Finishing work

Balcony floor: options for every taste and budget

An important element that determines the functionality and beauty of the balcony is the correct choice of material for the floor. Today, ceramic tiles and composite decking boards are increasingly used for flooring in intermediate areas. These modern solutions can successfully replace more expensive or less functional wood planks and stone tiles..

Balcony floor: what is important to know?

The balcony floor must be durable and practical. If you have an open balcony, then every day it is affected by harmful external factors – rain, moisture, ultraviolet radiation, extreme temperatures and street pollution. With intensive use of the balcony, the floor is abraded and dirty.

The materials used as cladding for balconies and terraces should not only be aesthetically effective, but also very practical and functional. Choose those that have anti-slip properties, should be easy to clean, and resistant to scratches and cracks. Their resistance to atmospheric factors is also significant. Floor coverings intended for outdoor use must primarily be frost resistant, moisture and UV resistant. The materials used so far for balcony surfaces have not always been durable enough, and high quality options are usually very expensive. Recently, you can replace them with products of the same high aesthetic value, which are cheaper.

Ceramic tiles on the balcony to the floor

Ceramic tiles are still the most commonly chosen balcony cladding. Correctly selected and installed, it can create an efficiently finished floor, even for several decades. Gres tiles have a particularly high aesthetic and functional value, since the absorption capacity is below 3%, which corresponds to frost resistance. You can easily select non-slip tiles marked with R9-R13 symbol (the higher the R value, the better the anti-slip performance).

Structural granite tiles provide extra safety, as their surface has a rich texture, imitating, for example, the pattern and structure of stones. A good choice for a balcony would be glazed porcelain stoneware, which, in addition to being highly useful, has a very rich design. It can reproduce surfaces typical of polished marble, granite or wood.

When choosing ceramic tiles for a balcony, you should pay attention to its abrasion class: the higher, the better in conditions prone to scratches from sand or furniture. It must have IV or the highest abrasion class V. Ceramic tiles come in a variety of sizes, from large pieces to small mosaics, and can be square or rectangular, mimicking the formats typical of large stone pieces.

A huge choice of designs, an easy-to-clean surface, good parameters and an affordable price – ceramic tiles meet the basic requirements that most buyers follow. As in rooms, this finishing material works on the balcony, but provided that the tiles are chosen for the correct purpose and installed correctly..

Only use outdoor balcony tiles. For a product to fall into this category, its absorbency, that is, the degree to which it absorbs water, must not exceed 3%. Low water absorption ensures that the tiles are frost resistant and will not crack when exposed to low temperatures. If you don’t want to wash or sweep your balcony tiles every day, find a template that will make dirt less visible. Patterned, structured, or patchy tiles will work well. Pay attention to smooth tiles in light colors, especially white and light gray.

Installing tiles on the balcony is not a complicated activity, but it requires proper preparation of the substrate and the use of appropriate materials, including frost-resistant and elastic adhesive mortar. Any mistakes and omissions during the assembly phase can lead to cracking and weakening of the tile..

The disadvantage of balcony tiles is the need for grouting. In the spaces between the tiles, the material likes to accumulate dirt that is difficult to clean, which spoils the appearance of the floor. To save nerves, choose a darker grout that masks dirt well..

Wood-like floor on the balcony: terrace boards

An interesting solution, which more and more investors come to, is decking made of composite wood fibers and plastics, for example, polyethylene. Due to the content of wood flour, they have all the aesthetic advantages of wooden deck boards, but they have no disadvantages – they are resistant to fungi, mold and moisture. Colors and textures are very similar to exotic wood elements. The advantage of composite boards is also the ease of installation. They are placed on square beams using system clips or screws. The bars are attached to the concrete base or left «floating».

When laying, remember to keep 10 mm between the joists and 15 mm between the wall. Since the boards are perfectly straight and longer than the natural wood finish, they fit very comfortably.

Composite plank balcony floor

Composite boards are made from a combination of wood flour and PVC. Thanks to a special formulation, they combine the natural look of wood with the high strength of plastics. Composite panels do not need additional protection or systematic maintenance. Unlike wooden boards, they are resistant to water and moisture, and their maintenance is limited to regular cleaning of the surface. In everyday life, it is enough to protect the floor from high temperatures and greasy dirt, which can leave a permanent mark..

How to make a balcony floor?

The boards should be laid on beams placed on the floor and connected by steel clamps. Manufacturers offer ready-made decking systems that contain all the accessories necessary for the correct fixing of the panels. The uniform dimensions, uniform color and simple shape of the boards make the floor perfect and quick and easy to install. Thanks to a well-thought-out installation system, all fasteners are hidden and do not spoil the location of the balcony.

