Facade renovation: wrapped up against icy sea winds

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Exposed to drizzle, cold winds and humidity, the facades of seashore buildings are under enormous stress. In two tenement buildings in the seaside district of Katajanokka, in Helsinki, water has penetrated the wall structures. The facades will now be renewed to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Last October, Consti began renovating the facades of two residential buildings owned by the City of Helsinki. Instead of just looking rundown, their facades had bigger problems: moisture had caused damage to the brick walls and joints.

“Rainwater had gotten into the insulating materials and even the flats. Patching the joints would have been a waste of money, so we decided to find a permanent solution,” says Project Manager Erkki Mieskonen from the Helsinki Housing Production Department (ATT).

The new facade solution includes a better ventilated wall structure and modern, water-repellent thermal insulation. Particular attention is being paid to joints, connections and other small but important details in the facade.

“As an added bonus, the facade will become more energy efficient as a result of using better insulating materials, replacing the windows and improving the tightness of the envelope,” Mieskonen says.

Building wraps provide protection against the weather

Facade renovation is a big challenge in freezing cold weather with icy sea winds. To fight the weather conditions, it is important to have efficient protective coverings, good heating and warm clothes for the workforce.

The client also insisted on wrapping up the building so that the moisture from water and snow will not penetrate the exposed walls. All tenants have moved out of the buildings, which has made the work much easier to complete. It would have been challenging to maintain good living conditions throughout the comprehensive renovation project.

“The project involves renewing the exterior masonry walls that have been constructed on the site as well as replacing the insulating materials, windows, doors and sheet metal roofs. The terraces and balconies will be renovated and glazing will be installed. Inside the flats, we will redo the floors, paint other surfaces and conduct HVAC work. The yards will also be renovated,” says Project Manager Marko Kahilainen from Consti Building Facades, listing the various tasks included in the project.

“Tenants will be able to move into the first building in the summer of 2016, and the whole project will be completed in early summer of 2017.”

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KATAJANOKKA FACADE RENOVATION

  • Location: Merisotilaankatu 2–3, Helsinki, Finland
  • Two tenement buildings with a total of 90 flats
  • Buildings constructed in 1984
  • Project duration: from October 2015 to June 2017
  • Contract value: EUR 6 million

INCREASING BUILDING COMFORT AND VALUE

1. MORE SPACE BY EXTENDING THE BALCONIES

When balcony structures are renewed in connection with a facade or balcony renovation, it pays to consider extending the balconies, which is feasible in most buildings. The additional cost of making the balconies 20–50 centimetres wider is minimal. Extra space and modern glazing systems create a cosy extension to the living room.

2. FACADE IS AN INDICATOR OF VALUE

Residents and passers-by form their first impression of a building by looking at its facade. How about changing the building’s colour and giving the surface a new look with wood or stone materials? A beautiful facade, good connections, proper lighting and a well-maintained yard all have a significant impact on the value of the building and the area.

3. RENOVATION IS REFLECTED IN HEATING COSTS

In connection with a facade renovation, it is natural and economically sensible to make the building more energy efficient. Draughty old windows and poor thermal insulation are energy guzzlers. Replacing them with modern solutions will significantly reduce heating bills, meaning that the facade renovation will immediately begin paying for itself.

4. INDOOR AIR QUALITY ALSO DEPENDS ON THE FACADE

Typical ventilation systems in flats only remove air, meaning that make-up air flows in through windows, letterboxes or – in the worst case – the structures of the building. This could cause mould problems. In a facade renovation, fresh air vents can be added to windows or walls, enabling an increased and controlled intake of fresh air. Make-up air can also be preheated before it enters a room, reducing the feeling of draught.

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