Balconies are not accessible for year-round enjoyment like they are in some warmer areas of the world, so when they can be enjoyed, you want to make the most out of them. A long period without use can lead to signs of damage being overlooked. Always make sure to check up on your concrete balcony on a regular basis throughout the year and take note of any changes or deterioration that may have occurred. Rust stains, cracks in the deck, peeling coatings or paint, failed sealant, and loose or broken railings are all indications that something is wrong.
Strength, durability and longevity make concrete a common choice for balconies. Over time, however, wear and tear, lack of maintenance, improper installation or exposure to the elements leave the balcony walls or floor appearing rough, cracked or bumpy. Cracks in the concrete not only mar its appearance but also serve as a structural hazard if left to spread. In general, you should monitor any crack for six months to ensure it does not increase in size. You can fix small or hairline cracks on your own, but if the crack is deep or large, you should have a structural engineer inspect the balcony to determine the cause of the crack and whether or not it can be repaired.
Repairing concrete on high-rise balconies that has been damaged by water is a growing problem, and it typically requires using suspended access in order to complete the work. From my experience, the rain that falls on the concrete balconies normally pools by the doors. The amount of water that the outer edge of the balcony is in contact with also contributes to the general state of disrepair that it is in. When the damage gets too bad, then a concrete repair contractor is called in to do the concrete restoration and provide concrete solutions for that particular project. The amount of work that needs to be done on the concrete will be determined by the engineer's markings as well as the number of metres he is permitted to work with. Obviously, this is subject to change depending on the severity of the problems that need to be resolved. The work is sometimes done in order to sell the building, while other times it is done because the building is in desperate need of repair. In either scenario, the problem can be fixed by an experienced concrete contractor.
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Common Causes of Concrete Balcony Deterioration
Are you perplexed as to what brought about the crumbling, cracking, or peeling of your balcony? When it comes to the deterioration of balconies, our contractors frequently run into a few common causes, but in order to identify the precise problem, it is possible that a professional evaluation will be required. These are the typical causes of problems that can, thankfully, be circumvented:
It is possible that your balcony's slab tops and sides will have a much shorter lifespan if they are not treated or waterproofed correctly. This can be an expensive mistake. Concrete that has not been waterproofed is at an increased risk of damage caused by moisture, as well as freezing and thawing cycles.
Deck tiles, carpets, and other ground coverings can help you create a more inviting outdoor living space while also improving the aesthetic appeal of your balcony. If the slab that lies beneath these coverings is not properly waterproofed, they are also capable of causing damage to the slab.
Sealing the joint areas where the balcony meets your home or building and where the railing posts attach requires extra attention and care. These areas include the balcony itself and the areas where the railing posts attach. If the appropriate sealant is not used, the adjacent materials will be left more exposed, making them more susceptible to damage. It is a good idea to go back and "touch up" these areas every once in a while.
Rusted rebar, rebar that has become exposed, or rebar that is close to the top of the surface of the balcony can all be problematic and lead to a faster rate of deterioration.
As soon as you discover cracks or voids in the balcony slab, you should immediately begin the process of sealing them. If they are allowed to grow unchecked, they will do so more rapidly, which may result in structural problems. It is important to fix the problem as soon as possible, even if the crack doesn't appear to be very big.
Accessing the Balcony Concrete Repair
Repairs to the concrete of the swing stage. Using suspended access equipment is a typical approach that is taken when gaining access to these concrete repair jobs on high-rises. These are known as swing stages, and they are equipped with motors that are designed to work on suspension lines that are rigged to the top of the building. In this particular scenario, we might want to use jacks to provide supplemental support for the upper floors where the beams that make up our stage are resting.
The Process for Concrete Repair on a High Rise Balcony
Repairing the concrete on a balcony by sawing off the edge to prepare it for chipping Repairing the concrete on a balcony by chipping away the damaged areas with chisels. In order to gain access to the balconies, the first step is to dismantle all of the balcony railings using a STIHL Metal Saw and a chipping hammer for railing feet. We make use of marking spray, a chain, and a hammer in order to mark the concrete balcony repair that will need to be shown to the engineer. This repair will be necessary. The chain and the hammer are both utilised in the process of listening to the concrete. This will show delaminations, and sounds that are dull, hollow, or flaky will indicate areas that have delaminations and need to have the concrete removed.
Access via swing stage was required for concrete repair work on a high-rise apartment building. After we have marked out where each balcony will be located on the drop where the stage will be, we will begin to remove the concrete. To avoid placing an excessive amount of weight on the stage, having a hoist that can be used to load the rubble into is a good option to consider in this situation. In addition to this, we are going to attach mesh around the stage in order to collect debris, as well as mesh that can be sported to the lower floor in order to collect debris that is created when chipping away at the edge of the balcony.
