• LT Articles
  • 10/29/2021

The most popular myths about apartment buildings: what is true and what is not?

According to the data of the Lithuanian Department of Statistics, apartment buildings account for 45%. the total registered residential area in the country. However, a large part of the apartments where Lithuanians live was built several decades ago, following completely different standards than today. It also affects some of the common, but often incorrect, beliefs about apartment buildings today. Gytis Jakučionis, YIT Lietuva's real estate business manager, says that these beliefs have little in common with the residential houses being built today.

No need for grilles on the windows to feel safe

Some of the most common myths about apartment buildings are related to the apartments on the first and last floors of the house. For example, the apartments on the ground floors are considered to be exceptionally unsafe, an image reinforced by the still appearing views of older apartment buildings or balconies with grilles. G. Jakučionis, the head of real estate business at YIT Lietuva, says that such drastic and aesthetically unattractive solutions are no longer needed in new modern apartment buildings, as security is still being considered when designing a house.

"Although in the past the ground floor apartments may have seemed an easier target for criminals, today the situation has changed. Modern apartment blocks are often fenced, and their courtyards are usually accessible only to residents, thanks to electronic locks. In addition, home access, parking lots and underground garages are in most cases equipped with security cameras and adequate lighting. The staircases of houses usually have reliable code locks, and the windows, balconies and terraces of the first floor apartments are also subject to higher security standards, they are often glazed, ”says G. Jakučionis.

Heating bills don’t always bite

Another popular myth about apartment buildings is related to the belief that the ground floor apartments are colder and the upper floors are extremely hot in the summer. According to G. Jakučionis, old apartment buildings, which were built without ensuring adequate thermal insulation properties, are also "to blame" for this common myth.

"Today, all newly built apartment buildings must be at least A ++ energy efficiency class, but in the Soviet era and in the period of independence before 2006, apartment buildings usually do not reach even C energy efficiency class. Thermal insulation standards and energy consumption in such apartment buildings can be several times lower than in modern apartment buildings. Correspondingly, more is paid for their heating. It is enough to compare the energy efficiency of energy efficiency class A and B buildings, which differs approximately twice - undoubtedly in favor of class A, ”says the head of real estate business at YIT Lietuva.

Myths are destroyed by effective thermal insulation

The manager notes that in old blocks of flats, ground-floor apartments can indeed be colder, as insufficient insulation causes significant heat loss through the floor and moisture penetrates from the basement to the premises. In modern apartment buildings, this is avoided by installing reliable thermal insulation, which ensures that the apartment is warm in winter, regardless of the floor.

“Effective thermal insulation solutions also ensure that top-floor apartments do not get too hot from a sun-heated roof in the summer. Residents of older apartment buildings can also face this problem, as the roof of a house often heats up to 60 degrees or more on a hot day, and in the absence of a reliable insulating barrier, some of this heat can enter the apartment. In modern multi-apartment buildings, the apartments on the upper floors can be unusually warm only when more direct sunlight enters the interior, ”says G. Jakučionis.

Moisture problems are avoidable

According to him, for the thermal insulation of walls and floors today, effective thermal insulation materials are used, such as mineral wool, polystyrene and polyurethane foams, etc., the need and quantity of which are assessed during design. At that time, as before, liquid lubricated and rolled bitumen-based waterproofing is mostly used for roofs, but today, due to the application of more advanced technologies, they are much higher quality and more durable. Heat-reflecting white PVC coatings are also used today for roof insulation.

"One of the reasons why residents often avoid buying apartments on the last floors of apartment buildings is the belief that moisture will enter the house from the roof or even rainwater will flow. Such problems should not arise in a well-equipped apartment building. Nowadays, the roofs of modern apartment buildings are often even planted, terraces are installed on them and there are no problems with access to water in the apartments. Properly installed roof or terrace construction with the necessary waterproofing materials and ventilation ducts to remove condensate prevents water from entering the premises. Even if certain roof defects occur, they are effectively removed by the warranty services, ”notes G. Jakučionis.

According to him, according to the hygiene norms in force in Lithuania, the temperature in the living quarters during the cold season should be 18–22 degrees and 35–60%. relative humidity. In summer, the temperature should not fall below 18 degrees and should not rise above 28 degrees, and the relative humidity should be between 35% and 65%. limits. True, the manager notes that the solutions installed in the apartments today - adjustable heating with individual accounting, advanced air conditioning systems - give a lot of freedom to residents to control the microclimate of the house and choose the most comfortable conditions.

There is no need to sacrifice heat due to the large windows

One of the advantages that residents are looking for when buying a home today is the windows that provide beautiful panoramas and a lot of natural light. However, there are some fears associated with large windows for home buyers. According to G. Jakučionis, they are also determined by thinking through the prism of outdated standards.

"It is true that the thermal conductivity of windows is higher compared to wall constructions. Today, however, high-quality housing projects use highly efficient windows with multiple glazing units. The thermal insulation properties of such windows are several times better than those used in the construction of apartment buildings several decades ago. During the modeling, the required heat resistance parameters are calculated and the solutions that ensure them are selected. Therefore, when buying an apartment in high-class projects, there is no need to fear that large windows will worsen the energy efficiency of the home, ”says G. Jakučionis.

According to him, the same applies to balconies, which are often glazed and allow residents to make full use of this space according to their needs and install almost additional living space in them. According to the head of YIT Lietuva's real estate business, today you can choose truly advanced glass with solar control and heat retention-reflection function for glazing balconies.

The quality cartel is getting higher and higher

G. Jakučionis notes that, in general, apartment buildings of block construction are still often undeservedly associated with the constructions of the past, which have nothing to do with the modern residential houses being built today. The constructions of the new generation of reinforced concrete elements used in their construction ensure not only much higher energy efficiency of the building, but also reliable sound insulation, more convenient layout of the apartments, and the possibility to use modern heating and ventilation solutions.

"In addition, more sustainable materials are being used to build new apartment buildings, and the construction itself is progressing much faster. The required building parameters are ensured by using multi-layer blocks. Their preparation in the factory, rather than on the construction site, avoids defects and inaccuracies, and reduces energy and water costs. Digital construction models also help to ensure higher apartment building quality and smoother construction. Comparing the block of flats built in the Soviet era or even in the 90s and at the very beginning of this century with the current ones is the same as comparing the first "button" mobile phone models with today's smartphones, "says G. Jakučionis.