Remedial Waterproofing for Balconies: Fixing Balcony Leaks
Most people will agree that having a balcony is a nice outdoor area. This is because it provides not only access to vistas and fresh air for people but also a place for us to relax after a long day. However, if the balcony starts to leak, things might quickly go wrong.
Since the majority of people believe that a balcony is separate from the home’s main structure, waterproofing issues on a tiled balcony that leaks provide some of the most challenging leaky balcony repairs.
Let’s look at certain leaks’ warning signs, root causes, and how waterproofing your balcony might help.
What Causes a Balcony to Leak?
We have broken up the causes for balcony leaks in the following: Issues occur quickly after construction, Issues occur after a year and Things that lend themselves to failure but don’t cause it:
Balcony Leaks & Failures Occur Immediately or shortly after construction:
Workmanship mistake. Workmanship mistakes are only really responsible for less than 10% of leaking balconies. Still, they can be brought on by a variety of factors, including improper membrane selection for the location and penetrations in the membrane that can range in size from small (like a nail on the bottom of your shoe) to large (like balustrade holes that are not properly waterproofed after they have been cut in).
Damaged membrane. In some instances, a deck resurfacing team will follow all the necessary procedures where the scratch out the existing grout and replace it, yet the finished project will still have significant leak problems. The primary reason? The waterproof membrane has failed!
Incorrect flashing, Flashing, which is essentially just a sheet of metal, is frequently utilized in home buildings whenever there is a seam where water can enter. It usually goes under doors, around the chimney and skylights on a roof. It will be erected around the balcony’s edge as well as any columns that frame the balcony on your property.
However, with most older jobs that we attend flashing is missing from under the doors just leaving a gaping hole. But the Clear Waterproofing Membrane in conjunction with the Remedial Membranes SMX Hybrid caulk can waterproof the bottoms of doors where flashing has been forgotten overcoming issues.
Balcony Leaks & Failures Occur Immediately after a year or two after construction
Movement. We are currently living in accelerated weather events as changes affect our climate. We are having more periods of drought, flood, cyclones, earthquakes, hail, etc. all these events affect the foundations of our homes and create movement; although our homes are built to move without cracking, our solid-based wet areas are not.
Lack of maintenance. Regular maintenance in the form of inspections and remedial waterproofing allows you to identify faults early and prevent serious problems like concrete cancer. Small leaks and cracks should be repaired soon away because water damage can worsen very quickly and cause serious issues. It’s also advised to maintain the seals on your wall systems, doors, and windows. The danger that it will become a significant issue is reduced by checking balconies, roofs, windows, cracks, and leaks as soon as you become aware of them and by being proactive with the repair.
Higher level issues. When it comes to waterproofing failure, higher floors in multilevel buildings can be challenging. The higher the building the more the movement, the more the movement the quicker the failure of the waterproofing membrane. Timber framed dwellings above 2 story can be particularly bad. Waterproofing for balcony failure can also be caused by all of the above but the majority is caused by movement.
Things that lend themselves to failure but don’t cause it
No slope. A balcony that has been adequately waterproofed would often have a very slight slope, to aid in the drainage of water. This slope should encourage water to flow away from the house and doorway and down the drain to avoid even worse issues.
While a deck that has been properly waterproofed can endure standing water without any problems, this could result in premature failure if another problem develops. You may avoid numerous problems that sometimes arise by slightly sloping the deck, and you won’t have to worry about water puddles on your balcony.
Stone Tiles. Stone tiles hold moisture like a rigid sponge just waiting for a crack to appear for water to start tracking down to your dry plasterboard. Although No slope (ponding water), and stone tiles make a situation worse they can only cause an issue when the membrane has failed the outstanding cause of membrane failure is Movement!
How to Prevent Leaks on a Balcony
Balconies are susceptible to water leaks since they are frequently exposed to the weather. Each building materials used on the balcony has a different rate of contraction and expansion creating movement. Stone tiles will expand in the heat more than porcelain and wet stone tiles even more. Framed balcony construction has significantly more movement than a concrete slab and in our opinion is the reason for the majority of failures. Waterproofing even class 3 membranes which are standard need a void in order to elongate but waterproofing membranes are direct fixed meaning when the movement of the framed construction occurs it doesn’t have the ability to move with it and failures occur.
