The drainage of the balconies greatly influences a building’s appearance and functionality.
Wet weather may accumulate water due to poor balcony drainage system, ultimately seeping to the bottom and producing fractures, chips, and unstable sealants and joints.
If you want to enjoy your balcony views even during heavy rain or snowfall, it’s important to have a waterproof balcony system.
It can significantly change lives for individuals who don’t have a facility of a yard or garden in the house.
Balconies share several characteristics with other outdoor buildings but also present particular construction-related challenges, such as topping concrete edges, pillar openings, handrail attachments, and door sills.
They collect rainwater and channel it across several overlapping planes, making them susceptible to damage.
Here is how to prevent leaks from damaging your balconies because of poor drainage.
How Does Moisture Affect Your Balcony?
Traditional balcony architecture typically has a wood frame with a waterproof membrane in the middle, covered with a concrete-made slab.
The risk of wood rot in balcony construction is well known, but it is much more common.
Concrete typically used in balcony structures is a mixture of gravel, sand, and water and is known to be porous, lacking the waterproof element.
There are higher chances of water infiltration in concrete structures, significantly when a slight fracture can develop into holes.
When metals are employed to sustain a balcony made of reinforced concrete, there is a chance that the metal may become wet and subjected to oxygen, which will cause rusting.
The rusted metal swells and pushes the concrete and structure apart. Concrete degradation has several telltale signs.
Concrete’s unsightly rust stains are a minor inconvenience compared to the far more dangerous issue of loose concrete fragments endangering those beneath the balcony.
Moreover, the building itself may someday collapse, which would be terrible.
What Are the Prerequisites Before Preparing a Balcony for Waterproofing System?
The first step is to assess the present situation of the space because there are multiple approaches and processes involved, more or less intensive to recover or install a new waterproofing framework.
- The condition of the flooring.
Balcony floors are the most prone to damage due to improper drainage and are generally the most apparent feature of the balcony.
For instance, you can assess the condition by examining the joint volumes to see whether they are uniform or nonexistent.
It is crucial because, in most situations, it is at the joints that water infiltration begins, negating the waterproof effectiveness of the surface.
- The condition of walls.
Walls are yet another apparent feature of the balcony. Peeling paint and fissures on the wall structures can be quite displeasing to the eye and indicate that the drainage system of the structure above the balcony is weak.
- Detecting the infiltration point.
The infiltration points could be anywhere, on the floor, walls, the roof, or even the pillars.
Recognizing the infiltration points help you determine the extent and starting point of the repair.
Preparation for Waterproofing Your Balcony
- Google the Weather Prediction.
Ensure there are no alarming weather forecasts for the upcoming 48 hours. A minimum of 48 hours is preferable since it provides you with some room to move.
- Clear the Area
Declutter the space and clear everything before you get started. It’s best to follow your daily cleaning routine and ensure you’re all set.
- Look for Every Crack in Every Nook
Check every inch of your balcony. Surface cracks bigger than 1mm in width must be fixed.
How to Make Your Balcony Waterproof
Your balcony should be a happy place, not one filled with water.
Beyond simply sealing the top surface, there are several measures you could take to reduce the effect of moisture on your balcony. Here are some important tips to make your balcony waterproof.
Address the Malfunctions Made During Balcony Installation
Its installation is faulty if your balcony leaks water into your house or has poor water drainage that damages the foundations.
Prevent water from entering the house with balconies that slope downward and away from the external perimeter.
Sadly, you might have to dismantle and rebuild your balcony if any essential components are missing. These issues are, fortunately, uncommon.
Have a Waterproof Flooring
If you’re not satisfied with how the flooring material is holding up in the water, you may apply a waterproof sealant or membrane.
Wooden balcony floors may need frequent sealing. Sealing may help shield against corrosion and damage on metal and tile, among other materials.
Protecting your floors from the beginning is preferable to attempt to reduce water damage after it has already occurred.
