Posted on: 2 February 2024Share
As a homeowner, you take great pride in the functional and aesthetic aspects of your living space. Yet, sometimes, the allure of your home's exterior is dampened—quite literally—by water seeping through your balcony. This not only leads to unsightly damage but also raises concerns about structural integrity. Thankfully, there are several methods for balcony waterproofing that can protect your space against leaks.
Understanding Your Needs
Before diving into the various waterproofing techniques, it's crucial to understand why your balcony may be at risk. Balconies are typically exposed to the elements, and over time, the materials used can deteriorate. The risk of water damage increases if your balcony is not properly sloped for drainage, if there are cracks or joints in the flooring, or if there is inadequate waterproofing beneath the surface.
Waterproofing Membranes: A Shield Against Moisture
Waterproofing membranes are a staple in protecting balconies from moisture. There are several types to choose from, including sheet, liquid, or roll-on membranes, each with its own application method and advantages.
Sheet membranes are excellent for providing a barrier against water, and they're relatively easy to install. Typically made of materials like modified bitumen, PVC, or elastomeric, they are laid across the balcony's surface with a strong adhesive. However, professional installation is recommended for the best results.
Liquid membranes offer versatility in that they can be painted on, creating a seamless, waterproof layer that adheres to every contour. They are often used to reinforce the waterproofing of sheet or roll-on membranes, as well as to repair small cracks and crevices that may have developed.
Roll-on membranes, also known as waterproofing paints, are applied similarly to a liquid membrane but offer quicker drying times. They typically require multiple coats for optimal protection but are one of the more cost-effective solutions.
Balcony Sloping: Guiding Water the Right Way
One of the simplest but most effective methods of balcony waterproofing is ensuring proper slope. If your balcony does not have a natural slant to guide water away from the structure, you can add a topping compound or use leveling mortars to create the correct drainage gradient.
Topping compounds are mixes that can be laid down before installing the final flooring material. They are designed to be self-leveling, allowing you to achieve the necessary slope without extensive reworking of the balcony's existing surface.
Leveling mortars serve a similar purpose as topping compounds but are applied in a thicker layer. These mortars provide a strong, even base for your balcony's flooring while ensuring proper water runoff.
Sealing Joints and Cracks: Crucial for Complete Waterproofing
Even the smallest gap in your balcony's structure can result in significant water intrusion. Joint sealants and crack fillers play an essential role in comprehensive balcony waterproofing.
Flexible sealants, like silicone, are perfect for sealing joints that may experience movement, as they are elastic and can stretch without losing their waterproofing properties. They are excellent for use on expansion joints or where different construction materials meet.
Epoxy and Urethane Fillers
Epoxy and urethane crack fillers are more rigid than flexible sealants and are better suited for static cracks. They provide a strong, water-resistant barrier that's particularly effective in high-traffic areas.