The biggest challenge during the assembly phase is the handling of the slabs. Most of the panels available on the market have a specially profiled edge that allows the boards to be attached to the clip. Once trimmed, it may not be possible to properly assemble the board following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wood-like floor on the balcony: modular installation

An alternative to balcony planks is modular wood floors. Under this name are platforms, planks or panels that just need to be connected using special hooks and placed on the floor. Installing the floor is as easy as folding blocks, so it doesn’t require specialist assistance. This is the perfect solution for a small balcony in an apartment that needs a quick and inexpensive metamorphosis..

The wooden platform can be laid directly on old tiles or other stable and level surfaces. Before installing the floor, simply clean the surface of loose elements, dirt and dust. If necessary, the panels can be cut to fit the size and shape of the balcony. In most cases, the timber is protected by the manufacturer. Smearing or painting should be repeated once a year (depending on the method chosen) to renew the color of the floor and prevent damage to it. Just wash the floor every day with water and a mild soapy solution. If the floor under the boards requires cleaning, the platform can be easily removed and reassembled.

When choosing a platform, beware of cheap products from unknown manufacturers. The quality of the seams and the wood elements used to make them can leave a lot to be desired..

Concrete floor on the balcony

Modern concrete slabs successfully mimic stone elements such as sandstone, limestone, granite, marble and wood, but at the same time are much cheaper than the originals. Their advantage is also durability, resistance to weather conditions such as frost, moisture, as well as mechanical damage. They do not slide. The material owes its utilitarian qualities to vibrocompression, that is, concrete compaction using vibration and pressing at the same time. The use of concrete mixes with a low water content is also a guarantee of quality. Mixtures can contain aggregates in the form of colored particles or pigments that color the cube in the entire section or in the upper layer. Slabs 4 cm thick are suitable for terraces and balconies.

Concrete slabs are elegant, durable and easy to maintain. Unfortunately, due to their heavy weight, it may not be possible to install them on a balcony in an apartment. They are mainly used on above ground terraces and large balconies in single family homes..

When choosing concrete slabs, pay attention to the material parameters. Outdoor products will work on the balcony – solid, wear-resistant, non-absorbent and non-slip. Since concrete is inherently absorbent, the slabs must be impregnated.

Concrete slab manufacturers are superior to each other on how to make their offer more attractive. Boards surprise with unusual shapes, colors or textures. Next to the classic gray version, there are surfaces that look like granite or wood.

Stone floor on the balcony

Stone tiles are some of the most expensive and durable floor coverings around. Correctly installed and impregnated, the material can serve for several generations, as it is resistant to frost, water, moisture, mechanical injury and constant pollution. Even if the tile crumbles, damage will be barely noticeable because the stone has a homogeneous structure..

The strength and aesthetics of a stone floor on a balcony is determined not only by the installation and safety method, but above all by the type of stone used. When choosing tiles, beware of porous stones such as marble, limestone or sandstone, which quickly get dirty and wear off. Granite, slate and basalt tiles will work best on a balcony.

Installing stone tiles is similar to installing ceramic tiles. Stone products, however, are definitely harder and heavier than porcelain stoneware or terracotta and therefore more difficult to process. In addition, this material requires the use of a special adhesive solution and stone joints..

Rubber plates

If the balcony is a children’s play area, consider adding rubber planks to it. It is a great material that gives kids a sense of security. Rubber sheets, also called flexible platforms, are soft so they relieve falls. Their advantage is also durability, because the material is resistant to weather conditions, including frost, moisture and ultraviolet radiation. The rubber plates are also maintenance-free. They are very easy to lay directly on the ground..

Rubber plates are a solution used in playgrounds and playgrounds as well as private balconies and terraces. The boards are made of tough yet resilient rubber that cushions falls and does not deform under the weight of the furniture. Thanks to the pleasant-to-touch, non-slip structure, the rubber surface provides ideal conditions for children to play.

Open balcony floor

Rubber slabs are frost-resistant and water-permeable, so they can be used all year round. At the bottom of each unit there is a drainage system that allows water to be drained from the balcony without any problems. Caring for the rubber surface does not create any problems. Every day just wash the floor with water and a mild detergent..

The advantage of rubber plates is that they are easy to install. Safe surfaces can be laid on any level, clean and dry surface. Depending on the method chosen, glue the material to the floor with polyurethane glue or connect it with special dowels and lay it on the floor. Planks can be easily cut with a knife or jigsaw.

Wooden floor on the balcony

A balcony with a wooden floor is a continuation of the interior of the house. Unlike tiles, which are cool, wood gives the impression of being cozy. The wood is warm to the touch, but does not heat up from the sun and does not burn the feet. Children can play safely on a wooden balcony because the material cushions falls and the grooves in the planks provide the floor with good anti-slip properties.