Most coatings and sealants necessitate a smooth, clean surface for the greatest performance.
It might not work as well if you must initially remove any rust or if the substance has already been saturated with water.
Waterproofing Damage on the Substrate or Finished Flooring
If your balcony floor has fractures, rusty marks, salt discoloration, or deterioration, there’s a problem.
If this happens, you will have to remove the finished flooring to expose the layers underneath the foundation, which is the final layer of protection against moisture for the balcony floor’s important structural components.
Look for any fractures or cracks in concrete surfaces and patch them. With a trowel-equipped patcher, spread fresh polish concrete over parts that have been affected.
Make sure the surface is clear of dust, uniform, and dry before spreading the adhesives.
Waterproofing Surfaces and Excellently Maintained Substrates
Applying a liquid membrane sealant explicitly made for the flooring to a polished floor with brushes or rollers is an instant solution for balcony flooring that does not have apparent cracks.
The process will provide 1-2 mm of the layer with no cracks if it is carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
You should choose a liquid waterproofing system that can withstand temperature variations, inclement weather, chemical compounds, and standing water.
You have the following options for waterproofing the railing or flooring of your balcony:
- Polyurethane sealant: A suitable choice for sealing gaps and cracks.
- Wood sealant: A coating specially manufactured to protect the wood from moisture.
- Liquid waterproofing: These treatments act similarly to thick paint. When you pour them over, they form a layer of waterproof substance. However, you won’t be able to see the flooring underneath because this is often an opaque rubber-like substance.
- Waterproofing membranes: They come in rolls, much like carpet rolls, rather than liquid form. While aligning the rolls horizontally might be difficult, the finished product frequently looks way better as compared to the liquid counterpart.
These options will not be compatible with every material. Keep in mind to abide by the product’s directions.
Use a Water-Resistant Primer to Paint the Walls
Balcony waterproofing is long-lasting when the acrylic primer is used before painting. It even fills small crevices to prevent water from leaking into the walls.
Once the primer is completely dry, you can use water-resistant oil paints to paint the wall prone to leakage.
Waterproofing Using a Drainage Membrane
Water is the primary culprit behind terrace and balcony damage since it eventually seeps into the substrate’s core and gradually impedes the waterproof coatings.
The drainage membrane’s distinctive structure avoids problems of this nature.
Waterproof membranes alleviate the water pressure pushing the foundation and bitumen-based barrier by allowing water to escape through a network of drainage systems.
Its unique design supports and lessens load compression brought on by load or human movement.
These drainage membranes aren’t thick and are made of two layers.
The first layer is a polyethylene foundation with cone-shaped structures for draining and separating water.
The layer beneath is made of non-woven fabric and fused above the substrate.
It serves as a barrier to prevent minute particles and dirt from clogging the channel and compromising the efficiency of the membranes.
Have Waterproof Furniture
Most balcony furniture can be waterproofed, although doing so usually compromises the aesthetic appeal.
Covering chairs, cushions, and rugs with a plastic sheet may be a workable option.
Still, it’s frequently preferable to merely choose waterproof furnishings and move the fabrics and cushions as needed or as the weather conditions allow.
Decorate Your Balcony with Waterproof Items
You may also choose balcony decorations to reduce the influence of weather conditions on your balcony.
For instance, if you love the romantic vibe of candles, you can cover them with lanterns for protection against rain and wind.
Ceramic decorations are preferable to metal since they won’t rust and can better withstand rain.
Additionally, plants are the perfect decorative item for balconies as they require no protection from water.
Choose the Waterproof Product Wisely
A balcony waterproofing product should have the following properties.
- It must be elastic and incredibly durable.
- It must offer exceptional adherence to the flooring’s cement bond.
- It must be simple to implement and need little restoration labor. For instance, removing the flooring and replacing the pillars or balcony slab.
- The user documentation for such products must contain features that conform with the rules for their intended usage.
Waterproofing Materials for Balcony
A balcony is a great addition to any home, offering a space to relax, entertain, and enjoy the outdoors.
