What is a “cold bridge”?

The thermal bridge (cold bridge) helps to cool the structure, and can also cause serious damage to its structure. The first symptom of the formation of a cold bridge in construction is dampness of the walls and the formation of mold. To prevent this from happening, thermal bridges should be prevented at the design stage of the building..

What is a thermal bridge?

Thermal bridge is a building partition element with a higher thermal conductivity coefficient. When there is a difference in temperature inside and outside, this partition cools down. Increased uncontrolled heat loss occurs through the cold bridge. The larger the thermal bridge, the stronger the cooling inside the building. This phenomenon carries the risk of water vapor after exceeding the dew point, which in turn leads to dampness on the walls and, over time, even to the appearance of fungi or mold..

Where cold bridges form in a frame house?

There are many reasons for the formation of cold bridges. One of them is errors during the construction of a building in the form of a violation of the integrity of the insulation. Errors are primarily associated with incorrect placement of windows, incorrectly installed window frames and an irregular shape of the structure’s body. Thermal bridges are usually found in building junctions that connect building elements, in places where the roof and external walls join, a balcony with a ceiling, lintels, basement walls. Cold bridges are also often formed during insulation..

Thermal bridge – threats

Temperature bridges are consequences that can be extremely burdensome. First of all, it causes heat loss, which leads to a negative heat balance. In turn, energy losses can significantly increase building maintenance costs..

Another risk associated with thermal bridging is the cooling of the building envelope. As a result of temperature differences, water vapor can condense, and a humid environment promotes the development of mold, which not only looks unattractive, but also affects the health of households: it can aggravate or cause allergies, rheumatic diseases or respiratory diseases.

The thermal bridge can damage the structural elements of the building. An example is the point of contact of the balcony slab with the ceiling. The temperature ceiling in the room is in contact with the balcony, the temperature of which changes depending on the weather conditions. The temperature difference at the interface between these two elements can cause cracks and scratches on the balcony slab. It is difficult to eliminate cold bridges in a house made of aerated concrete, which has already been put into operation, the stage of building design is extremely important.

Cold bridges and their elimination

The location of the jumpers can be examined using thermography. This method is based on infrared imaging and registration of thermal radiation emanating from the building, and also allows you to accurately measure the temperature of the object. If after such visualization we already know that there is definitely a cold bridge in our house, we should get rid of mold and moisture. Then you need to check the state of the structure. If it turns out that there are defects or cracks in it, they should be repaired as soon as possible. The last step is to insulate the building where it is needed..

Before removing the cold bridges, it is important to initially ensure that the ceilings and roofs are properly insulated. Any cracks in the insulation must be smoothed out. At the same time, continuous insulation of all structural elements must be maintained. Good basement insulation is also important. It must be done externally and internally. Replacing traditional balconies with self-supporting or suspended structures has a positive effect on the condition of the building. It is also worth using a balcony connector designed for thermal insulation..

Another important issue is proper window protection. It is important to install them in a layer of insulation so that the thermal insulation material overlaps the window frames. It is necessary to carry out not only warm installation of windows and doors, but also to equip the so-called warm window sills.

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