Renovation – the right approach

Conversion of the old town hall in Noorderwijk, Belgium
Renovation and refurbishment of existing buildings is becoming more and more important these days as space and resources are often limited, especially in urban areas. Adaptations and extensions of buildings as well as attic conversions are a good alternative to new buildings. Refurbishments help us to create more space, reduce energy consumption and preserve our cultural heritage while bringing the building up to latest technical standards. Renovation not only honours the past, it also means looking into the future!

Why renovate?

Our home should be warm and comfortable. It should provide enough room, be beautiful and at the same time functional as well as affordable. Furthermore, it should comply with latest energy standards, be sustainable and save costs. To achieve all that, our home sometimes needs improvement and some work needs to be done.
 
There are plenty of reasons for renovation, among them, most importantly, the enhancement of the living comfort and indoor climate. At the same time, you can reduce your energy consumption and thus save money. It can also be an aesthetic decision, maybe your house needs a facelift and you want to add a new, individual look. When new living space is needed, the modification and extension of an existing building, such as the conversion of the attic, is a good and often financially sound alternative to moving.
 
Whatever your motivation might be, the right approach is always necessary. It is important to first get clear about your needs, your wishes and desires and set your targets. Wienerberger offers the right solution for your demands, with a wide range of products. Clay blocks, bricks and roof tiles are a healthy, natural and smart choice for renovation projects. Clay building materials are infinitely versatile and have a long lifespan. It is definitely a good investment in your future. Choose the right partner for a one-stop solution. Your local Wienerberger organisation supports you with the product choice and a recommendation for the right partners in your area who can perform the work that needs to be done, such as roofers and masons.

The advantages of renovation

Energy efficiency
The most sustainable energy is the one that is not used! The question is how do you make the existing building more energy-efficient? How can you limit your utility bills and also improve the indoor climate to keep it on a high level all year round?
 
We at Wienerberger have looked into this topic in great detail and set up a test site in Belgium. The project comprised the extensive renovation of a detached :home dating from around 1900. After the completion of the refurbishment, studies have been conducted and the results speak for themselves. Through the energy-related renovation of the building envelope, the energy consumption was reduced from 410 to 79 kWh/m², an improvement of about 80%, whereas the cost of renovating and insulating the roof and façade, including new joinery, only amounted to 40% of total renovation costs. This shows that the best and most cost-effective choice is to start with the renovation of the roof and façade.

Create new living space
The available living space just doesn’t suit your needs anymore? Whether your family has grown, you start working from home and need a quiet office or you need more room for your new hobby, interests and visions. There are plenty of reasons why an extension is required.
The conversion of the attic to create new living space is often the most evident solution. A pitched roof provides this additional space. This conversion should go hand in hand with a thermal insulation of your roof to keep the new living space warm and improve the energy efficiency, as well as to bring your roof up to latest standards with increased safety and an extended lifespan.
 
When it comes to renovating your roof, Wienerberger offers high-quality roofing components that are extremely robust and withstand all weather conditions, such as storm and snow. Fulfil your dreams with the large variety of available clay roof tile shapes, colours and surfaces, as well as the perfectly coordinated roof system accessories. Ask the roofer you trust, visit the nearest showroom or have a look at your national Wienerberger website to see the complete range and latest trends, for example the beautiful flat roof tiles that can be applied for the renovation of your roof as well as on your façade.
 
Of course, there is also the option to extend your house into the garden, or even add an additional floor. How to create more space with finesse can be found in this beautiful example of the conversion of an old single-family house in Switzerland into a modern, elegant townhouse.

Aesthetics – a new appearance
We want to feel good in our homes and, aside from that, our friends and families should feel comfortable and admire our home, too. Besides being warm and having the space we need, the charisma of our home, its look and feel, should therefore reflect our personality.
What needs to be considered to achieve this distinct personal look and “feelgood” atmosphere? Colours make a big difference and, of course, the material surrounding us. Additionally, you should also consider the daylight and the room layout.
 
When it comes to aesthetics, the external appearance is also very important. Due to the wide range of colours and shapes, bricks and clay roof tiles are perfectly suited for the expression of individual wishes. What astonishing effect the renovation using ceramic materials such as glazed facing bricks and roof tiles can achieve, is illustrated by the earth-friendly WWF building in the Netherlands.

Investment
Renovation sometimes asks for long-term planning if all requirements, for example flexibility in usage, aesthetics and sustainability targets, as well as regulations have to be met, while staying within the available budget. It is not only an investment in your quality of life but also in the building itself, as it increases the value of the property and extends its lifespan.
 
In addition, long-term savings can be achieved through reduced energy consumption, lower utility bills and lower maintenance costs in the future. Building materials made of clay are hard-wearing and robust and thus especially durable. Hardly any repair and maintenance costs are incurred and the value of your building is not only retained but can be expected to increase. 
In short, ceramic building materials have many advantages when it comes to renovation. In addition to single products, Wienerberger provides complete solutions, which guarantee a sustainable, energy-efficient and aesthetic renovation. Visit your local Wienerberger website to see the wide product spectrum.

Product News

Wienerberger is constantly striving for new solutions and new product developments. One of the latest developments is the Poroton-WDF thermal insulation system, developed by Schlagmann in Germany, a joint venture of Wienerberger. It is a solid slim brick filled with Perlite, which is a natural, mineral fibre-free insulating material. Poroton-WDF has especially been developed for energy-related internal and external refurbishment of existing buildings. It is simple to apply, especially when used as internal insulation, provides high levels of fire protection, and is very durable and ecologically friendly.
One example of how this new product is applied is demonstrated with the refurbishment of a listed building in Germany.

State-of-the art product technologies can also be found among the latest innovations in the field of roof accessories, such as the Koramic AluGrip-Rol, which represents a new generation of ridge & hip rolls. Tensile strength test results show three times higher bond strength on ceramic surfaces compared to the commercial standard.
Another development is the enhancement of the fastening system: Sturmfix 2.0. It provides maximum storm safety for the roof and can be removed easily if necessary. As a result, it facilitates repairs and refurbishment such as the subsequent installation of a dormer.

Demolish or renovate?

Finally, if the existing building is in poor condition, the question will definitely come up: renovate or demolish and build new? To come to a decision, different factors have to be considered: your aims, desires, the state of the building and the investment involved. A general rule is that renovation makes sense as long as renovation costs are lower than 80% of the newly built value.
Another question is whether your expectations and changes are feasible with the existing building. What is the architectural value of the building and, last but not least, what is the emotional value that you connect with the existing building? Often it is advantageous to involve an architect to help you with this decision, who will be able to tell you what the technical options are, what costs are involved and compare it to the construction of a new home.

 

Related expertise articles