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With the increase in higher rise buildings being constructed, balconies are increasingly part of any design. They offer a semblance of outdoor space for properties above ground floor and are often adorned with plants and furniture as added living space. It is important that these areas are protected as much as possible. 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.
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 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 coating with a liquid.
All substrates are different. Most would require a primer to ensure that the area is able to accept a coating more efficiently. Various primers are available for the surface variations. All substrates, be new or refurbished need to have any cracks and damage repaired prior to coating taking place.
Having no seams, liquid waterproofing is less liable to failure. Awkward details are more easily dealt with, and repairs are easily carried out. It is also a faster installation than asphalt, PVC or felt for example. Liquid is safer as it is flame free and the better quality systems can provide Brooft4 accreditation, which means that they are designed NOT to support fire spread (Grenfell disaster).
Obviously, this depends on usage. It is also dependent on the amount of liquid applied in the installation process. It is the thickness of the membrane that more often than not dictates the longevity of the system. 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.
Materials guarantee is one such offer where the product is backed, normally by BBA, to last a set time in normal usage.
The other more involved option is the insurance backed guarantee (IBG) which offers a materials and labour warranty. There is normally an added cost for this.
There should be a maintenance program in place where the substrate and walkway area is 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. Picking up problems early on can prove to 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 membrane that 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 normally with the addition of a catalyst. BBA is a good indicator, although many systems are proven to be suitable without this accreditation. Always trial the product by carrying out a peel test in a small area beforehand.
Based on a twenty/twenty-five-year system an expected price bracket is between £45/£65m2. This also depends on if anti slip is required or specific colour finishes are required. Mariseal products are high quality but are very competitive price wise. They are fast to install, thus causing minimum disruption to the area, normally communal walkway areas. The Mariseal system also does NOT have 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.