The terrace: an added value to our homes, a view of the world, sometimes a dream. A beautiful terrace opens the mind, relaxes the nerves, broadens the view, even when it is not huge, but perhaps has a beautiful view.
However, getting started on the project of building your own terrace can seem quite overwhelming. Therefore, in the following article, you will find 7 valuable and simple tips on how to build your dream terrace.
Structural elements of the terrace
The structure of a terrace is composed of various elements, sometimes even invisible to the eye, and others that make it a jewel of aesthetics. Here are some elements of a terrace, starting from the bottom:
- The insulation: waterproofing is a must
- The pavement, which can be chosen in different materials and in many colors
- The parapet, which can be a wall or a railing or even a balustrade
- The light and water connections, which are mandatory when the terrace exceeds certain dimensions
- The lighting, with lamps, lanterns, or spotlights
1. Thermal Insulation
Applying thermal insulation is necessary when there are inhabited rooms underneath the terrace, to limit temperature exchange. Thermal insulation should be applied first, under the layer of waterproofing, which in turn is located below the flooring. Of course, the specific type of thermal insulation to be used should be chosen on a case-by-case basis. According to thermal performance and dimensional stability, as well as the load to be borne and its compatibility with the waterproofing, the requirements can change.
2. Waterproofing the terrace
Waterproofing a terrace is a must for a fundamental reason: to protect the lower floors from water infiltration, which occurs especially at the junctions between the sheets and the water outflow openings, where thermal and hygrometric variations can cause cracks. Infiltrations can result from two specific cases:
- Bad weather, temperature changes and rain
- Plants that decorate the terrace and that must be watered regularly
3. Terrace pavement
Above the waterproofing, a layer of cement is placed “weakly reinforced”, a screed in which a welded mesh is embedded. It is on this layer that the flooring is finally placed. To choose the type of floor, it is necessary to consider some fundamental limitations:
- the weight that the flooring will have to bear
- the need to protect the waterproofing membrane
- the need to limit thermal excursion
Therefore, it is usually recommended to get advice from the person who carried out the waterproofing work, who will also be the person to do the actual paving. He or she can tell you best, which type of floor to choose. In general, the characteristics for the flooring of a terrace are:
- light colors, to limit overheating in the summer period
- resistant materials
- frost-proof materials
- non-slippery materials
4. Light and water connections on the terrace
On terraces, it is necessary to provide a water connection and drainage; if the surface exceeds 50 square meters, you need at least two. In particular, to prevent the water that accumulates on the terrace due to weathering and watering from getting into the house, it is important that the slope of the terrace is no less than 1%.
It is also necessary to provide an electrical outlet – and at least two if you exceed 50 square meters – for irrigation and lighting systems. The ideal would be to provide an autonomous electrical system outside, to prevent damage to the interior of the apartment in case there are short circuits outside, due to frequent contact with water.
5. Terrace lighting
To illuminate terraces, wall lamps are generally used: ceiling lights or lanterns, applied to the wall, (those in wrought iron and glass, reminiscent of Victorian architecture, or those similar to streetlamps, are the most aesthetically pleasing choices and also the most used) are ideal solutions. The number and power of the used bulbs vary depending on the size of the surface to be illuminated and usually do not fall below 130 W each.
6. Parapets for safety
Parapets are a must depending on where your terrace is located. If you decide to build a rooftop terrace, it is important to have some type of protection, especially for small children who might lean out. And to make sure the foundation of your terrace is stable, you might consider using anti-slip pads.
Decorations are the final touch that makes a terrace welcoming. Analyze the spaces! This is the first rule to keep in mind when you want to decorate a terrace. If you want to furnish an uncovered terrace and recreate an exotic environment, it is best to focus on warm colors. A self-respecting terrace cannot miss a corner of greens because they create shade and help make the space more livable.
If you are looking for ideas for the perfect terrace, you should of course also keep in mind that the spaces we describe may differ from those you have at your disposal. If you are planning to build a terrace, we recommend that you consult an expert who can point you in the right direction and tailor it to your needs.