Though winter is not coming yet, it’s high time to think about the cold season beforehand. Winterize your balcony now, in order to make it a place you can enjoy throughout the year.
External Balcony Winterization: Pros & Cons.
+ The external method of winterization does not require you to free up the balcony space. In difficult cases, when the materials cannot be supplied from the outside for some reasons (an inconvenient storey, a parking lot beneath the balcony, etc.), you only need to vacate only a part of the balcony interior, so that the materials can be given to the climber through the window.
+ External winterization does not eat up any valuable interior space.
+ The dew point remains outside the interior; therefore you will observe no water condensate inside.
– The external design and decorative properties of your balcony facade change (though in some cases it is an advantage).
– Balcony winterization by the external method cannot be performed when the weather is nasty (strong wind, sub-zero temperature, snow, rain, etc.).
– External winterization is more expensive. This is true in regard to both the price for facade materials and the cost of work (as a rule, you’ll need industrial climbers to winterize your balcony on the external side).
– The materials used for external winterization will require renovation in time, because they will be exposed to adverse weather conditions.
– External winterization is much more time-consuming that the interior method.
Internal Balcony Winterization: Pros & Cons.
+ This method does not affect the external decorative appearance of the balcony, which is good in case you’re not allowed or don’t want to drastically change the facade.
+ The winterization works can be performed any time, regardless of the weather outside (even when it’s frosty).
+ The external interpretation works are not expensive, because you can hire not an industrial climber but a regular home renovation expert. If you have the skills, you can even winterize the balcony on your own, without hiring a professional.
+ The amount of materials required for interior winterization is smaller in comparison with the external type; moreover, they’re usually less expensive.
+ The internal winterization layer of materials is not exposed to weather; therefore, it’s more low-wearing.
+ The time frame of the works is minimal.
– For the idea of internal winterization to become possible, you need to get every interior item out of the balcony and prepare the walls.
– The area of the balcony is reduced by at least 2 inches on each side, which may require you to change the interior design.
– The greatest disadvantage is the fact that the dew point is shifted to the interior, which may result in emergence of water condensate and fungus.
Double-Sided Balcony Winterization.
Double-sided winterization of a balcony is possible, but not always reasonable. Application of this method makes sense in cases where the home-owner wants a decently thick layer of heat insulation material without a significant reduction of the interior space. From the point of view of energy efficiency, it is non-essential whether the layer of winterization materials fully covers a side of the balcony (internal or external) or interrupted in thickness. Worth noting, double-sided winterization requires the presence of a vapor-proof barrier on the internal side.
General Requirements To Winterization Materials.
The material used for winterization (especially external) is destinies to exposure to extreme conditions. Therefore, the US home-owner must pay attention to their properties, the most important of which are:
- durability and resistance to mechanical impacts;
- resistance to moisture;
- aesthetic, eye-appealing appearance;
- resistance to fading as a result of exposure to adverse weather conditions and direct sunlight;
- resistance to wear resulting from chemical, meteorological and other factors;
- fire resistance;
- easy care and maintenance.
Popular Heat Insulation & Winterization Materials.
A vast variety of insulants suitable for balcony winterization is offered by the contemporary market of construction and home renovation materials. The list below includes the insulation means widely used in the USA and UK:
- Extruded polystyrene foam (also known as XPS foam) is a dense and durable material characterized by resistance to moisture and low thermal conductivity. Balcony winterization with the help of XPS foam is a good solution leading to improved thermal insulation of your apartment.
- Foamed plastic is a dense insulant distinguished by very low thermal conductivity. It’s a lightweight, low-cost material.
- Stone wool and mineral cotton are soft materials that ensure a decent level of heat insulation due to their fibrous structure. Their chaotically interwoven fibers contain air, which prevents loss of heat. If you intend to use stone or mineral wool for the purpose of thermal insulation of your balcony, you’ll need to start with creating a solid frame.
- Polyurethane foam (commonly referred as PU foam) is a blow-on insulant. The main advantage of this material is its water-proof properties. Moreover, it allows you to choose a certain thickness of the insulation layer. PU foam also ensures absence of seams, which prevent thermal bridges.
- Foil-coated foamed polyethylene is a material of a multi-layer structure. The substrate made of polystyrene retains heat, while the aluminum screen serves as a mirror and reflects the thermal heat. A great idea is to combine this insulant with other materials.
- Bloating clay is a porous fill insulant. The material is used to for winterization of balcony floors.