by Janice Anderssen
Home layouts are evolving to cater more for modern individuals whose lifestyles centre on family, work and entertainment. The ever-increasing need to balance these elements is seeing more families opting for open plan homes where light and views across living areas are free flowing. While this is conducive to contemporary living, it also means a less cosy environment in colder months, where cold air and noise can flow freely too.
Ian Winroth, head of sales at leading interior building solutions group, Saint-Gobain Gyproc says heating and cooling homes with open floor plans can be challenging but you don’t have to give up comfort for space. “An open plan home needn’t mean giving up the creature comforts of a warm quiet living space during cooler months,” he says.
According to a recent survey by Saint-Gobain, acoustic and thermal comfort is important to 91% of respondents and people want their homes to be quiet and consistently temperate all year round.
Traditional heating methods such as underfloor heating, gas or wood fireplaces or gas heaters will always be popular, but Winroth suggests it’s worth making improvements to your ceiling, which will not only enhance interior comfort but also add value to your home. Your decisions should be driven by three main considerations: thermal, acoustic and aesthetic comfort.
1. Thermal comfort
Plasterboard together with non-combustible insulation installed in your ceiling will maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home by creating a heat flow barrier between the roof tiles and the ceiling. Enhancing thermal properties means that your house will be warm in winter and cool in summer, which is not only important for health, well-being and productivity at home but it’s kind to the environment as well. As temperature differences reduce, less energy is required and your home will become more energy efficient, which will lead to reduced electricity costs over the long run.
Block out unwanted noise and enhance those sounds you desire and need to hear. Protection from external noise adds to the sense of security and privacy in your home, enhancing overall comfort. Sound can affect our mood and wellbeing, and so if your household is busy with multi-functional spaces and several activities co-existing – and especially if you have an open plan design – it’s beneficial to manage acoustics.
3. Aesthetic comfort
Homes that look better and feel better can add to the overall sense of comfort so use components that are designed to work together as a system for a seamless finish. The concealment of joints and boards is important for aesthetic comfort and can be achieved by using the right combination of weights, drywall screws, tape and plaster. A flush plaster finish will give you a luxurious, completed look that’s visually appealing so don’t skip this element. Also be sure to add a cornice to the perimeter of the room, using adhesive for a unified look between wall and ceiling.
“As humans, we can make changes to ensure physical and sensory comfort in our homes but the most important consideration in enhancing our own urban habitat, is to ensure we doesn’t harm the environment.”
“So embrace the mobility and flexibility of an open plan space this winter, but do so in a way that is kind to the environment too,” Winroth concludes.
RhinoBoard and RhinoLite products are a good example of materials that add value to the environment. Consuming these products also has a direct positive impact on rhino conservation as a percentage of profits goes to SANParks Honorary Rangers to support anti-poaching efforts.