In order to prevent leaks, in our opinion a heavy-duty builders plastic like a pond liner should be used under the sand/cement screed ensure the screed is not fastened to the cement sheeting below. Followed up with a suitable waterproofing membrane on top of the screed, together with proper drainage and separation from the building’s interior components. The external height of the balcony should be lower than the internal height.
If you find any of the following; notice a water leak on your balcony to find any anomalies or maintenance problems. Cracked or missing grout, water stains on the interior or exterior ceiling, difficulty opening or shutting balcony doors, peeling or broken paint, and weak structural joints in balcony railings and supports are all signs that something is wrong. Contact Remedial Waterproofing Association teams of Installers who are Accredited in Remedial Waterproofing. Get a professional to talk to you about your options which includes over-tile waterproofing.
What Should You Watch Out For To Avoid Balcony Leaks?
Due to their frequent exposure to the outdoors, balconies are prone to water leaks. Each balcony’s construction is distinct, and the risk of water entry is increased if waterproofing for external balcony techniques doesn’t take into account the balcony design.
In order to prevent leaks, balconies need to be properly waterproofed, isolated from the building’s interior parts, and have the necessary waterproofing membrane installed. Even then due to the increased extreme weather events movement can occur. The biggest problem is that all the elements of the constructions configuration; the tiles, grout, sand cement screed, concrete slab or timber frame they are all built to last the lifetime of the home but the waterproofing membrane as a limited life span of usually only 10 years. Waterproofing membrane that are installed inside the building envelope or under the tiles are inaccessible for repair. Top coat waterproofing membrane remove the issues making damage easy to identify and easy to repair.
Perform a complete inspection and assessment to find any abnormalities or maintenance problems as soon as you notice a leaky balcony. Remember if your balcony is leaking your waterproofing membrane has failed. Additional things to watch out for are:
- missing or cracked grout
- water stains on the inside ceiling or the underside of the balcony
- issues with closing and opening balcony doors
- split or peeling paint
- Weak structural joints in the posts and railing of the balcony
- Swelling of masonry
The best course of action if you think your balcony is leaking is to call a professional to come and assess the area and outline what is possible so you can move forward without the stress of a lengthy drawn out costly repair.
How Are Leaking Balconies Usually Repaired?
The best course of action for balcony leak repairs is not to put it off. Leaks can be fixed if the damage has not progressed into structural damage. So the key is don’t delay.
The old way to repair a leaking balcony is to remove all the tiles down to the cement sheeting or concrete waterproofing and re-tile. But with, the movement being created is outside the scope of the warranty of the new product. Reinstalling the membrane below the tiles means you could be in the same situation again at the next weather event but without a warranty.
Most of the time, the tiles are in good shape because they are made to endure the lifetime of the building. Since they don’t want to remove good tiles to access a failing membrane, remedial waterproofing and the application of an over tile waterproofing membrane are the most suitable options. The usual way to repair a leaky balcony is to use a Clear Waterproofing Membrane which is applied over the tiles because the balcony is obviously utilized for entertainment, and the owners don’t want a block color membrane covering it. Instead, they want the tiles to stay as they are.
If you have a failed waterproofing membrane than you need to find a product that works for remedial waterproofing. Clear Waterproofing Membrane is just that product. Clear Waterproofing Membrane is a 2 part aliphatic polyurethane. Aliphatic means that you can walk on it and polyurethanes’ are used for waterproofing all over the world as they provide a good amount of flexibility. Remedial Membranes provides full helpdesk support so if you want to repair it DIY you can. Or if you don’t have the time than contact Remedial Membranes Accredited Installer. They are licensed/experienced tradesman with training using the Clear Waterproofing Membrane.
