An effective counter measure to prevent thermal bridges at balcony connections

10 dicembre 2007
Balconies and other cantilever construction elements which project through the building envelope and break the insulation layer are of course notorious for creating thermal bridges. When the outside temperature drops, the connection point of the cantilever element inside the building will also experience a dramatic temperature decrease, leading to mould and condensation forming. The mould formation appears first, as its formation temperature is approximately 3°C higher than the condensation temperature. Sustained exposure to condensation, will lead to serious plaster and paintwork deterioration and mould growth is known for its health hazard, being one of the major sources of respiratory allergies such as asthma.

There are basically two types of thermal bridges. Geometric thermal bridges, where part of the structure projects through the building envelope and material thermal bridges where materials with different conductivity are used in combination. In the case of non-insulated balcony slab connections, the combination of the geometric thermal bridge (”cooling fin” effect of the balcony slab) and the material thermal bridge which is created due to the material used (reinforced concrete slab with good thermal conductivity) protruding through the insulated facade, results in a substantial flow of heat, which means that the non-insulated balcony connection is one of the most critical thermal bridges in the building envelope.

There are not too many counter measures that can be taken, but a particularly effective solution that has a number of unique dimensions, is the Isokorb® thermal break range from Schöck. Due to their thermal insulation properties, the Schöck Isokorb modules dramatically reduce thermal energy loss in connective areas by guaranteeing the homogeneity of the thermal envelope between cantilever structures and the internal floor. However, in addition, they also transfer load and maintain full structural integrity, while at the same time enable inner surface area temperatures to remain well in excess of those likely to cause mould formation and condensation – both of which are completely eliminated in room areas adjacent to the balconies.

In addition to its exceptional thermal performance ratings, the Schöck Isokorb range is also unique. It is the only range to offer thermal break solutions for connections between concrete-to-concrete, concrete-to-steel and steel-to-steel. It is an extensive range too. With over 250 standard solutions it enables accurate compliance with the structural requirements, giving complete freedom of design in the planning and construction phases of thermally efficient private or public sector buildings. Most Isokorb modules can be tailored to suit practically any application. Already market leader in Europe, where more than 9 million units have been installed since its introduction, just over twenty years ago, the Schöck Isokorb remains the most advanced, high performance thermal break module available.

Schöck offers fully comprehensive design, technology and consultancy services on all aspect of the company’s products. From project inception, through to on-site construction, the Schöck team is on hand to help identify the most cost-effective solution and can provide calculations using the latest application technology, detailed drawings and general advice on any issues relating to thermal bridging solutions.

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