While residents in many areas of the country have put away their patio furniture and other summer accouterments in anticipation of the wintry weather that comes on the heels of October, Houstonian’s are just emerging from their air conditioned cocoons. Now is the perfect time for sitting out on the balcony, lingering over a second cup of coffee or a sharing a bottle of wine with friends.
Balconies have a long architectural history
There’s a romance and timeless mystique surrounding balconies, perhaps harking back to the legendary scenes in Verona that were the backdrop for the star-crossed love affair between Romeo and Juliet. Walk down any street in most countries in Europe and you are sure to see many centuries-old dwellings, complete with balconies that have stood the test of time.
But while balconies have evolved over the years, they still lend an Old World charm and grace to any facade, even in modern-day Houston. They do however present some unique maintenance challenges for homeowners and commercial property managers.
Poorly maintained balconies are liability risks
If you own a property with one or more balconies, you are likely aware that you have to take special care of this attractive architectural feature in order to ensure it remains in good shape and fully able to bear weight. Over time, balconies that have sustained water damage do not remain structurally sound and can present hazards that could lead to costly premises liability litigation if someone gets injured on or beneath the balcony.
The humid subtropical climate of Houston can wreak havoc on balconies that haven’t been waterproofed, leading to leaks that can not only damage the balconies themselves, but potentially the walls of the building to which they are attached.
Tiled balconies can become slippery when water is allowed to collect on the surface. Newly constructed properties require a minimum slope in the direction of collection points for rainwater. But even a poorly constructed balcony can be altered by installing a sloping screed beneath the waterproofing layer so that water is able to run off and not form puddles.
The waterproofing process
No waterproofing systems should ever be applied to screeds that haven’t been well-cured. Otherwise, cracks caused by shrinkage can form that will also cause fissures in the waterproofing system. Flaws like that can eventually compromise the structural integrity of a balcony.
But there is a shortcut that allows work to commence without such a long waiting period. Binders for substrates can be easily applied to allow the waterproofing layers and coatings to be applied quickly.
The physical stresses that can adversely affect balconies demand high performance from the waterproofing systems. Ideally, the structure’s durability should be enhanced by the application of waterproofing layers. When the layers have been meticulously applied, their continuity should be guaranteed and permeability nullified.
Certain points bear special attention, including the following:
- Joints, such as fillet joints in between vertical and horizontal surfaces
Waterproofing spares balcony structures
The impermeability of waterproofing systems extends the life of a balcony and the underlying edifice. As the barrier against caustic or corrosive agents, they resist the deterioration of manufactured pieces that are used to brace and uphold the structure.
The best defense to a deteriorated balcony structure is prevention. When working with a pre-existing balcony, it is necessary to do a thorough analysis of the integrity of the substrates. This allows the technician to determine the most effective type of waterproofing system to incorporate.
Pay special attention to any surface hollows or dips when testing the strength of the balcony base and screed. It’s easiest when waterproofing is appropriate for installation on top of the pre-existing floors. However, any lack of continuity in the construction features first must be adequately addressed.
This is a job for professionals
Many DIYers take great pride in tackling construction and renovation projects on their properties, but there are some jobs that are best left up to the professionals. Balcony waterproofing is one that falls into that category. It’s something that needs to be done right the first time to prevent a disaster, or even a tragedy, from occurring.
When it comes to having balconies waterproofed in and around the Greater Houston area, you can trust the consummate professionals at Acadian Roofing. Their craftsman use only high-quality materials during installation and repairs to your balcony to assure that the structure can withstand an assault from the elements. Depending on the composition of your balcony and underlying structure, different processes can be employed to assure maximum efficacy is achieved.