Balcony glazing for renovated houses


Residents of multi-apartment buildings gathered in communities are eagerly awaiting the funds allocated by the state, which would accelerate the renovation programs of multi-apartment residential buildings. The Presidents of the Communities shall endeavor to find technical solutions which are acceptable to the majority of the members of the Community in terms of price and quality. The focus is on key heat-saving solutions: how to replace windows, insulate walls, renovate roof and heating systems. In most cases, all projects are skilfully prepared by professional designers or companies specializing in home renovations.

To make the initial work of the community chairmen a little easier, we would like to share our experience in choosing glazing solutions for balconies, which also make up a significant part of the work on residential renovations.
When considering which balcony would be most suitable for your residential house, you should always consider a number of aspects that influence the right choice of balcony glazing, including the technical possibilities of balcony glazing of the planned house:

What materials were used in the existing lower balcony railing constructions?

If ferrous metal was used, does its condition still meet safety requirements?

If the lower part of the balcony is formed using metal structures and concrete slabs - what is their condition?

Is it possible to attach new finishing materials to existing metal structures?

Based on these assessments, it can be decided whether the renovation of the balconies requires a complete renovation of the balcony, or is it enough to glaze only the upper part of the balcony?

It is also important to know what materials are intended to insulate the main walls of the facility. It will then be possible to assess whether it is possible to form a wall insulation, leaving the old balcony partition.

As you may have noticed, we have divided the glazing of the balcony into two parts: the lower part of the balcony partition and the upper part of the glazing of the balcony.


Lower part of the balcony


This is a fixed external balcony partition, which according to the valid STR should be at least 1100 mm high, made of high-quality metal or using ALU profiles. The vertical uprights should be spaced not more than 1200 mm apart. All vertical struts should be connected by a continuous profile called an armrest. If there are no planned decorative finishing elements between the vertical columns and it is planned to glaze the lower part, then the glass should be laminated 4 * 2 * 4 mm thick according to the STR valid in Lithuania. Various other coating materials can be used instead of glass, such as diubond, cetris and others. It is not recommended to use polycarbonate sheets, organic glass and other plastic materials, the elasticity of which is highly dependent on temperature fluctuations and these materials are not the most suitable in Lithuanian climatic conditions.


The upper part of the balcony glazing


It is a balcony glazing structure that is mounted on a stationary lower part of the balcony. The appearance of the facade of the house, the practicality of using and maintaining the balcony, a bit of general sound insulation of the apartment, ventilation options, ways of opening and opening, visible space depend on the choice of this glazing system. The upper glazing structure of the balcony can be divided into three main types:
  1. Frameless glazing system
  2. ALU sliding system
  3. Manufactured using PVC profiles (plastic window principle)


Frameless, fully opening, balcony glazing system


The model of the glazed balcony system thus came from the Scandinavian lands. It has gained popularity in Lithuania due to some simple features. There are no profiles in the balconies between the glazing, so the overall view of the entire facade of the house looks flawless. In this way, the glazed balcony looks light, transparent and spacious. This impresses many architects and designers. Still, the main benefits are best appreciated by the end user, so improvements to the frameless balcony system have taken decades. All glass sections slide on wheels in the upper and lower aluminum rails in one plane and can open inside the balcony like book sheets where they are fastened. This takes up little space and makes them immobile even in strong winds. The balcony can be opened 100%. The frameless glazing system has an advantage over other balcony glazing systems in terms of both ease of use and maintenance. To clean the frameless glazed balcony, simply push each washable sash against the wall and open it. This makes cleaning the glass both easy and safe.

All glass in the frameless balcony system is made of 6mm tempered glass. The edges of the extremely strong glass are ground, which ensures the maximum level of safety during the operation of the product. It is not necessary to mount the glass in additional frames or to glue impact-resistant films. 6 mm tempered glass can withstand pressures up to 425 MPa, while plain 6 mm glass can withstand pressures up to 150 MPa. When broken, tempered glass shatters into small pieces. This protects people from cuts that can occur when using plain glass. The full weight of the glass is supported by the upper load-bearing profile, so it is always necessary to make sure that the upper profile can be fixed to coincide with the plane of the partition at the bottom of the balcony.

The main aluminum profiles of this system are suitable for any installation of drainage gutters, so it is easy enough to adapt to various construction situations and find the best solutions. The frameless balcony system has no wall profiles attached to the wall at all, so the insulated and decorated wall surface is not damaged at all during installation and no additional finishing work is required.

As standard, vertical gaps of 3-5 mm remain between the closed windows, through which a small amount of precipitation can enter the balcony when it rains a lot and in unfavorable winds. To solve this problem, special gaskets of 15 mm wide transparent plastic are installed between the panes, which ensure complete tightness of the balcony. These gaskets can be easily removed to keep the balcony glazing closed and the balcony naturally ventilated.

The frameless glazing system can also be installed from the bottom to the top of the balcony. This way you can glaze terraces, verandas or barns. The glazing of the balconies should retain the lower part of the balcony enclosure, and this frameless system should be installed with the structure slightly integrated into the interior of the balcony. The maximum height of this structure can be up to 2900 mm. In this case, the glass sections will be made using 8 mm tempered glass and the balcony glass will open 100%.