Other countries are aware of this and require the membrane to be left accessible and to be the top coat of the balcony. This reduces the cost of known rectification works in the future as the membrane is the most fragile component of the construction configuration. The tile, the timber frame or the concrete slab, the screed and adhesives, all these materials will last the life of the home waterproofing which is below the tiles usually has an approx. the time span of 10 years.
Waterproofing Systems for Balconies
- Balcony spaces are exposed to extreme weather conditions; therefore, the likelihood of failure is great if they are installed improperly or if increased movement occurs.
- Balcony membrane, surface repairs and changes form a crucial and important aspect of the building envelope and should be considered before commencing.
- Waterproofing for rooftop balcony surfaces and balconies with rooms below should be a well-thought-out process that does not depend solely on cost.
- The best scenario is for membranes to be built correctly from the start and with high-quality materials, as inadequate balcony waterproofing can cause severe water damage to the structures below and possibly cause them to collapse completely.
Waterproofing Details for Balconies
- Balcony membranes call for a system of membranes that offers a permanent water barrier to all wall upturns, the floor, around drains, the balustrade, and any other sources of penetration, among other places.
- Water must be kept from entering beneath the balcony’s surface, where it can cause hidden structural damage that worsens over time.
- Water can go a long way after entering an area.
- Building movement—the typical cyclical expansion and contraction of materials—is a fundamental construction element.
- Along with the balcony construction, the waterproof membrane must likewise bend and move with the surrounding building envelope.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Leaking Balcony?
Waterproofing is a very hard process and involves the use of jackhammers continuous and then the removal of the materials, which can either be removed by use of a slide if there is room into a skip bin but usually in a residential setting the only way is to carry it out with buckets through the house. Then, all the new materials need also to be brought back in and re-laid. As guessed, this is a tedious and arduouss task for both the homeowner and the tradesman. Those tasks come with hefty price tags, along with weeks of work that can be prolonged due to the weather. So, a balcony redo of waterproofing and tiles can easily run in the tens of thousands.
Evaluating If Remedial Waterproofing Is Needed
The plumbing system, as well as areas like windows that are immediately exposed to water and the elements, should all be reviewed as part of your maintenance checks. Remember that the best way to find cracks and leaks is to thoroughly check the building. Even if living and working spaces are situated far from water sources, you should nevertheless check important areas like roofs and balconies.
At least once every six months, commercial roofs should be inspected, and during that examination, the vents, drains, and other parts of the roof where water can leak through to the building should be examined. Stains, cracks, and leaks should all be looked for during an examination.
As part of your routine maintenance, check your irrigation, plumbing, and drains. Do a thorough check of these areas on a regular basis because they are more prone to have leaks that are difficult to detect. Even the slightest leaks need to be addressed, and with some prompt action and remedial waterproofing, you may both save money and maintain the value of your building.
How Remedial Waterproofing Can Help
Remedial Waterproofing works by removing all the cost and effort along with removing the building materials above the membrane to repair it and simply placing a new clear membrane over the top of the tiles making the look of the surface remain the same. Because of that, the balcony can be repaired this way by an experienced tradesman in a fraction of the time, a fraction of the mess, a fraction of the noise, and a fraction of the cost.
You can either call one of the accredited installers to come and do the work for you or use Remedial Membranes’ helpful installation videos and tutorials to guide DIYers through the procedure. In addition, there are some benefits to using Clear Waterproofing Membrane over tile waterproofing as opposed to tearing out the balcony entirely and starting from scratch.
Clear Waterproofing Membranes applications can usually be completed for around 30% of the cost of ripping up and removing. As an over-tile waterproofing membrane, Clear Waterproofing Membrane is easily accessible and can be patched up as needed in the future.
We spare you time and hassle. In contrast to having all the tiles, adhesive, waterproofing, and screed removed before replacing those components and typically having the problem recur in the future because the membrane is out of reach and cannot be repaired without going through the same process, an application of Clear Waterproofing Membrane is made with little fuss in a week.
All leaks are a major problem, so please get in touch with Remedial Membranes installers to find out how we can save you time and money while preventing further water damage.