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A Guide To Waterproofing Your Balcony Flooring

Waterproofing your balcony flooring is essential for building preservation. A crack gives water access, causing rot, structural damage, unsafe joints, chips, and more problems. In some situations, a leaky balcony could cause issues with insurance coverage. The best system to ensure your balcony flooring is waterproof will consider leakage points and water access points.

Before You Begin Waterproofing Your Balcony Flooring

New construction often features a drain that leaks below the substrate. Existing construction may include a mastic asphalt coating. Its cracks must be filled prior to coating. Coating systems cannot fill in cracks and gaps alone - they mostly fill in gaps up to 2mm wide. Prepping your work area before coating is essential. All debris and loose particles must be removed. Consider power washing the balcony before coating the area. Failure to prepare your work area will result in an ineffective coating.

Primers are required by some flooring systems. For a heavily-trafficked balcony, consider a fast-curing, high-performance waterproofing primer. Slow curing primers cause disruptions for guests and property owners, especially if it’s a common gathering space.

Risks Associated With Waterproofing Balcony Flooring

Use cold applied systems for balcony waterproofing projects. They are safer and healthier to use. Local authorities also prefer them to hot applied systems, or ‘hot works’.

• Coating with a hot-melt product is unsafe/unfavourable

• Roof fires are often caused by ‘hot works’ products

• Insurance companies increased premiums as a reaction to hot works product fires

• Solvents emit odors that are hazardous to workers and people in close proximity to construction

• Solvent odours can cause nausea, asthma attacks, and other health issues

• Poly methyl methacrylates (PMMAs) are skin irritants

• PMMAs are highly flammable

Bitumen Waterproofing

Bitumen often referred to as asphalt, has been used as a waterproofing agent for thousands of years. Crop storage baskets dating from 4000 B.C. were used by the Indus Valley peoples. Although 70% of bitumen is used for roadway construction, the remainder is used for sealing and waterproofing.

Bituminous paints are formulated with other materials, such as acrylic polymers and polyurethane, to increase the paint’s flexibility and durability. This is especially important if the paint is exposed to sunlight, which is most likely the scenario for your balcony’s flooring.

Bitumen naturally doesn’t dissolve in water, making it an effective choice for waterproofing. It has excellent barrier protection against corrosion. It also withstands chemical and ultraviolet (UV) degradation.

Asphalt paint can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer. Hot coatings are either 100% bitumen or are blended with other fillers. Hot coatings are heated until they reach the desired viscosity. Cold coatings use both solvents and water to reach the desired viscosity. As mentioned, cold coatings cure faster, making it the convenient choice in most circumstances.

PMMA System

The top reason PMMA coatings are employed in construction jobs is due to their ultra fast cure times. Layers need 45 minutes to one hour for drying before adding additional coats. Fast curing allows for property owners to reopen, allowing guests and homeowners to access spaces conveniently and safely. PMMAs can be applied in extremely cold temperatures, as low as 0°F. PMMA coatings can be fully immersed in water, thus making them an optimal choice for pool owners. They’re chemically resistant - withstanding grease, battery acid, cleaners, and more.

Polyurethane Liquid Coating

Made of a base and a reactor, polyurethane is often a choice material for waterproofing projects. Poly is the base and isocyanide is the reactor, and when both are combined at a unique ratio, they form a reliable waterproofing membrane. Polyurethane is often favoured because it is easy to install - it doesn’t require advanced skill.

• UV and weather resistant

• Resistant to alkaline cleaners

• Resistant to battery acid and fuels

• Resistant to corrosion

• Resistant to root penetration

In order to apply polyurethane coating, the area needs to be cleaned in advance. Cracks should be filled with a one-part polyurethane-based filling material. Polyurethane primer should be applied initially as an adhesion coat. Primer should be mixed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. A single coat of primer should be applied and dried for at least eight hours before PU coats are added.

PU coats are applied by a brush or roller. Two layers are needed.

Protect Your Property by Waterproofing Your Balcony’s Flooring

In order to keep your property’s structure sound and safe, waterproofing the balcony flooring is crucial. Whether it is new construction, a repair, or renovation, waterproofing should not be overlooked or rescheduled. The above options withstand wear and tear, extreme weather, and chemical exposure. They are long lasting and will provide protection to your balcony and property for the long term.