One of the most important stages in arranging a balcony is its exterior finish, thanks to which it acquires a harmonious appearance. The purpose of such finishing is not only a pleasant appearance, but also additional protection of the balcony from negative environmental influences. The cladding material must be resistant to temperature extremes, precipitation, ultraviolet radiation, wind loads, and also be in harmony with the external design of the building. What materials for decorating a balcony outside are the most popular today?
# 1. Plastic lining
One of the most demanded materials is plastic, which is explained by its affordable price. Made of PVC with or without seams. In addition to the attractive cost, the advantages of the material are as follows:
- good appearance;
- a huge selection and availability in any building store;
- simplicity and speed of installation;
- heat and sound insulation qualities;
- does not change color and shape over time;
- if one lamella is damaged, only it can be replaced without touching other elements.
Sheathing with plastic clapboard can even be done independently – working with the material is quite simple. In addition to standard colors, a lining that imitates the structure of a tree is on sale. Among the disadvantages of the material:
- low durability, which is determined by about 15 years of service;
- instability to mechanical damage. It is possible to deform the lining with careless installation and operation, so you need to be very careful with it. The good thing is that replacing a damaged element is not that difficult;
- the light weight of the material is not only ease of installation, but also the likelihood that on the upper floors gusts of wind can simply tear off the sheets of plastic lining, therefore it is not recommended to use it above 3-4 floors.
# 2. Vinyl siding
Vinyl siding is also based on polyvinyl chloride, but it gets stronger performance thanks to the use of special additives in the production. The result is a material perfectly balanced in quality and price, which makes it the leader in the modern market for outdoor balcony finishing.
- long service life (about 25 years), during which the main performance characteristics do not change;
- ease of installation and maintenance;
- low flammability;
- burnout resistance;
- resistance to low and high temperatures, to temperature extremes;
- not susceptible to the development of mold, mildew, corrosion;
- a huge selection of different colors.
The material allows you to quickly and attractively equip a balcony and not worry about its appearance for the next decades. Among the shortcomings, one can single out the overpriced, although it cannot be called too high. In addition, there are a lot of unscrupulous manufacturers on the market who offer material of low quality.
No. 3. Metal siding
Metallic siding is one of the most durable materials for balcony cladding. It has a multi-layer structure. It is based on a sheet of steel with a thickness of 0.35-0.65 mm, it is galvanized on both sides, covered with a conversion layer, a primer layer and a polymer material. It can be with or without perforation, have a different relief and even imitate the structure of a stone, log or ship’s beam.
Metal siding is very popular today in the cladding of the balconies of apartment buildings, due to its many advantages:
- attractive appearance;
- resistance to environmental factors. Since the outer layer is not paint, but a polymer coating, it is unnecessary to tint the material periodically;
- excellent performance, incl. resistance to temperature extremes, precipitation, sunlight, mechanical damage. The material is fireproof, not susceptible to the development of fungus and mold, resistant to corrosion;
- thanks to the presence of locks, installation is facilitated.
This material is almost perfect. You can only find fault with the low degree of thermal insulation, because it is metal, and the weight of the structure will be higher than when using plastic, so you need to think about whether the balcony will withstand the additional load.
No. 4. Corrugated board
Profiled sheeting is galvanized steel sheets additionally protected with a polymer coating. The corrugated structure provides additional strength to the sheets of corrugated board, which differs from metal siding in its large size and the absence of locking joints in most cases.
- durability (about 40 years);
- attractive appearance, a huge selection of colors;
- tightness, fire resistance, anti-corrosion properties, high strength;
- resistance to sunlight;
- affordable price. Decking costs less than metal siding, and the performance properties of the materials are very similar;
- simple and quick installation.
The material has a high thermal conductivity, so you can’t do without a heat-insulating layer. The corrugated board has no significant drawbacks, therefore it is often used for external decoration of balconies. It costs, of course, more expensive than plastic lining, but frequent repairs to such a casing certainly will not be needed.
No. 5. Wooden lining
Natural wood is not the most popular material for cladding balconies due to its low resistance to numerous negative natural factors. This fact is the main disadvantage of wood, but modern technologies make it possible to use special impregnations in the production of wooden lining, which protect the wood from moisture, decay, damage by pests and make it more resistant to fire. Nevertheless, the owners of balconies with such a cladding will have to regularly take care of the material so that it remains in its original form as long as possible.
Among the main advantages of wooden lining:
- beautiful appearance that can ennoble any balcony;
- environmental friendliness;
- heat and sound insulation properties.
Such cladding is unlikely to be appropriate when arranging a balcony in a typical apartment building, but for a small private house it is very suitable.
With a wide variety of each of the materials, it is not difficult to design your balcony exactly as the imagination draws. Do not forget to take into account not only your own preferences, but also the features of the facade of the building, the floor of your residence and the climatic conditions in the region.