A balcony is an added element to the main body of a building which usually juts out from its vertical face.
A balcony is an integral part of many commerical buildings. It needs just as much care as the rest of the structure. In fact, it needs more as it is the part which is exposed to the forces of nature just like the outer walls of any building.
A balcony provides a sense of open space even in a packed society or complex.
Caring for balconies is imperative as they are open extensions of the building, and they are susceptible to the rain, hail, storm, and excessive sun. Any seepage or leak that develops in the balcony /terrace can travel to the other part of building especially to the area from which it extends. This is the outer wall of the building. Hench, it can result in weakening the entire structure.
What to Look for When One Goes for Waterproofing a Balcony?
Keep inspecting the balcony for any of the following signs –
- Insufficient Drainage:
check whether there is a clear drain to drain any accumulated water. Water that is not drained can seep in the floor and walls. A prolonged process of water accumulation gives birth to moulds and bacteria, most often leading to cracks and fissures, leading to water problems during the monsoon. Cracked or missing grout in the balcony can also be a sign of a dilapidated balcony.
- Cracks or Damage to Substrate:
Before starting repairs on the surface, it is important to check the substrate as that is the base.
- Failed or Missing Waterproofing Membrane:
The balcony should have a waterproofing membrane. If it does not have a waterproofing membrane, then it has to be put in place or repaired.
- Sign of Efflorescence:
It is also known as salt build-up. If this is there on top or around the balcony then there is a pooling of water. It should not be drained out.
Waterproofing a Balcony:
There are many methods of waterproofing a balcony. Some of them are discussed below.
Applying Products to the Top Layer:
This can be done if there is no damage to the substrate
- Waterproofing Membrane:
This can be installed around the perimeter of a tiled area to effectively provide a waterproof barrier.
- Penetrating Water Repellent:
This is applied as a sealer over grout.
Waterproofing by Removing the Top Layer:
- Correct Drainage:
External balcony should allow for adequate water runoff or drainage so that pooling or water build-up does not happen.
- Repair the Concrete:
This becomes important if there have been building movements due to any reason. Concrete needs to be repaired first before the surface is completed. Using a membrane system is advisable post the concrete repair.
How to Do the Waterproofing Balcony?
- Structural Strengthening:
It becomes imperative to work on the structure if the substrate shows signs of damage. Special attention has to be given to protect walls / floor joints, drains, balustrade, water exit points, hobs, sheet joints and movement joints.
- Hire an Expert:
For any work, which is below the surface, it is advisable to use experts. All waterproofing work, which requires the top layer to be removed, or structural reinforcements are complicated, and the best thing in this case is to hire a professional balcony waterproofing service which has years of experience in this field.
Moreover, there could be a situation where the structure has to be partially demolished to ensure the repair work is thorough and waterproofing is in place.
Finally, it can be said that some repairs or waterproofing can be done by one self. These are minor and can be done by using off the counter materials.