Glazing methods for loggias and balconies

Initially, balconies and loggias were conceived so that people have easy access to fresh air. However, today almost all loggias and most of the balconies are glazed. There are more than enough reasons for glazing a loggia or balcony: this is both the desire to expand the useful area of ​​the apartment, and the desire to improve heat conservation, as well as a number of other technical or psychological motives.

An open area is called a balcony, which adjoins the outer wall on one side, and on the rest it is closed with a fence at least 1 m high.Loggia is a platform surrounded by walls on three sides and a fence on only one side.

The popularity of glazing of loggias and balconies has led to the fact that in the capital today, glazing of loggias and balconies is initially included in housing projects. The volume of glazing of loggias and balconies is estimated by specialists at 35 – 40% of the total volume of translucent structures.

You can glaze a balcony or loggia in different ways

The first way. Ordinary glazing – installation on the balcony of frames (metal, wood, plastic) with glasses inserted into them (ordinary, tinted, stained glass, etc.). Such glazing will slightly muffle street noise and raise the temperature in the “room” by 2 – 3 degrees. As a result, instead of the usual balcony, a glazed space is obtained – a veranda.

Second way. Euroglazing is a better and more reliable, but also more expensive way of improving the balcony. The concept of “Euroglass” includes:

  • installation of an imported window profile;
  • selection and installation of glass (sometimes double-glazed windows);
  • sealing the room with special foam or other sealant (the gaps between the frames and the walls are filled). A well-executed sealing not only prevents moisture from penetrating through the gaps onto the balcony, but also improves thermal insulation; applying powder paint to aluminum profiles. The paint additionally protects the structure from atmospheric influences, and at the same time decorates it;
  • internal cladding of the balcony (made at the request of the customer), various materials are used – plastic, wooden lining, plastic panels, etc..
  • The balcony after the Euro-glazing is more comfortable and beautiful, but not warm. And if there is a desire and an opportunity to make an additional room from the balcony, you need to insulate it.

    Third way. Combination of Euro-glazing with various types of special insulation. The procedure will lead to serious construction work and transformations, because warmth and dryness can be achieved here only by making the walls and floor warm..

    Therefore, in addition to glazing, this requires:

  • lay insulation around the entire perimeter of the balcony, as well as on the floor and ceiling;
  • make waterproofing;
  • to clad the walls and ceiling with a suitable material (according to taste and capabilities);
  • decide the question: will the balcony be heated, and if so, in what way;
  • conduct lighting;
  • if the size of the balcony and the structure of the house allows, it is possible to build additional internal walls (for example, from foam concrete or “light” bricks). They will “eat” part of the space, but the room will become much warmer.
  • It should be borne in mind that it is strictly forbidden to take steam heating pipes to the balcony, therefore, you will have to use other methods for heating – installing a warm floor (a special electric heating system that works on the principle of an electric heating pad), installing an electric fireplace and other local heating devices (radiator, air heater or air conditioner ).

    The variety of types of glazing of balconies and loggias is amazing, here are some of them:

    Glazing with light wooden frames.
    Improved quality wooden frame glazing.
    Steel glazing (trolleybus version).
    Aluminum glazing (domestic profile).
    Sliding aluminum glazing (imported profile).
    PVC glazing.
    Frameless glazing.
    Glazing with light wooden frames.

    This list contains options for glazing balconies and loggias that can be called industrial. We do not consider the options that were encountered in Soviet times, when, due to the shortage of everything and everyone, including construction services, the citizens of the country managed to invent the most incredible ways of glazing balconies and loggias from any available material..

    In the recent past, glazing of balconies and loggias with light wooden frames was the most popular type of glazing. However, it is not the most reliable, because any wood begins to rot over time. Wood decay preservatives slightly extend the life of the frames, but they are only really effective indoors. The impact of an aggressive external environment instantly destroys any hint of the presentation of such a balcony glazing.
    Without exaggeration, after a year or two, an uninitiated person may get the impression that you glazed the balcony 20 years ago. And after 5, sometimes 10 years, the whole structure will be held on parole. If industrial window blocks were widely used for this glazing, it would not be so bad. But, alas, reality shows that the quality of the work of many self-made firms, and the “Zhekov” masters who undertook to cheat, is approximately identical.

    The main drawback is that the quality of the wood does not stand up to criticism. Because of this, the sash, if not immediately after installation, then at least after a while, begins to “lead”. Not only do they poorly close and open, but also cracks appear. Such glazing will necessarily “flow” over time. It is also unpleasant that almost always the frames, due to their insufficient strength, “play”, that is, when open, they slightly sag under the weight of the glass. Surprisingly, some craftsmen still offer glazing made of uncut wood. But on the other hand, the price is appropriate, in general, such glazing is better than none. Moreover, the tree is an environmentally friendly material (if not cut down in the Chernobyl forest). When placing an order for glazing with light wooden frames, strictly specify the size and placement of the opening sashes. Require frames and other parts to be made only of planed wood and dried. Check the thickness of the glass. For wooden frames, it is optimal if it is 4 mm. But some “especially economical” offer to install 3 mm glass. The degree of wood drying is difficult to determine on the fly, so you have to rely on luck.