Cleaning your wood floor is as easy as cleaning your tiles. Boards can be damp cleaned with universal (but gentle) cleaning agents. Any dirt must be removed regularly so as not to discolor the material. If the wood is damaged locally, it can be easily repaired. A well-maintained wooden floor ages beautifully and serves households for many years.

When choosing a balcony with a wooden floor, you need to be prepared for additional costs and responsibilities. Wood is sensitive to fluctuations in water, moisture, sun and temperature. If neglected, it becomes a breeding ground for microorganisms, insects and fungi. If the floor was purchased untreated, it must be impregnated and protected with a special agent such as oil. Maintenance operations should be repeated regularly – once or twice a year. Due to the sensitive nature, wood flooring should be on the glazed balcony.

Of course, a lot depends on the type of wood you choose. Exotic species do best outside. They are more expensive than locals, but hard and rich in oils that act as a natural impregnation. An attractive alternative to exotic wood is native wood, which undergoes complex heat treatment to improve material properties.

Due to the demanding nature of the work, wood floors must be done by professionals. In some cases, the thickness of the floor can be a problem. The planks must be installed on beams and washers that fit onto a properly prepared balcony slab. To enable construction, a minimum difference of 6.5 cm between the level of the balcony slab and the exit must be observed.

Resin floor on the balcony with a waterproof coating

Waterproof coatings are ready-made surface treatment systems based on polyurethane resin. Floors made with them combine waterproofing and ancillary functions. Thus, they do not require the use of an additional layer of insulation, which protects the balcony structure from the effects of water and moisture. Systems based on polyurethane resins can be used on concrete and wood substrates, as well as on old ceramic tiles.

Properly applied coatings create a smooth, seamless surface that is easy to clean and washable with all-round cleaners. Unlike other materials, the resin on the balcony is completely waterproof, resistant to moisture, UV radiation and extreme temperatures. Thanks to this, it will work on balconies without a roof..

Bay floor on the balcony

Laying the resin floor on the balcony takes at least a few days. For installation, you will need several ingredients, sold in pre-packaged kits, to be applied to a smooth, clean and even surface in the manner specified by the manufacturer. Between the laying of subsequent layers, it is necessary to maintain technological breaks so that each coating has time to dry and harden well. By using appropriate additives (quartz sand or aggregate), you can give the floor anti-slip properties and enhance its decorative qualities..

Laying individual layers of resin flooring is simple, but must be done with great care. Any mistakes during the pouring phase can deprive the product of its properties and lead to damage to the floor. Instead of applying the coatings yourself, it is much safer to entrust this task to an experienced person..

Artificial grass on the balcony

Artificial grass is another way to quickly arrange a balcony. With its intense color, it brings spring energy to the arrangement. Together with plants, such a floor creates a pleasant green area, which is ideal for relaxation. The surface is soft and pleasant to the touch, and therefore comfortable for children.

Artificial grass is sold in rolls (like regular carpets) or in the form of square tiles. Practical and strength values ​​are determined by the type of foundation used. The balcony grass should have a rubber or latex bottom with water inlets. Before buying, you should watch the product live and touch the green fleece to assess how soft and flexible it is..

We make the original floor on the balcony

Artificial grass on the balcony, especially of the best quality, requires minimal attention. It is resistant to sunlight, moisture, water and extreme temperatures. Thanks to this, the material does not change color, does not grow moldy and does not emit an unpleasant odor. To keep the surface in good condition, all you need to do is vacuum it regularly and rinse it with water and a mild detergent if necessary. Does the artificial grass on the balcony have any drawbacks? Users note that the surface absorbs water in the rain (but dries quickly) and lingers in areas of heavy use.

Artificial grass can be laid on any stable, smooth and clean surface. It is recommended to attach the material to the floor with polyurethane glue or dowels, and attach the edges of the rollers with double-sided tape. This prevents the grass from moving when walking. If you want to consider the flooring as a temporary solution, you can spread it on the floor, pressing down with furniture or large pots..

Warm floor on the balcony

Underfloor heating, which is becoming more and more popular today, is not a new invention. Unlike central heating systems with wall mounted radiators, radiant heating works over the entire floor area. Due to the large heating surface, the outlet temperature of the coolant can be lower than that of conventional radiators. This, in turn, makes it easier to use ecological heat sources such as a heat pump or solar collectors. Underfloor heating can be divided into three types:

  • water;
  • electricity;
  • air.

The decision on which floor will be installed on the balcony depends, among other things, on the amount of available space and financial possibilities. A very important point is also the possibility of installing thermal insulation. A water system requires much more space than an electrical one. To make the right decision, it is worth getting to know the various floor heating systems on the balcony..

Heated water floor

In this case, hot water flows through copper or plastic pipes laid under the floor. Heating pipes lie on a heat-insulating layer and are filled with a screed, on which a decorative layer of ceramic tiles, wood, stone, lining is applied. For this system to work, the boiler must heat the water to the correct temperature. A heated water floor can operate on any type of energy. A gas, oil or electric boiler is suitable, as well as solar collectors or a heat pump. Unlike traditional radiators, surface heating uses water at a much lower temperature, since 50 ° C is sufficient.

