect the wiring of the loggia in the junction box of the living room or in the outlet to which the channel was pierced. Any connection (junction box or socket) is made via a terminal block (DIN rail). Please note that direct contact of copper and aluminum cables during twisting will cause heating of the aluminum wire, which can lead to fire – the mediation of a terminal block with steel contacts will exclude heating and the threat of fire. Use the terminal block in any case, even if the wiring of the apartment is completely made of copper cable. If there is no DIN-rail in the old junction box in the room, purchase and connect the electrical cables through it.
So, all the work on laying the wiring to the loggia is completed – we turn on the power supply to the apartment and make sure that all wiring accessories have power. Next, we close up the gutted channel in the living room and again start to warm the loggia.
Insulation of the walls and ceiling of the loggia – continue
We return to the insulation of the walls and ceiling of the loggia. The bar is already fixed, there is a queue for laying mineral wool and vapor barrier, you will need a knitting wire. We cut the mineral wool into blocks in width equal to the sections between the timber on the walls and ceiling, we start laying it from the ceiling – we need an assistant. Of the tools, you need a construction stapler with 12 mm staples – we attach the end of the knitting wire to the edge of the bar with them, we lay the insulation and hold it with a wire, bringing it out between two adjacent wooden bars in a zigzag manner, fixing each sharp corner with a staple from the stapler. Having finished laying the insulation on the ceiling, we turn to the outer walls – the wall between the loggia and the living room does not need to be insulated, because it is already “warm”, but the timber is attached to it in the same way as to the outer walls. Therefore, try to place wiring accessories on this particular wall – it will not need to be insulated and covered with a vapor barrier film, which means that there will be no difficulties with placing the insulation under the insert plate for an electrical outlet or switch.
A vapor barrier film must be placed on top of the insulation, slightly pulled and fixed – it must be applied to the surface, fixed on the upper bar and further along the perimeter of the walls (ceiling). The installation of the film should be started from the plane of the ceiling. In the areas where the walls and ceiling meet, it is necessary to overlap the film fixed to the walls – by about 50 mm. In those places where wiring accessories are located, the film is slightly cut and tightened around the cable that goes to the product, that is, the electrical cable is pushed through it.
Important: the installation of a vapor barrier film is mandatory, otherwise the wooden beam will rot, and the mineral wool will sag under the influence of moisture penetrating in the form of steam from the room. Water vapor will be generated due to the high pressure inside the room and will be attracted to the outer walls, the partial pressure outside of which is lower due to the lower temperature of the cold season.
Finishing of walls, ceiling and floor
Walls and ceilings can be finished with various coatings – plastic or MDF panels, plasterboard or clapboard. As a floor covering, you can use laminate, linoleum or save money and simply cover the base of the floor with two layers of varnish or paint.
The finishing cladding should start from the ceiling, then the flooring is done, and only then the wall cladding. After installing the floor covering, its entire surface should be covered with PVC foil again to protect it from damage during wall cladding. A hole is cut in the wall covering in the installation area of the tuso-wiring box, in the places where the wiring accessories are installed, only holes for the electrical cable are cut out – I remind you that all sockets and switches must be outdoor installation, that is, protruding completely above the plane of the wall covering.
At the end of the sheathing of the external walls of the loggia, the sockets and switches are connected to the cable that supplies power to them and mounted in their places.
Insulation of the loggia ends with the installation of a plinth and, in the case of sheathing with plastic or MDF panels, butt strips on all edges and corners formed by wall and ceiling coverings.
If you intend to replace the existing loggia door with a new one, then its installation must be carried out before laying the logs or the base of the floor and before installing the timber on the walls.