    Improved quality wooden frame glazing

    In this version, it is much more efficient, the problem of heat preservation is solved. It should be noted that heat “leaks” through the windows in two main directions (as it decreases):
    1 – Slots.
    2 – Glass.

    Let’s make a reservation right away that the choice of the material from which the frames and the box are made does not significantly affect heat transfer. Of course, the heat transfer coefficient of materials such as wood and metal differs at times, but the surface area that the frames and the box “cover” is very insignificant in relation to the glazing area. Therefore, the quality of the frames according to the criterion of thermal protection is determined not so much by the material as by the quality of workmanship, the accuracy of the “fit” and, as a result, the absence of cracks. This option uses only factory frames. Fitted to the box, they are usually flawless, it is not possible to visually detect cracks. It remains only to solve the problem of heat “leakage” through the glass. Double-glazed windows in the practice of balcony glazing with wooden frames, as a rule, are not used, since the frames are very massive and, most importantly, incomparably expensive. Therefore, either double frames or frames with double glass are installed. But, alas, the frames and the box turn out to be very massive and when installed on the balcony fence, they look like an elephant in a china shop. In addition, no matter what the balcony fence is made of, no matter how you insulate it, its heat transfer coefficient will never be equal to the heat transfer coefficient of a capital outer wall.

    It will cost $ 400-450 to glaze the balcony with wooden frames of improved quality (without finishing, but with a window sill, visor and ebb) in a house of the P44 series (~ 6 sq. M.). Maybe $ 350, but this is already suspicious, and if $ 300 and below, then “the best quality” is not worth remembering.

    Steel glazing (trolleybus version)

    This variant is colloquially called “trolleybus”, and the name is very accurate. The structure is made of iron and is attached to the balcony by welding. Glass – rounded, edged with rubber seals. The construction is very solid. But there are drawbacks. Iron rusts. It is necessary to follow it, that is, to skin and paint. The locking devices on the flaps resemble those on industrial refrigerators, and they sometimes break. Some firms instead of them immediately put latches.

    This type of glazing keeps the heat worse than any other one presented (imagine that you are riding in a tram in winter, in which the heating is turned off). Also, this type of glazing is the darkest. The ratio of the area of ​​glass to the area of ​​the entire glazing is the lowest of all presented. There are no comrades in taste and color, and the external appearance of this glazing may seem spectacular. But the inside view is much less aesthetic.

    Glazing a balcony in the “trolleybus” style (without decoration, but with a window sill, visor and ebb) in a house of the P44 series (~ 6 sq. M.) Will cost ~ $ 400 (plus or minus 10-15%).

    So, we examined the options for the so-called conventional glazing. Now let’s consider the most modern option for protecting loggias and balconies – Euroglazing.

    To make it light…

    Glazing of loggias with the help of an aluminum profile has become widespread. Aluminum profile is 7 times stronger than wood, 2.3 times stronger than PVC. Fireproof, does not crack, does not curl, does not oxidize. Aluminum frames look very aesthetically pleasing on balconies, both old houses and new buildings..

    This is the so-called cold glazing: a profile without insulating gaskets is used between the outer and inner layers of metal (“cold aluminum”) and single glass (usually M1 boron glass 5mm thick). The design can be sliding (sliding) and swing. Hinged glazing is structurally more complicated and requires more expensive components, therefore it turns out to be almost twice as expensive as sliding glazing. For example, in the same company sliding glazing with Spanish Provedal profiles costs $ 75 per square meter, and swing glazing with Provedal profiles – already $ 135. The quality of glazing largely depends on the structural merits of the profile and the quality of installation. If we exclude various self-made options, then in Moscow two systems are most often found: the Vidnovsky profile and the Spanish Provedal system. As for the profile itself, in both cases the profile is made in Russia, although it is called imported. The plant buys a license, a matrix and produces the above profile. Sometimes a similar Provedal profile is sold by manufacturers at an extremely low price – from $ 60 per frame. However, according to experts, the quality of frames from such a profile can and should be questioned.

