Residents of urban high-rise buildings usually want to make the most of all possible apartment space, including a balcony or loggia. If desired, this can be achieved by insulating and decorating it, thanks to which it will turn into a comfortable room in which you can have a pleasant time.
Many options are suitable for decorating a balcony, of which you need to choose the one that the owners will most like, will correspond to their lifestyle and will favorably emphasize the attractive aspects of this room.
Features and Benefits
A balcony is a terrace or platform with a railing, which is located on beams protruding from the wall of the building. Such a site is usually open, although glazed balconies are also found. A balcony that is not connected to an apartment usually has a tightly closing door and is not heated.
Even in the case when the balcony is glazed, the microclimate on it has specific differences from the rest of the premises. For the balcony, characters:
- Temperature changes, from cold frosts in winter to strong heating in the summer months;
- High humidity during the off-season;
- Intense exposure to ultraviolet rays, which is caused by large windows that let in a lot of light;
- Significant urban noise, inevitable in open space.
By equipping this part of the apartment originally not intended for living, the owners can increase the living space, create an island for relaxation, a small fitness room or a winter garden on this separately located piece of their territory.
The balcony is a special place in the apartment, usually it is an open terrace with flimsy railings and a kind of roof. Therefore, before you start decorating the balcony, it should be glazed and insulated.
The balcony parapet most often looks like an openwork lattice, it cannot bear the load when glazing the balcony and should be dismantled. If a decision is made about fragmentary glazing, then instead of a parapet, a support structure is erected from profiles, strong and light.
It is necessary to decide on the type of glazing and the profile option. Whether it will be a single-chamber or double-glazed unit, whether a reflective coating is necessary, and much more.
A double-glazed window has better sound insulation and heat-shielding properties. If the owner plans to use the balcony in the cold winter, then it is better to choose this option. Also, double-glazed windows will better protect against noise coming from city streets. Recently, three-chamber double-glazed windows have also been offered, but it is worth considering whether it makes sense to overpay and install such a double-glazed window on the balcony.
If the balcony is on the sunny side, in this case it makes sense to protect it from excessive UV radiation using a special reflective coating on the glass.
When choosing the option of panoramic glazing, which is very relevant lately, you should worry about protecting the lower part with anti-vandal glass or ordinary tinted glass.
There are two different options for opening balcony windows: sliding and hinged. Based on the names, it is clear that the swing option requires additional space to open the windows. On a spacious balcony, this will not cause inconvenience, unlike a small and narrow balcony, on which it is better to install sliding windows.
It is worth thinking about which profile to choose, aluminum, wood or PVC; the appearance of the window will largely depend on the integrity of the perception of the interior subsequently.
Aluminum glazing is usually used for a budget option of work and is accompanied by the installation of single-chamber windows. Such glazing will protect against rain, dust and wind. The material is resistant to deformation and does not lend itself to rust. With the help of a light aluminum profile, it is possible to glaze the balcony with an increase in the usable area in the "Khrushchev", or in the "stalinka", the so-called glazing "with the extension". With this option, additional brackets are taken out in front of the balcony parapet, on which frames with glass are installed. This increases the usable area of the balcony.
Panoramic glazing of the balcony, which has recently been used more and more often, is the arrangement of floor-to-ceiling windows. Due to the fact that glass occupies the entire outer surface of the balcony, its internal space visually increases, a much larger amount of sunlight will enter the room and the view that opens at the same time will be much more interesting. This option gives a feeling of spaciousness and airiness and is especially suitable for apartments located on the shady side.
Balcony insulation includes the treatment of the floor, ceiling and side rails, if any. The best insulation for the floor on the balcony is foam concrete, it is more convenient and reliable to close the parapets with expanded polystyrene (EPS), sheathe the ceiling with glass-magnesite sheet.
Before starting work, it is imperative to carry out treatment with an antiseptic solution to prevent the appearance of mold. Then the structure is covered with a waterproofing film, on top of which a layer of insulation is laid, again covered with waterproofing. Such a "sandwich" will protect the room from the penetration of cold air and humidity.
After warming, you can start working on the design of the balcony.
Many materials can be used for interior cladding, however, not all of them will look aesthetically pleasing, modern and will last a long time.
Many people believe that it is best to sheathe the balcony with natural wood clapboard. Of course, this is an environmentally friendly and beautiful material that has a pleasant color and natural pattern. The room decorated with wood looks cute and rustic home, it is easy to breathe in it, and a feeling of coziness is created. Wood is an environmentally friendly material that does not cause allergies, provides thermal and noise insulation.
