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Alphateq Waterproofing can provide a number of solutions for waterproofing balcony areas. We are able to advise you on the best system for your project. If you would like to get in touch about the right waterproofing product for your balcony please use our contact form or call 01277 503 110. One of our waterproofing experts will be delighted to assist you.
With the increase in high rise buildings being used in new construction projects, balconies are increasingly part of any design. They provide outdoor space for properties above ground floor level, and are often adorned with plants and furniture. It is important these areas are protected as they need to withstand frequent rainfall, a variety of weather condition of both high and low temperatures.
Without protection the substrate will be exposed to moisture and overtime potentially water ingress. Typically, decking is considered, but often just an open field area is the finish. Ultimately, the area needs to be waterproofed to provide protection to areas below. The best way to do this is with a liquid waterproofing solution. Using a waterproofing membrane provides protection to the entire surface and the structure below. Once the protection is applied the balcony can be left as an open field area or covered with tiles or decking after installation.
Liquid products are less liable to failure than waterproofing systems which have seams. By choosing a liquid membrane for your balcony floor, you are removing the single biggest area responsible for leaks. The reason for this is seams can fail for a number of reasons, when they do rainwater and moisture can penetrate the balcony membrane.
Just like flat roof installation, the success of balcony installation is heavily dependant on the quality of the contractor. This is especially true on substrates with complex detailing. Single ply and built up felt waterproofing require great skill to provide a waterproof finish around complex details such as balustrades, downpipes and plant machinery. By choosing a liquid waterproofing membrane you remove a lot of the contractor risk as the skill requirements to waterproof the edges of these complex details is not as high. You can also choose an approved contractor provided by the waterproofing company to ensure you get a quality finish.
Repairs are easily carried out on liquid balconies. A patch repair can be carried out to the effected area. This first step of this process is using an abrasive on the defective waterproofing. Then cleaning the substrate. If there are any small cracks in the substrate these should be filled. Then a waterproofing primer should be applied to the substrate to allow for a good bond. Next a first layer of waterproofing should be applied to cover the area being repaired. Finally a second layer of waterproofing is applied and the repair is finished.
The speed of installation is another big positive for liquid applied membranes. It is a faster installation than asphalt, PVC and felt. It can be installed in low temperatures and the building which is being waterproofed does not need to be vacated.
Liquid is also safer than most other waterproofing systems as it is flame free. The high quality systems can also provide Brooft4 accreditation, which means they are designed not to support fire spread which is especially important in light of the Grenfell disaster (1, 2).
There are two main types of guarantee. First, there is a materials guarantee. This is where the product is backed, normally by BBA, to last a set time in normal usage.
The second type is an insurance backed guarantee (IBG) which offers a materials and labour warranty. There is normally an added cost for this type of guarantee.
Balcony areas have to be waterproofed to protect and preserve the areas underneath. Often these are living areas such as kitchens, or bedrooms below. These areas do need to be waterproofed as most balconies in modern buildings are above occupied property.
There are many ways to provide a waterproof protection on balconies. These include felt, single ply, asphalt, but nowadays more commonly, liquid in PU (sometimes referred to as liquid plastics) or PMMA form. The installation is faster and provides a seam free, flame free solution. The easiest and fastest way to waterproof a balcony area is sealing the surface with a liquid membrane.
All substrates are different. Most would require a primer to ensure a good bond between the coating and substrate. Various primers are available for different surface variations. All substrates, whether new or refurbished need to have any cracks and damage repaired prior to coating taking place. As an example a new concrete balcony substrate may have small hairline cracks. These cracks would be filled with a PU sealant. Next, the concrete balcony substrate would be primed. After the primer was dry the waterproof coating could be applied.
Obviously, this depends on usage and the weather conditions it must withstand. It also depends on the amount of liquid applied in the installation process. It is the thickness of the membrane which normally dictates the longevity of a waterproofing system. For example, parking decks will have a thicker membrane than a domesitic flat roof. A weight of 2kg/m2 is considered adequate for a twenty year or longer warranty. Typical requirements are for twenty years, but twenty-five year warranties are available. But shorter term, a ten-year system may be requested. This would typically be applied around 1.2kg/m2.
There should be a maintenance program in place to ensure a balcony with a liquid coating remains in good condition. Such an inspection would involve the substrate and walkway area being inspected every six months. The outlet areas should be checked for blockages and substrate checked for cracks developing and other damage. If carried out these inspections are very cost effective as prevention is always better than cure. The most important part of a maintenance program is picking up problems early. Typical problems include; cracks or holes in the surface, upstands pulling away from the walls leaving gaps and UV damage. Identifying and repairing such issues early can save a lot of money as it stops small issues becoming major ones.
Liquid balconies and walkways are easy to fix. Typically, simply clean and abrade the damaged area and prime. Then apply a generous coat of liquid onto the damaged area. The primer stops any reaction between the systems if they differ. If cracks have got beyond 3mm then seal with a compatible sealant or screed prior to re-coating the damaged area.
Any liquid waterproofing membrane which can cure around the 30/45-minute time period is ideal. This could be a PMMA (strong odour is a downside) or a quality PU liquid (sometimes referred to as liquid plastics) normally with the addition of a catalyst. Liquid waterproofing systems with a BBA is a good indicator of a quality product. However, there are a considerable amount of systems which are proven to be of good quality without this accreditation. Before using any product it is a good idea to always trial the product by carrying out a peel test in a small area before committing to installation.
Based on a 20/25 year system an expected price bracket is between £45 and £65 per SQM. This also depends if the balcony surface must be slip resistant or specific colour finishes are required. An example of where anti-slip would be required is on large commercial flat roof balcony areas . At Alphateq Waterproofing we ensure every product is high quality and competitively priced. All our systems are fast to install, thus causing minimum disruption to other areas in the proximity to the installation. These systems also do not produce a strong odour and therefore impacts less than PMMA for example.
By far the easiest, fastest, most successful and therefore cost-effective waterproofing to put onto balconies and walkways is a waterproofing liquid. It provides a seam free, damage resistant solution and ensures that a vital part of the building, entry and access can function correctly without issues like water ingress impacting on the residents who live there.
If you would like to get in touch about the right waterproofing product for your balcony please use our contact form or call 01277 503 110. One of our waterproofing experts will be delighted to assist you.