A significant percentage of most multi-story buildings today such as multi-level townhouses and apartments have tiled balconies. In most cases, the tiled balconies are constructed directly above living areas like the lounge rooms or even the bedrooms.
During construction, much attention is given to the balconies because installation must strictly adhere to current Australian codes and standards, manufacturer’s instructions, and other recommended details. If the homeowner or constructor is in a hurry or simply wants to maintain the costs, he or she might not take into consideration waterproofing and proper measures. This will be the main source of frequent problems such as leaks.
It is crucial to have a critical assessment of the balcony before recommending solutions. Ensure that the person doing the assessment is fully licensed, and should adhere to the Australian standards.
Reasons Why Your Balcony Is Leaking
Each balcony is unique, and as such, reasons for leaking may vary. Balconies usually face adverse weather conditions. Some movements may occur due to temperature shifts or building settlement. This makes each balcony assessment unique. Nevertheless, the following are some of the common reasons for balcony leakage:
- Tile breakage and movement
- Porous and deteriorated grout
- Waterproof membrane failure
- Doorway and balustrading problems
- Cracking in the perimeter and skirting tile seals.
- Poor drainage and fall towards drainage
The Ideal Water Proofing System for Balconies as per the Australian Standards
During the initial construction of the balcony, there are measures to be taken to ensure that the balcony is waterproof and will not have any leaking problems in future. The best approach is the installation of a water proofing membrane that will ‘work and last’
Balcony membranes need a membrane system that will provide a permanent water barrier to any wall upturns, around drains, balustrade, floor, and any other point that can allow water penetration.
The constructor should take measures to prevent water from penetrating beneath the balcony. He or she should be aware of the basic principle of construction, which is building movement due to expansion and contraction of materials.
Thus, the waterproof membrane should be flexible to accommodate any structural movement of the balcony and that of the adjacent building envelope.
Essentially a constructor should use quality water proofing products and implement the correct membrane application to create a balcony that will be free of any leaks whatsoever.
What Are the Signs to Look Out For To Determine That Your Balcony Is Leaking?
If you spot any of the following abnormalities, then you will know that your balcony is leaking and it needs some leaking balcony repairs.
- If you step on a tile and realise it is loose and produces some hollow and ‘drummy’ noise, it is an indication that your balcony is leaking. This means that the tiles are not tight and they are allowing water to penetrate. Faulty tiles leave the perimeter joints exposed allowing water to leak right into the balcony.
- Cracked or missing grout is a clear indication of a leaking balcony.
- If the interior and exterior balcony finishes have some staining, know that the balcony could be leaking
- A leaking balcony makes the wood on the doors and windows to swell thus you will experience trouble when opening and closing.
- Peeling or splitting of paint also indicates that you need some leaking balcony repairs.
- If some of the balcony joints especially the railing and structural posts become weak, most likely, the balcony could be leaking.
Identifying Balcony Leakages
The contractor is advised to pay close attention to the proofing membrane because it is the main cause of leaks in the balcony. Determine if the membrane has failed because if not detected and remedied early enough, it might cause bigger leaking issues.
The contractor is also supposed to work on the balcony structure because it might be the cause of a leak. In addition, one needs to check for faulty tiling that could be dangerous. Pour water on the tiles and you notice some leakages, know the tiles are not well installed and need some leaking balcony repair to be on the safe side.
Effects of a Leaking Balcony- Why You Should Not Delay the Repair
A leaking balcony is not only a real nuisance to a home to a homeowner, but also if left un-repaired; it can cause adverse problems to everyone around. As a homeowner, the moment you notice that your balcony is leaking, you should call a professional immediately to start leaking balcony repairs.
Otherwise, if you leave it to deteriorate for some time, the decay will slowly spread down to the other walls especially the external ones. The walls and ceiling will start to discolour as the paint on them slowly chips off.
The electrical systems will also be damaged, causing power outages and emitting harmful and dangerous charges.
In addition, water will penetrate to the external walls and areas below or adjacent to the balcony. In the end, the balcony might collapse.
How to Fix a Leaking Balcony as per the Australian Standards
The best approach to leaking balcony repairs is calling professionals. Avoid attempting any do it yourself jobs. As you have seen, dealing with a leaking balcony is complicated and should not be taken lightly. There are many technical procedures involved and only a professional has the necessary tools and products for the job.
First, he or she will choose the best membrane that can withstand the balcony’s structural movement. The second step is to complete any penetrating work before applying the waterproofing membrane.
Adding an additional sealant to the penetrating structures is also necessary. The next step is to ensure that the balcony levels have good drainage to prevent water from stagnating.
To make the job tidy, it is best to remove the A/C unit. Once the job is done, test the tiling with some water to see whether the membranes are as tight as they should be. If not, you have to add another coat.
The best water proofing products to use for leaking balcony repairs include Liquid applied membranes and spray applied liquid membranes. Liquid waterproof systems are seamless, thus you need not worry about any seams coming apart.
A Watertight Conclusion
Every homeowner is advised to beware of any leaking balcony. One can inspect his or her balcony for the signs of leakage. Do not wait for the damage to be irreversible. Call a professional immediately. Remember that the effects of a leaking balcony can be grave as they can cause the balcony to collapse.