To date, a wooden lining of 5 classifications is produced, differing in appearance and types of "castle":
- Euro lining;
- Lining soft - line;
- The lining is calm,
- Lining "under the timber";
- Lining "block - house" (imitation of a log).
The disadvantages of wooden lining can be attributed to its high hygroscopicity, which, unfortunately, can nullify all the above advantages, if used on unheated balconies without proper annual treatment. Wood that has absorbed moisture darkens very quickly and becomes unsightly, mold can develop on it, therefore regular treatment with water-repellent varnishes is necessary to maintain such a coating in good condition.
Finishing with MDF - panels looks very attractive, and externally resembles the processing of natural wood. It is a more affordable material and comes in a huge variety of colors. However, even the MDF laminated from the front side - the panel has increased water absorption from the inside, which makes it a short-lived material for facing the balcony, if it is not combined with the living space and is not heated.
The coating of internal walls with decorative plaster may look beautiful, but it is not suitable for finishing rooms of this type, and will peel off over time, therefore such a coating will be short-lived.
Decorative stone used for outdoor decoration is perfect for facing an unheated balcony from the inside. It is available in a wide variety of colors, so it will not be difficult to choose an option for the most intricate design solution. Externally, the artificial stone resembles a natural analogue, while differing in price and lower weight. You can purchase expressive and textured options with imitation of brick, slate, mosaic stone, or choose porcelain stoneware tiles.
In finishing the balcony located in a brick building, an interesting move will be to use directly the material from which the opening wall is laid. The brick can look attractive and stylish, it will perfectly fit into the "loft" - the interior of the balcony with panoramic glazing.
An affordable option would be to finish the balcony with siding. This term unites a fairly wide variety of finishing panels. Siding can be:
- Vinyl (these are panels made of polyvinyl chloride, or, as it is also called, PVC);
- Basement siding, characterized by increased strength and a variety of textures (also made of PVC);
- Aluminum siding;
- Galvanized steel metal siding (metal siding);
- Ceramic (a mixture of clay with other natural ingredients).
These panels are lightweight and flexible, durable, heat-resistant and easy to clean. Siding can be mounted on a wall or ceiling, the only exception is the floor surface. The very high reflectivity of vinyl and metal siding allows you to visually expand the room lined with it and make it more spacious and comfortable.
Siding must be distinguished from PVC - lining, which is smaller in thickness, lighter, more brittle and not as strong. Despite this, such a clapboard can also sheathe a balcony from the inside, getting a coating that is quite resistant to dust and dirt, but still inferior in reliability to siding.
How to choose
When choosing PVC panels, it is worth considering the minimum and maximum temperatures at which operation is allowed, resistance to fading (indicated on the package), as well as the type and size of the lock. When joining the panel according to the thorn-groove principle, no gaps should be visible, although the joining line will, of course, be noticeable.
The thickness of the panel also matters, the denser plates are stronger and stronger. In order not to purchase panels made from recycled materials at the price of high-quality products, it is worth taking a closer look at the surface of the product. Technological defects and irregularities are visible in the second-class material, the pattern on such panels is heterogeneous and faded.
In the event that it is decided to use a wooden lining for cladding, it is worth asking about the peculiarities of the production of this natural material, on which its service life directly depends in the future.
Distinguish between simple lining and euro lining. In the first case, undried wood is used, so the price and quality of such lining are lower. In addition, in this type of lining, inclusions are left - traces of knots, which can subsequently fall out and spoil the appearance. Thus, ordinary lining should not be used to embody interesting design ideas.
Euro lining also differs in grades, the best is the “extra” grade, it is it that should be used when decorating a living space from the inside. The surface of this tree is smooth, beautiful, without knots, which is achieved due to complex and long-term processing, including modern septic impregnations, so the price of such a material is quite high. Such a board is delivered in a vacuum package to avoid deformation during transportation. When purchasing, you must make sure that the packaging is intact and that there are clips for fastening, which should be supplied with the board.
Siding in all the variety of options is different in its purpose. Metal siding should not be chosen for the inner cladding of a balcony; it is used for cladding buildings from the outside, and, usually, these are production facilities. This is due to the significant weight of the material, which the balcony base may simply not withstand.
Basement siding, reminiscent of brick or masonry, is perfect for decorating a balcony, giving it a sophisticated look.
Ordinary vinyl siding can also be used, the warranty period for this material is tens of years, such siding will last a long time and will not lose its attractiveness.
