Summer houses fit for winter too!
At the heart of the Tuchola Forest there lies the picturesque village of Małe Swornegacie. On its outskirts, right by the Karsiński Lake, there is a large holiday resort with a beach, its own pier, a playground, and a camping area. Several-dozen wooden houses scattered among tall pine trees provide accommodation for about 120 tourists during the season.
As in many other similar complexes, the season here does not last long. In the spring, you can expect company events or green schools.
After the four months of holiday occupancy, customers visit much-less frequently. They are enthusiasts of peace and quiet, forest hikers, and mushroom pickers. They would be happy to come visiting until November, but the sleeping accommodation is not prepared for that at the moment. The cottages at the Osada Swory settlement are not insulated, and oil heaters are used for heating. Whether we like it or not, the resort does not generate revenue from September to May, which, however, does not exempt the owners from the liability to incur substantial expenses. To rectify this, the decision was made to break the restrictive bonds of seasonality, and to tempt tourists with the winter charms afforded by Małe Swornegacie.
Winter at the lake
Winter holidays in Kashubia might turn out to be a brilliant idea. For sure, nobody will be bored. You can ice-skate on the frozen surface of the lake, dash on cross-country skis along snowy forest roads, go on sleigh rides, fish under the ice, or go sledding. Thanks to thermal insulation in the cottages, guests coming to the Osada Swory settlement for Christmas or for a New Year's Eve party will also find cosy accommodation.
The Brda houses to be modernised
To start with, three Brda-type cottages were selected for thermal-efficiency improvement, all of which are capable of accommodating up to 6 people. It was decided to carry out comprehensive insulation of the cottages and replace their roofing. It was also opted to renovate their interiors, but maintain their summer style. According to the design, the wooden elements of the rafter framing would remain visible. The internal wall cladding of choice was simple planks painted white. EK-BUD from Chojnice was contracted to revitalise the houses.
Prior to the modernisation
Just as in any other similar type of modernisation, the key issue was to properly assess the technical condition of the buildings. That was the starting point. “Visual inspection showed that the construction of the cottages was surprisingly solid. We did not find that any roofs were leaking. The wooden beams were dry and healthy. The rafter framing did not require any repairs or reinforcements”, explains Mr. Jan Rostankowski, owner of EK-BUD. “The buildings were thoroughly inventoried. All dimensions on the basis of which it was possible to estimate the amount of materials needed were recorded. The contractor also took care of removing the old Eternit shingles from the roof. Finally, all the formalities had yet to be completed, which meant applying for a permit to repair at the District Starosty. Within 30 days, the Office replied that there was no objection to carrying out the work, and then we started to act”, adds Mr. Rostankowski.
The removal of the old roofing
As usually happens in such situations, it started with a major demolition. The Eternit shingles vanished from the roof. Since this material was once produced with the addition of harmful asbestos fibres, special care had to be taken when dismantling it. Because of the permits and experience gained in this type of work, the EK-BUD Company could deal with this issue itself. All waste was packed in tightly closed bags and taken to a special landfill, where it was utilised. Along with the Eternit shingles, wooden battens and counter-battens were also removed. Despite the fact that the uncovered roofing paper was still in excellent condition, an additional layer of it was applied.
The heat insulation of the roofs
We are accustomed to the fact that roofs are insulated from the inside. That's true, but this time the small cubic capacity of the rooms rendered this virtually impossible. The investor also wanted to leave in place the visible fragments of the rafter framing and boarding. It is more convenient to insulate such small roofs from the outside. It is also easier to ensure the continuity and tightness of the insulating layer. Thermano panels were chosen for insulation, because they are made from rigid, hard, and non-absorbent material, and at the same time have excellent thermal-insulation properties. Two layers of panels were applied - 8cm and 5cm thick. They were fixed mechanically, and the contact points were joined with polyurethane foam and special aluminium tape. The disadvantage of insulating the roof from the outside is that this usually involves a significant increase in the thickness of the roof slope. This was not the case here. Thanks to their low λ coefficient, Thermano panels have excellent thermal-insulation properties with much-less thickness than other insulation products. The 13cm-thick layer successfully substitutes for 20cm of foamed polystyrene. The thing about roofs is that are exposed to all harmful weather conditions. They must face rain, snow, hail, storms, frost, and scorching sunlight. The roofing has to survive such conditions and still look beautiful. To finish the roof slope, shingle-shaped metal roofing tiles were chosen, which were fixed to the wooden battens.
Gable walls with new façades
Both gable walls of each house also required insulation. Naturally, Thermano panels were used for insulating as well. Just like on the outside of the roof, they were fixed in two layers to achieve a 13cm-thick insulation. Before assembly, the wall surface was protected with a highly vapour-open membrane. In addition, stainless-steel-angle sections were installed. The vertical posts of the load-bearing grate were screwed to them after the insulating had been completed. A plank-based façade was later nailed perpendicularly to the posts. A ventilation gap with inlets at the bottom of the wall and outlets at the top was left between the planks and the thermal insulation.
Heat from soil
The thermal insulation of houses only makes sense when all external partitions are properly insulated. Moreover, the insulation layers of walls, roofs, and floors, must be tightly bonded together - otherwise there will be gaps or uninsulated areas, which are referred to as thermal bridges. Following the aforementioned theory, Thermano panels were also adhered to the bottom of the buildings. This was possible thanks to the method used to build their foundations. All of them are mounted on foundation pillars, which makes it possible to slip under the building. The panels were fixed with polyurethane glue and mechanically bonded to the substrate. Just as before, the panels were fixed twice - first at a depth of 8cm, then at 5cm.
Ready to welcome guests
The renovation took a little less than two months. During that time, the cottages were insulated, finished from both the outside and the inside, and the roofing was replaced. Thanks to the bright colours and the new wooden furniture, the interiors have taken on a Scandinavian character. The cottages are equipped with electric heating. Kitchens now have ceramic hobs and microwave ovens. Tourists have access to the Internet, thanks to the Wi-Fi network. In every house, there is also a TV set. The terraces, which afford a soothing view of the lake, have also been renovated.