However, as balconies are constantly exposed to the elements, they are susceptible to water damage, which can lead to costly repairs and structural issues.
Waterproofing your balcony is crucial to prevent water seepage, cracks, and deterioration. In this article, we’ll explore various waterproofing materials for balconies to help you make an informed decision.
1. Liquid Waterproofing Membrane: Liquid waterproofing membranes (Must Try This) are easy to apply and provide a seamless protective layer. They are commonly available in two types: cementitious and polyurethane-based. These membranes can be directly applied to the balcony surface, forming a continuous barrier against water penetration. They are particularly useful for irregularly shaped balconies and offer excellent adhesion to various substrates.
2. Bituminous Membrane: Bituminous membranes, also known as asphalt membranes (Must Try This), are one of the oldest waterproofing materials. They come in two types: APP (Atactic Polypropylene) and SBS (Styrene Butadiene Styrene). These membranes are durable and provide good protection against water and UV rays. However, they require proper surface preparation and may not be ideal for balconies with heavy foot traffic.
3. EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer): EPDM is a synthetic rubber membrane (Must Try This) that offers exceptional waterproofing capabilities. It is highly flexible, resistant to UV radiation, and has a long lifespan. EPDM is available in rolls that can be laid out on the balcony surface and adhered with adhesive or mechanically fastened.
4. PVC Membrane: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) membranes are widely used for balcony waterproofing. They are UV-resistant, durable, and easy to install. PVC membranes are available in various colors and textures, making them a popular choice for both functional and aesthetic reasons.
5. TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) Membrane: TPO is a single-ply roofing membrane that can also be used for balcony waterproofing. It provides excellent resistance to UV rays, weathering, and chemical exposure. TPO membranes are typically heat-welded at the seams, creating a watertight bond.
6. Acrylic-based Waterproof Coatings: Acrylic-based waterproof coatings are applied as liquid paint and form a protective film on the balcony surface. They are easy to apply, have good UV resistance, and can bridge small cracks. However, they may require reapplication after a few years due to wear and tear.
7. Cementitious Waterproofing Coatings: Cementitious waterproofing coatings (Must Try This) are a blend of cement, additives, and acrylic polymers. They are trowel-applied to form a waterproof barrier. These coatings are cost-effective and can withstand hydrostatic pressure, making them suitable for balconies that experience water pooling.
8. Crystalline Waterproofing Systems: Crystalline waterproofing systems are applied as a coating or added to the concrete mix during construction. They work by forming crystals that block the capillaries in the concrete, preventing water penetration. These systems offer a unique self-healing property, as they can reactivate in the presence of water, sealing minor cracks over time.
9. Silane/Siloxane Sealers: Silane and siloxane sealers are penetrating sealers that chemically react with the balcony’s substrate to form a water-repellent surface. They are suitable for balconies with decorative concrete or natural stone finishes, as they do not alter the appearance of the surface.
When selecting a waterproofing material for your balcony, consider factors such as the balcony’s usage, climate, budget, and the expertise required for installation.
It’s crucial to ensure proper surface preparation and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines during application to achieve a successful and long-lasting waterproofing solution.
If you are unsure about the best option for your specific balcony, it’s advisable to consult a professional waterproofing contractor to assess your balcony’s needs and provide appropriate recommendations.
Remember, investing in high-quality waterproofing materials and proper installation will protect your balcony and extend its lifespan, allowing you to enjoy it for years to come.
In summary, waterproofing a floor balcony or roof deck is a simple task. A waterproof membrane is usually placed over the surface to prevent water seepage.
In case the balcony is made of wood, then this layer protects the wood from rotting, mold, and insects.
Waterproofing a floor balcony or roof deck can also be done by covering it with slate tiles, wood shingles, or concrete.
However, waterproofing a floor balcony or roof deck is not just a one-time task. The waterproof membrane should be inspected periodically for cracks, holes, or missing pieces.