An important point is the calculation of the required materials, this must be done taking into account the margin for inevitable losses. Since it is quite difficult to calculate the geometry of, for example, a corner balcony, it makes sense to contact a specialist.
How to sew with your own hands: step by step instructions
When installing a wooden (or plastic) lining, a crate is initially made on the wall
- Before starting work, the wall is cleaned and leveled.
- Install insulation and vapor barrier.
To install the lathing, narrow wooden planks (or beams) are used, which are mounted on the wall using suspension plates. At the same time, the suspensions are bent to a size that allows them to maintain a strictly vertical direction of the structure (guided by a plumb line and a building level). It is advisable to level the distance between the wall and the lathing to the smallest in order to save the useful space of the balcony.
When the finished coating is planned to be placed vertically, a horizontal crate is prepared for it; accordingly, in the case of a horizontal arrangement in finished form, a vertical blank is made. Installation begins with the installation of corner beams, then the rest are fixed, maintaining a distance of 50 - 60 cm
The next step is to fasten the skin itself, it can be done in two ways: open or closed. In the first method, nails are used, which are hammered at an oblique angle, connecting the board with the crate; the nail head is removed after driving in in order to make the fastening invisible.
The closed method of installing the lining is more attractive. It consists in the fact that the edges of the boards are interconnected by introducing the spiked side into the groove of the adjacent one, and fixing the connection with a special bracket (kleimer). Fixation is done with nails.
When installing plastic lining or PVC panels, the outer and inner corners are closed with special corners
The installation of siding has much more subtleties, moreover, if the work is done incorrectly, the manufacturer of the material can withdraw his warranty on it. Therefore, it is better to sheathe the balcony with siding with the involvement of specialists.
Siding work also begins with cleaning the walls and installing insulation and waterproofing.
The sequence of work when installing siding:
- If the walls are uneven, it is necessary to install slatted sheathing.
- Fastening the cladding panels that come with the siding itself (fastening is not too tight; screws or nails must be installed in the center of the holes; work must be started from the center of the wall and move to the corners of the room; work starts from the bottom).
- After installing the first starting panel, the corners (internal and external) are attached, if there is a window, platbands are placed on it.
- The siding sheet from below clings to the protrusion of the start panel, thereby fixing on it. It snaps into the starter strip and shifts to the corner, if the length is too large, it is trimmed so that the siding goes a little inward under the corner post.
- On the first panel, the next one is also attached with an overlap, observing the principle of the lock connection.
- Before installing the last row, it is necessary to fix the finishing strip under the eaves. The topmost siding panel is filled under it.
An important point is the need to remember to leave a gap of about 2mm. when installing the starting and finishing panels, which will serve to compensate for the thermal expansion of the material.
When the balcony is glazed and sheathed from the inside, you can start decorating it and create a space that matches the lifestyle, mood and tastes of the owners. Many different styles and options are suitable for decoration, for example. You can turn the balcony into a small cozy corner for tea drinking, or into a gym.
It should be borne in mind that the temperature on an unheated, but insulated balcony in winter, during Russian frosts, will still be much lower than room temperature. That is, you will have to use the room of the balcony to a minimum in winter, however, for the rest of the months it will be able to please the owners. In the event that it is possible to carry out a "warm floor" system to the balcony, this problem will not exist.
The balcony floor can be decorated with a carpet, armchairs, a hammock or sun loungers can be installed. Add a coffee table, brightly colored pillows and throws. In the case when the glazing is not panoramic, you should choose high chairs and put a bar counter so that the balcony railings do not obstruct the view of the surroundings.
Lanterns will look beautiful on the wall of the balcony and on the table, the light of these little stars will delight the owners in the evening. Also, flower pots can be placed on the walls, on window sills and railings, which will give a lively and blooming look to this small room.
It is convenient to hang blinds on the windows to hide privacy, if necessary.
Interesting solutions in interior design
When decorating in a classic style, on the balcony you can arrange a corner for friendly conversations and tea parties, or a romantic nest for a couple in love. Putting a narrow ottoman and a table with wrought iron legs, or a kitchen corner, hanging a beautiful antique lantern and decorating the floor with artificial stone, you can achieve a great effect.
Small exquisite pillows, graceful clocks and floor plants will complement the design.
Another option would be to turn the balcony into a kind of French courtyard. At the same time, an elegant bar counter is attached to the parapet, a pair of high stools and a small bench with a forged back and a soft seat are added to it. The pleasant lighting from the lamps built into the ceiling conveys the mood of a quiet, calm evening, which is emphasized by the light of an antique lantern. Plants are also present on such a balcony, but there are very few of them.