    It is distinguished by two systems of rollers, locks, handles, seals. Provedal uses roller bearings only, which guarantees smooth running and long service life. In the Vidnov version, rollers are installed without bearings, which complicates the movement of the flaps, leads to rapid wear and may even cause jamming. Locks in Provedal are provided by designers, they are easy to use, easy to close and open from the inside, and they cannot be opened from the outside. In this case, the locks organically fit into the design. In the Vidnov system, locks are not structurally provided at all. However, today I often install Provedal fittings into the Vidnov profile. By itself, the hardware of the Spanish manufacturer is of high quality, but installed on a domestic profile, it causes a lot of criticism from consumers. By the way, the sellers themselves are aware of this, therefore they give a short-term warranty for such “international” products – one year. In Provedal, rubber is of a special type: it does not wear out over time, does not suffer from frost, does not emit a characteristic odor in the heat. In addition, unlike the Vidnov profile, in the products of the Provedal trademark, a felt seal is installed around the entire perimeter, at the joints, and also closes all the rails.

    Balconies and loggias, glazed with aluminum profiles, transmit light well and protect the balcony from wind and precipitation. Already in early spring, the temperature allows them to take out indoor flowers and seedlings on a sunny day, and in summer, for example, to grow a good harvest of cucumbers and tomatoes. For these purposes, sliding structures are preferable, since they do not “eat up space”. The small width of the profile, the ability to choose a profile of a discreet, for example, silver color, allows you to make yourself a balcony, which, when viewed from the street, will favorably differ from both red-haired wooden balconies and overly bright white plastic.

    The disadvantages of sliding structures, in addition to weak thermal insulation of a balcony or loggia, include the fact that the bearing lower guide is not sufficiently protected from precipitation. If at the same time there are no holes for water outlet to the outside, the movement of the flaps may be difficult. It is believed that the use of plain glass, not tempered or reinforced glass, can be very dangerous in the event of accidents, disasters and natural disasters. However, tempered and reinforced glass, due to its high cost, is used in their production by no more than 1% of domestic firms.
    Glazing a loggia (without finishing, but with a window sill, visor and ebb) with a Provedal system with dimensions of 3m by 1.5m will cost ~ 480 USD. (plus or minus 10-15%), Vidnov profile ~ 450 cu. (plus or minus 10-15%)

    To keep it warm…

    PVC windows have an excellent reputation in Russia. But for balcony glazing, PVC frames are very bulky, so manufacturers offer special balcony frames. They are generally sliding, hence also at risk. They do not have all the advantages of PVC window frames..

    However, if you want to turn the loggia into a small room, having carried out a whole range of thermal insulation works, it makes sense to put exactly PVC thermal profiles with double glazing. Of course, the profile itself will not provide high thermal insulation of the structure, because, as we have already noted, the main heat losses go through the enclosing structures and glass. Usually for PVC glazing of a loggia, it is enough to use a three-chamber profile and a single-chamber double-glazed window. This will make the loggia a pleasant place to relax, and the room adjacent to it will become noticeably warmer. True, it will somewhat restrict the access of natural light to this room due to the width of the PVC profile, a large number of doors and two or three glass panes. It is possible to install PVC glazing frames only on concrete or brick fencing due to the significant weight of the structure. When planning the number and type of flaps, it should be borne in mind that flaps that open in a pivoting way should not be wide, so as not to “eat up” the already not too large usable area of ​​the balcony when open. The arrangement of the opening flaps should be such that it is possible to wash the outer surfaces of the blind flaps without risk to life. A large number of sash opening in one or two ways increases the cost of glazing. It is very difficult to bring even an approximate price for one square meter of PVC-glazed balcony, since the cost of options fluctuates within fairly wide limits.

    PVC glazing, in addition to the obvious practical use, will complement and decorate the interior of your apartment. However, it should be remembered that it will also significantly affect the overall appearance of the facade of the house. This point should be taken into account, despite the fact that the metropolitan authorities turn a blind eye to the inconsistency in the glazing of the balconies, which, in truth, disfigure the face of the city. Depending on how many doors and how they will open (starting with four swing and two fixed doors and ending with the option when all six swing open, and two of them also open in a folding way), a square meter of glazing can cost from 120 cu. e. The configuration of the windows also affects the price, the narrower they are, the more expensive. So, to glaze a balcony (without finishing, but with a window sill, visor and ebb) in a house of the P44 series (~ 6 sq. M.) Will cost ~ $ 800 USD (plus or minus 10-15%).

    To make it comfortable…

    The most progressive today is frameless glazing. It will protect you from the cold and from outsiders entering through the balcony. It looks like a solid glass wall, since it has no frames or uprights. It does not destroy the architect’s intention in old and elite buildings and does not exacerbate the diversity of facades of ordinary apartment buildings. The structure is based on aluminum profiles running along the perimeter of the balcony or loggia opening. The top and bottom profiles serve as guides for the all-glass sash. Moreover, the upper profile is load-bearing. Its two built-in shelves carry a double roller mechanism carrying the sash. The glass for the sashes is especially durable – as a rule, tempered boron glass of the M 6 grade with a thickness of 6 mm. The maximum possible height of such flaps is 2m 10cm. In cases where higher sashes are required, glass with a thickness of 8 mm is used, since the sash windage increases. It is especially important to take care of the strength of the glass when glazing balconies on upper floors, where they experience high wind loads. Along the edges of a balcony or loggia, the shifted doors fold into their space, like sheets of a large glass book.