Advantages:

  • cooperation with various heat sources;
  • not very high operating costs;
  • uniform heating of the entire room;
  • no visible radiators on the walls.

Disadvantages:

  • high costs of installing a heating system;
  • troublesome and expensive repairs;
  • the need to avoid thick carpets and a large amount of furniture covering the heat source in the floor;
  • Difficulty maintaining the correct temperature in poorly insulated rooms
  • risk of freezing of the installation.

Electric underfloor heating

In this variant of underfloor heating, heating cables or special mats ensure uniform heat transfer to the room. The current flow causes heating of metal elements with a specially selected resistance. The temperature is controlled by sensors and a thermostat. Cables, mats or heating films are installed as heating elements in the floor layer. Their action can be direct or cumulative. In the first case, the heating elements work as soon as the power is turned on. The thermostat turns the power on and off, maintaining the set room temperature. If cables or mat are laid in a screed (7-10 cm), it acts as a heat accumulator.

Advantages:

  • can also be installed in old buildings;
  • can be used in almost any room;
  • transfers heat evenly;
  • installation can be done quickly and inexpensively;
  • does not require protection against leaks or freezing of water;
  • simple control of the installation;
  • no visible heating elements.

Disadvantages:

  • rising electricity prices increase operating costs;
  • floor heating takes a relatively long time.

Air floor heating

This method of underfloor heating was developed in Sweden and has found acceptance in many countries around the world. The Legalett system connects the base slab structure with an air underfloor heating in a closed loop. The heated air is distributed through ducts embedded in the concrete slab. The air ducts form closed circuits under the entire building, and the hob works like a heat accumulator. Before designing a heating system of this type, it is necessary to carefully plan the use of individual rooms and their heat needs. For example, consider separately the living room and balcony, bedroom and pantry, children’s rooms. Proper planning will ensure comfort for years to come.

Advantages:

  • heating the entire building;
  • no visible heating elements;
  • the possibility of heating air, which is a heating factor here, of any source of energy;
  • the construction of the foundation slab protects the building from moisture and fungus;
  • system failure does not risk flooding the apartment or carrying out expensive repairs;
  • the temperature of the floor is 22-24 ° C, which ensures gentle air circulation and reduces the amount of dust and dust mites and thus serves the health of allergy sufferers;
  • very short construction cycle of slab foundation, which reduces costs.

disadvantages – large thermal inertia of the foundation slab, which limits the ability to control the temperature in rooms.

Floor insulation on the balcony

Even minor mistakes made during the thermal insulation and finishing of the balcony can cause moisture and freezing of the building board. To get rid of thermal bridges, you need good design as well as meticulous workmanship..

How to effectively insulate the floor on the balcony with your own hands?

Most balconies are cantilevered structures that are fixed and connected to the ceiling. In brick houses, they are usually reinforced concrete slabs, the reinforcement of which is combined with the ceiling. Unfortunately, such a plate conducts heat very well and thus cools the adjacent ceiling. Additional heat loss is also caused by surfaces surrounding the window and balcony door, including the jamb, lintel and sill area.

Leaving a balcony without insulation is a mistake that leads to uncontrolled heat removal from the house. A heated living room or bedroom clearly feels the intense cooling of the balcony. Water condenses on the cold surfaces of the partitions, which contributes to moisture in the structure. However, it is not so easy to insulate the balcony..

The most popular way to limit the thermal bridge at the junction of the balcony with the wall is to insulate a reinforced concrete slab. Balcony insulation should be installed both on the bottom and on the top surface of the balcony. Then the heat penetrating through the balcony slab through the ceiling wreath has to go a much longer way to get out. Laying insulation only on the underside of the board is a mistake, because heat, finding the shortest path, comes out through the second plane. To prevent the thermal insulation from getting wet, it is necessary to carry out a treatment on the front surface of the balcony slab, which will prevent water leakage under the balcony.

It is not worth saving on thermal insulation. Insulation that is too thin or lacking will lead to thermal bridging. The correct thickness will prevent ceiling cooling and water condensation on the ceiling of the rooms below the terrace. In standard solutions, it is recommended to install about 15 cm of insulating layer on the balcony.

Which floor to choose for the balcony? The times when options were limited to ceramic tiles are long forgotten. Today, you can choose from a variety of materials that combine attractive looks and durability, and meet a wide variety of needs. Do you like frequent metamorphosis? Get to the artificial grass or wooden platform, which is set up in less than an hour. Have you been looking for a solution for years? Choose from stone tiles, composite boards or resin floors while enjoying a modern look.