A balcony lets people enjoy fresh air with great views any time. It is an ideal space for light meals, fun conversations, and general relaxation. It also increases property value and aesthetic appeal. That’s why many are thrilled to have this feature in their buildings. However, balconies do create a few structural challenges. They have to be strong and secure to keep people safe, especially in highly elevated locations. Solid support is necessary but it is not enough. They also have to undergo waterproofing for long-term protection. Read on to learn why balcony waterproofing is essential.
1. Exposure to the Elements
Balconies usually lack sufficient cover from the elements. Instead, they are left exposed all year round. This can lead to damage over time. Rain is particularly destructive even if it isn’t always obvious. The moisture can seep in and wreak havoc from the inside. Adding a roof can reduce the problem but water can still enter from the sides when the wind blows. Shielding the entire perimeter isn’t ideal since this would decrease airflow. The best solution is to waterproof the platform itself. By keeping the moisture out, owners can drastically lower the risk of damage without changing the original design.
2. Unsightly Surface Cracks
Concrete is a commonly used material for balcony floors. Among the first signs of water damage for concrete floors is the presence of cracks. They start out thin and barely perceptible but they eventually get thicker as more moisture gets in and the floor swells. Things will only get worse after this since the openings will allow more water to seep through. Surface cracks are quite unsightly and may bother those who yearn for a pristine floor. Of course, it is not just a superficial issue since the blemishes indicate an even deeper problem. Don’t turn a blind eye if you see these. Take action right away.
3. Progressive Structural Weakness
Concrete floors are reinforced by hidden steel bars. These help maintain the shape of the balcony and carry its load. Water can penetrate deep enough to reach these bars and cause corrosion. This will weaken the structure and reduce its load-bearing capacity. Owners will have to be careful when using the balcony when this happens. Heavy items may prove too much for the floor to handle. The same problem can happen with wooden balconies. The structure can rot due to prolonged exposure to the elements. This will weaken the platform year after year. It is important to intervene early with wood because damage tends to accumulate faster. Waterproofing helps to prolong the service life of the material.
4. High Cost of Repairs
Structural damage will be difficult to repair if the problem gets worse. The higher the balcony, the harder it gets to perform the work. Owners will have to pay contractors a large amount of money to fix things given the complexity of the project. It will also be disruptive for the occupants of the affected areas. Repairs can take a while to finish, preventing people from enjoying their usual routines. Waterproofing is cheaper and faster in comparison. It makes financial sense to invest in waterproofing today so that you can avoid expensive repairs tomorrow. Help your future self by being proactive with balcony protection while you have the power to do so.
5. Gradual Seepage Into Walls
Balconies protrude from walls and often hang in the air without columns supporting them underneath. Only the horizontal steel bars provide their rigidity. These are long pieces with much of the length positioned indoors and just a small portion jutting outdoors. The indoor portions can still suffer from corrosion if the water seeps from the balcony into the walls. Then the property owners will face an even bigger problem as weak areas grow larger. Waterproofing the balcony saves them from this massive headache.
6. Danger to the Occupants
A weak balcony is a danger to its occupants. People’s safety is at risk when they continue to use a platform that has suffered from severe water damage. Do not wait for a disaster to happen before making a move. The best way to avoid accidents is to plan ahead and implement proven solutions. It would be smart to water proof the balcony during the initial construction of the building but this does not always happen. The next best thing is to do this during a renovation, along with other changes that you might want for the property.
Now that we have established the importance of waterproofing, we will look into some of the popular approaches used in the industry. These are torch on membrane, liquid membrane, and epoxy coatings. Each of them have their own unique characteristics. Getting familiar with your options will help you choose the right solution for your needs. Experts can also assist you in the selection.
1. Torch on Membrane
This method relies on high heat. A waterproof sheet membrane is laid out on the surface and welded using a torch. The process is able to create a strong bond between the floor and the membrane to prevent water from getting inside. Torch on membrane is an excellent solution for wide areas such as rooftops but it is also suitable for small areas such as balconies. The membrane can cover uncommon layouts with superior customization. Those with uniquely designed properties may find this to be a viable option.
2. Liquid Membrane
Liquid membrane waterproofing is suitable for those who want an easier application process without compromising on the result. The material can be applied on similar surfaces where sheet membranes are used. However, there is no need for torching since the liquid will instantly form a continuous watertight seal with the surface. The membrane is also resistant to ultraviolet light which should help it last longer. Aside from balconies, this may also be used for bathrooms and planter boxes.
3. Epoxy Coatings
These are often used for the protection of industrial floors, garages, and commercial kitchens. However, these should do fine on balconies as well. The coatings come in different colors to match the environment. Various finishes are also available depending on the requirements. For example, there are non-slip options that reduce the risk of accidents. The surface will shrug off stain, heat, impact, and chemicals. If you want an attractive and reliable waterproofing solution, then this is worth a look.
A lot of property owners list their balconies among their favorite spots at home. After all, these are cool, breezy, and relaxing areas. Unfortunately, water can ruin things by creating unsightly cracks and weakening the structure. Repairs may be possible but they cost a fortune. If you want your balcony to stay problem-free, then get it waterproofed as soon as possible. Protect it from the elements and it will reward you with a pleasant living space for years to come.
Find a waterproofing contractor that can provide you with multiple solutions to choose from. Check their past residential and commercial projects to see whether they are the perfect fit for you. You can also ask them to come over to see the balcony and provide estimates. Call today to learn more about balcony waterproofing and get the answers you are looking for.