Balconies can give your property a more unique aesthetic, can improve its living space, and can even increase its value. But, the waterproofing process is often overlooked. Balconies and walkways are constantly exposed to exterior elements, so they need to have a great deal of protection to make sure they stay in good condition. The aesthetics and performance of a building can depend on whether you have good balcony waterproofing. Otherwise, rainwater can pool and can eventually leak into the lower floor. This can cause cracks, chips, as well as unsafe joints and sealants. That’s why the best system pays special attention to the critical leakage points of a balcony.
The Best Waterproofing Solution for Your Existing Balcony
The best approach for waterproofing an existing balcony will depend on the condition of the floor and substrate, as well as on the adequacy of the slope. Before you decide on a balcony waterproofing solution, you should check the flooring for any cracks or holes and inspect the substrate for damage. You also want to make sure the balcony has a slope of at least 2% (which is 1/4 inch per foot), because it will facilitate proper drainage.
Waterproofing Floors and Substrates in Good Condition
If your balcony floor doesn’t have any cracks or tenting, you can apply a flooring-specific liquid membrane with rollers or brushes. By following manufacturer’s instructions, the process shouldn’t leave any gaps and will create a thickness of only a few millimeters. It should also be able to resist temperature fluctuations, bad weather, chemical substances, and stagnant water.
Waterproofing the Damaged Flooring or Substrate on Your Balcony
Cracks, rust stains, or discoloration on your flooring are signs of a problem with your balcony or balcony floor. If this is the case, you will need to completely remove the finished flooring. This will expose the layer beneath the substrate, which is the last line of defense between the structural parts of your balcony and any moisture that can come in.
If you have a concrete substrate, look for any cracks or chips and fill the ones you find. If you have any large pieces that are damaged, you can use a concrete patch with a trowel to apply and smooth the new concrete. But, before you apply the adhesive membrane, you want to make sure you have a clean, dust-free, smooth, and dry substrate. After you have repaired and cleaned the substrate, you can apply the coating that can be used for balcony waterproofing.
Best Options for Balcony Waterproofing
Manufacturers will typically offer two solutions for making your balcony waterproof, which will include the following:
- Wet Waterproofing Membrane — This is a very cost-effective method for balcony waterproofing, especially if the floor is made of concrete. But, the process for applying a liquid membrane can be complex, especially if you’re trying to create an even surface. That’s why it may not be the best approach for balcony waterproofing.
- Rolled Waterproof Membrane — This balcony waterproofing membrane comes in long, adhesive sheets that you can lay across the subfloor. It will guarantee an even surface while acting as a layer of reinforcement for the subfloor. Rolled or sheet membranes is easier and faster to install than liquid membrane, which can be an advantage.
You can also use a cement-based liquid compound for your balcony waterproofing. It’s a cement-based mixture to which polymers and other water-resistant substances are added. Once you apply it to the top of the substrate, you can apply the tiles over this layer with the proper adhesive. The process is simple, but it’s not perfectly waterproof. Temperature fluctuations can cause it to dilate or shrink, which will allow a small amount of humidity to get into the layer underneath.
The most popular system for waterproofing under the substrate of terraces and balconies is bituminous membrane, which is made from the distillation of crude oil and is commercially sold in prefabricated rolls. Inside the thickness of the roll is an armature (which is made up of glass or polyester fibers) to increase resistance. The sheets are easy to install and will have a strong adherence.
No matter what type of solution you use, the best method for waterproofing your balcony flooring will include some type of drainage membrane on the underside of the substrate. This will go a long way toward preserving the building’s structural integrity. The main cause of damage to a terrace or balcony is the presence of water that gets into the interior of the substrate and gradually wears away the different waterproofing layers.
If you’re looking for one of the best balcony waterproofing companies in Los Angeles, be sure to get in touch with the Fiber Coat Deck Company.