ALU frame sliding balcony glazing system


This system is distinguished by the fact that all the sliding parts of the glass are in the frames of the aluminum profile. Therefore, according to the STR valid in Lithuania, simple 4 - 6 mm thick glass can be installed in framed constructions. Sliding parts move very easily with specially mounted profiles. The total weight of the sliding parts rests on the lower load-bearing profile. The width of the frame when viewed from the inside of the balcony is 50 mm, slightly narrower than that of balconies made using PVC profiles.
This system is airtight, has special locking mechanisms, adjustable and all the necessary profiles that can be used for glazing in balconies of various configurations. If the frame glazing system is installed on the lower partition of the balcony, the widths of the hinged parts should be carefully adjusted to match the visible divisions of the lower part. Otherwise, the balconies may look very asymmetrical in the overall context of the renovated house. The operation of this type of balcony is quite comfortable. To clean the outer windows, each sliding part is lifted out of the common frame together with the glass. Built inside the balcony, cleaned and put in place. The size of the sliding part should be no more than 2 square meters, then the weight of one part will be about 15 kg and it will be easier to lift or set it, reducing the risk of breaking the glass. When installing this type of structure from the bottom to the top of the balcony, the overall stiffness of the structure should be well assessed and, if necessary, additional stiffness profiles should be provided. In such constructions, the glass in the lower part, according to the STR valid in Lithuania.
Glazing of balconies using PVC profiles


In this way of glazing the balconies, part of the population has independently renovated their balconies. The main advantages of this system are that the production of windows from PVC profiles in Lithuania is very strongly developed. It is very easy to find a reliable company that will do all the work discussed. It remains to decide the location and quantity of openable and non-openable windows, on which the total cost of glazing the balcony usually depends, to find out the planned drainage works, not to forget to discuss the finishing works. The most common way to glaze a balcony in this way is to use a double-glazed unit, one of which is covered with a selective coating. It is not advisable to save money by using only one glass in the frames of PVC profiles. Because this system is the most airtight, you can see frosted or fogged balcony windows through the windows of the apartment during the winter, and the economy will definitely not be worth it.

Balconies come in very different dimensions and configurations, even in older houses, so it is very important to make sure that all mandatory window connection profiles are used. In most cases, unwanted moisture will not get into your balcony depending on the quality of the installation and the chosen shapes of the drainage slopes.
A balcony glazed with PVC windows has better sound insulation properties and better insulation of the ingress of cold into the interior of the balcony. Just keep in mind that the balcony is not a heated room, so to avoid the fogging of the glass, you should actively use the ventilation mechanisms built into the PVC windows.

The width of the PVC window frame is about 70 mm, and the total width of the frames of the sliding window is about 110 mm, so when planning the location of sliding windows on larger balconies, it should be noted that there are no joints between the sliding window frames. mm wide plastic frame. Unopened showcases are usually installed between PVC hinged windows. This avoids additional thickening of the profiles and aims to allow the glass of the non-opening window to be cleaned from the outside through a fully open opening window. Such cleaning of windows is not very convenient, but with modern tools for this purpose is quite possible.

In order to glaze the balcony with PVC profile constructions from the bottom to the top of the balcony, the lower part of the balcony should be filled with thermosets or glazed with a glass package with laminated glass. The standard height of the balcony is about 2700 mm, so all window manufacturers use joint profiles with additional stiffening edges and reinforcement to ensure the stability of the structures.


What affects the cost of balcony glazing?


Now we can talk a little bit about one of the most important questions for the whole population - what mainly affects the price of glazing a balcony?

As you have noticed, we have already tried to divide the glazing of the balcony into two parts. These are the lower part of the balcony enclosure and the upper part of the balcony glazing. In renovated houses, the price usually depends not so much on the choice of the upper glazing system of the balcony as on the choice of technical solutions. It can even be said that the choice of the upper balcony glazing system, in the overall estimate of the balcony glazing of the house, will have small and less significant price differences.

The price of the renovated balconies is mainly influenced by the decisions related to the renovation of the lower part of the balcony. When calculating the cost of glazing balconies per square meter, you will almost always find that glazing the lower part of the balcony is significantly more expensive than glazing the upper part of the balcony. This is due to the fact that significantly more metal or aluminum profiles are used in the lower part, rigid partitions for fixing the partition are required, and various solutions for covering the lower part of the balcony are being sought. For example, if you choose tinted glass instead of clear glass at the bottom of the balcony, it should be taken into account that the glass will already have to be not only laminated but also tempered. Plain laminated glass with one or other tinting shade can crack due to temperature fluctuations.

The cheapest option is when the technical condition allows to leave the lower balcony partition as it is and to re-install only the upper balcony glazing system. A slightly more expensive option is when the existing main constructions of the partition can be used, using part of the additional profiles and adapting new finishing materials to the existing partition. The most expensive option is when you need to completely dismantle the existing lower partitions of the balcony and replace them with new ones.

Good solutions for renovating the bottom of a balcony can save a lot of money on renovating balconies. It all depends on the current situation in the renovated house. Considering the configurations, dimensions and design possibilities of the balconies, cheaper technical solutions can be found, even using aluminum profiles instead of black metal. It can’t be said that it always works, but experience shows that every house you renovate requires an individual search for solutions. And in order to do all the work well, you should spare no time to consult with a few companies that specialize in certain areas.