The urbanisation in the 1960s has significantly contributed to the increased popularity of balconies. The target serviceable life of balconies is around 50 years, but balconies don't necessarily withstand tough weather conditions as long as this. The serviceable life is affected by the surface disintegration, structural quality and water proofing method of the balcony. Balcony glass installations and water guidance arrangements will reduce the intensity of surface disintegration. More than 75 % of all balconies in Finland have been provided with glazing systems. More than 90 % of the balconies in new multi-storey buildings are provided with glazing systems during the construction stage already.
The protection effect provided by balcony glass panes will extend the serviceable life of balcony structures by 5 to 10 years. If the balcony is provided with glass panes, when the balcony structure is undergoing a large-scale renovation, this will extend the serviceable life by a further 25 to 30 years. Instead of renovation, balconies may be replaced with totally new ones, which makes it possible to increase them in size and provide the entire building with a more modern appearance. These actions will also improve the housing comfort and increase the value of the property. On top of everything else, the new balcony will last up to 60–130 years, if serviced regularly.
The facade of a multi-storey building after a balcony renovation
The balcony in old buildings is often large enough only for a table and two chairs. Moreover, the view over a solid balustrade is almost next to nothing, and, thus, the balcony is barely used, or it is only used as a kind of storage. A new glazed balcony provides an ideal and roomy place for you to chill out on a settee or gather your entire family around the table for a meal. Another point is that you can enjoy the view unrestrictedly from your balcony. The glazed balcony is like an additional room to your apartment. Furthermore, it is easier to sell an apartment, if it comes complete with a balcony. Due to the added value of the balcony, old multi-storey buildings have been retrofitted with balconies.
Benefits from balcony glazing installations
The glazing protects your balcony, gives a face-lift even to old balconies and provides you with some extra space that is both cosy and useful. The glazing makes it possible to use the balcony more often on a daily basis and extends its usability by many months per year. The glazing will keep your balcony furniture protected from wind, rain and pollen. A well-furnished balcony is a safe place to stay for your children and pets. It is also a great place to take care of a little garden. Furthermore, the glazing has been discovered to bring in energy savings, because the temperature of the glazed balcony is typically from 2 to 15 °C warmer than outside air, depending on the location and time of the day. The fact that air is warmer inside the balcony will reduce the thermal loss of exterior wall structures by 15 to 25 %, and, thus, distribute economically beneficial energy savings. According to studies, the heating energy savings, brought about by the balcony glazing, will typically vary from 2 to 20 % in the European area. The balcony glazing will also reduce the amount of ambient noise that is heard indoors. Laboratory measurements have indicated that the sound-insulating capacity of the balcony glazing varies from 12 to 27 dB, depending on the glazing product and the insulation solution in question. However, the sound-insulating capacity of balconies will typically range from 4 to 16 dB, due to structural reasons.
The conditions on the balcony will remain comfortable and interior spaces will not get too hot, provided that you use pleated shades in the glass panes and open the panes for airing purposes on a regular basis. The glass panes must be kept closed in winter and, every now and then, open in summer.
The energy savings of the glazed balcony amount, on average, to 300 kWh, as compared with a balcony with no glazing. There are more than one million balconies that have been provided with Lumon glazing products in the world. Their energy savings amount to 300 GWh per year.
Thanks to the glazing system, the annual usability time of the terrace will thus be 1 to 2,5 months longer. Some of the terraces can be in full use all year round. Should people in Finland witness a great deal of sunshine in February, the temperature could rise up to around 20 °C.
The renovation of the concrete balcony
The serviceable life of old concrete balcony structures can best be extended by providing the balcony with glazing solutions and glass balustrades, protecting the concrete frames, adding a separate roof element to the balcony and guiding the removal of water through an outside connection down to the ground. It is essential to install the glazing system immediately after the balcony renovation is over. When the glazing protects the balcony, its structures are less vulnerable to moisture. It also makes it easier to keep the balcony in good condition. The glazing may provide even old balconies with a further 5 to 10 years of serviceable life.
The balcony glazing will reduce the need for balcony renovations by half and markedly cut down the life cycle costs of the property. Furthermore, it is an environmentally friendly action. Glass and aluminium are both recyclable raw materials. About 20 % of the raw materials in flat glass are recyclable. The glass cutting waste of Lumon plants is delivered to recycling. According to calculations, it takes, on average, somewhat over three years to compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions that result from the manufacture, transport and installation of the glazing product, besides considering its energy-efficiency and protective impact on the structures.