    As such, they can be wiped off while staying at a safe distance from the edge of the balcony railing. The sliding mechanisms of the sash are reliably protected from moisture penetration by means of visors and ebbs, as well as water-repellent grease. However, the structure itself, by definition, is not completely airtight. Street air will enter the balcony or loggia through small cracks, so this system does not have additional thermal insulation. It is necessary to re-treat the guides and roller mechanisms with silicone spray once a year. The manufacturer gives a two-year warranty for frameless glazing and during this free period it will carry out preventive lubrication and teach you how to do it yourself. For the same purpose, you can use grease for locks WD-40 familiar to motorists. The cost of frameless glazing is higher than that of aluminum. The price per square meter, depending on the glazing system, is $ 180-250, of which 25% falls on the installation of the product.

    Finishing balconies and loggias

    Euro lining and Euro floor are the most popular materials for finishing balconies. At domestic enterprises (Petrozavodsk, Arkhangelsk, etc.) they are produced using imported equipment, usually German. Lining and floorboards differ in thickness and profile. Both Europol and Euro-lining are divided into classes according to their quality characteristics. “A”, “B” and “C”.

    Class “C”:
    Lowest quality. The boards do not fit snugly together. Substandard may come across. Rotten knots and cracks are common. Such products are only suitable for decorating a barn or something similar, and even then not always.

    Class “B”:
    The boards fit tightly enough to each other. Dried. There should be no cracks, but rotten knots can sometimes get caught.

    Class “A”:
    The boards fit perfectly together. Perfectly dried. Knots come across much less often than in the previous class, but not rotten. The tree pattern is pleasing to the eye.

    Note that every year the popularity of a new type of decoration of loggias and balconies with plastic panels, which in common people are called plastic clapboard, is growing in popularity. Customers usually prefer white plastic products with a width of 10cm. Sometimes you can hear that plastic panels under the influence of the sun begin to emit a smell or “fade”, but this criticism is absolutely not justified. For that, this finishing material has a lot of advantages. First, an attractive appearance, and second, durability. Thirdly, plastic panels retain heat better than their wooden counterparts. And finally, plastic panels are much easier to care for than wood panels..

    Electric heating device for balconies and loggias

    Wall heating panels EIMT are used as a heating element, power – from 250 to 400 W, area from 0.5 to 1 sq. M., Thickness – 20 mm, degree of protection – 1, protection class IP67, warranty period of 10 years. The panel is a sandwich, on the back side there is a heat-reflecting insulation, the front side is a smooth metal sheet, painted in any color with powder paints, in the center there is an electric heating element. Another embodiment is a “warm floor” device with replacement of the outer metal sheet for facing with ceramic tiles. It is possible to install a front surface temperature controller with an adjustment range from 0 to 50 C, as well as a set of devices for automatically maintaining the set temperature in the room. Thanks to a modern patented design, energy savings (up to 25%), absolute electrical fire safety and durability are achieved.

    Buyer’s corner

    In conclusion, we note that the choice of a company that will perform glazing in your house must be approached carefully and prudently. Unfortunately, to determine the real cost of glazing a balcony or loggia, it is quite difficult to use the declared price of one square meter..

    Often the figure given by the manager of the company, multiplied by the required glazing area, is not the final cost of the order. It is necessary to add to it the cost of interior decoration of the balcony, the cost of strengthening the balcony fence, since the main burden of the structure will fall on it. In addition, manufacturers often indicate the cost of only frames in their advertisements, while fittings, visors, ebbs, window sills, the cost of which is quite tangible, are calculated later. Of course, in pursuit of a lower price, an unscrupulous company can offer you glazing without additional elements, but such “half glazing” does not completely fulfill its functions. And after installing the frames, visors and ebbs, unfortunately, are no longer possible to install. Beware of companies that call different prices in the course of their work: one on the phone, the second when measuring, and in the end the third. The final cost of the work is known to the company after measurement.

    And finally, about guarantees. The warranty for installation work is usually provided for a year, less often for two. But the frame warranty depends on how confident the company is in the products it offers. For example, for the well-proven Provedal profile, some companies give a 5-year warranty.

    Carried away by the ideas of transforming our homes, full of creative plans, we sometimes forget about the most important thing – about the safety and legitimacy of our actions. A balcony or loggia in our house is not only a place to rest or store food, but also a way to evacuate people from an apartment in the event of a fire, and this way must be free. If you want to do everything according to the rules, keep this in mind, what the manufacturers would write in their advertising.

    Material prepared by Vitaly Lvova
    The editors are grateful to the “Imteks” company for the materials provided (more about the company).

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