Repair work on a high rise balcony, showing a close-up of the exposed rebar after the cut. Concrete repair on a balcony on a high rise; the edges of the concrete have exposed rebar. After snapping our chalk line for the outer edge of the balcony, we cut the concrete with a Stihl 420 Concrete saw in this area. Because of the large blade, the cuts are precise and lightning quick. Simply cutting into the concrete here will provide us with clean edges for the final pour, as opposed to chipped and jagged edges. Every exposed piece of rebar needs to have any additional concrete that may be covering it removed with a hammer so that it can be inspected. Doweling in new rebar where it is required, as well as tying in new rebar where it is required. We chip away at the concrete between the two layers of rebar in the centre slab cuts, leaving a gap the size of our fingers on the bottom layer of rebar. After that, every piece of rebar is wire wheeled with a grinder and either coated or left unprotected.
Preparing for the pour on the concrete repair
The voids along the edge of the balcony and any through slab voids that were created are filled with plywood forms that are pin-bolted into place using bolts made from plywood. To create a drip edge for the outer edge forms, we use trim on the underside of the form. This allows water to drain away. In order to create the pilot holes for the pin bolts that will be used to secure our forms to the existing concrete slab, we will be utilising the Bosch Bulldog Max Hammer Drill. After that, we would place jacks on each level in order to secure, adjust, and finally create a tight seal for our final form. When we reached the end of the pour, the forms were much simpler to remove if we had used a smaller number of pin bolts.
During the process of pouring concrete, we made use of a hoist. The individuals would be delivered to the various floors equipped with their finishing tools and a bucket containing a mixture of water and concrete to wet the voids. Additionally, a hose would be attached to the stage in order to allow water to be poured onto the floor. After the truck had finished loading our hopper, it would be transported to the appropriate floor, where it would then be pulled in and positioned on the preexisting balcony. The shovelling and loading of it into the forms would take place here. After the concrete has been poured and the work has been completed, we will come back to remove the forms and cup grind the surface of the repaired concrete to achieve an even and nice finish.
The initial move should be to acquire the services of an experienced architect or engineer to carry out a comprehensive survey. The engineer or architect will select an apartment line that has balconies that are in obvious deterioration and will work from a scaffold to fully access all of the balcony areas. The engineer or architect will use a mallet to "sound out" the concrete in order to determine which areas have sustained the most severe damage and whether or not the balconies have lost any of their structural integrity. Another red flag to look out for is standing water, which suggests that the slope of the balcony is incorrect and is preventing water from draining properly.
Railings that are not properly secured pose a threat to public safety and violate building codes.
As a part of the survey, the engineer or architect may ask for investigative probes to be conducted on the concrete by a contractor in order to determine the conditions that are deeper below the surface. It is possible that the engineer or architect will decide that it is necessary to take a core sample of the concrete. This involves making a circular cut that is approximately 4 inches wide and goes through the entire thickness of the concrete. The core sample will be put through a series of tests to determine the compressive strength of the concrete. These tests will also reveal the level of damage that has been sustained throughout the entirety of the slab of concrete. In the course of the investigation, it will be determined whether or not the steel reinforcement has rusted, which could result in a weakened structure. Keep in mind that in order to completely view the surfaces of the balconies and carry out the probes, the carpeting, any other type of covering, and the aluminium cladding will need to be removed.
On the basis of the findings of the survey, the engineer or architect will make a recommendation as to whether or not a comprehensive repair programme is required or whether limited repairs will do the trick. In the case of your building, a balcony repair programme would most likely involve the installation of brand new railings in addition to extensive concrete repairs. If the balconies have sustained a significant amount of damage, it is possible that they will need to be torn down entirely and rebuilt from scratch.
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Even though boards that are experiencing financial difficulties may be tempted to hire a contractor to make spot repairs such as patching and caulking, the underlying deterioration in the concrete will continue and only get worse if this is done. In order to properly repair the concrete, the damaged areas need to have all of the concrete removed from them. The cuts should be straight; they should not be bevelled or tapered. The surfaces of the cuts should then be scarified, which means they should be given a rough texture by mechanical means. Finally, a bonding agent should be applied so that the new concrete adheres correctly to the old concrete. A drip edge, which consists of a shallow groove running the length of the underside of the balcony and starting a few inches in from the edge, should be installed if one does not already exist. This will assist in directing water away from the structure.
Carpeting on balconies acts as a sponge, absorbing water and hastening the deterioration of the concrete.
Following the completion of any necessary concrete repairs, the surfaces of the balcony floor and kerb should have a non-slip traffic-bearing coating system applied to them. The surfaces of the balcony fascia are coated with a system that does not allow water to pass through. On the other hand, a coating that is permeable is applied to the underside of the surface so that it can breathe and permit the passage of water vapour. There is a wide range of hues available for coating systems.
Ironically, repairing the concrete balcony floors and applying a coating system can sometimes increase the amount of ponding that occurs. A paradox is caused by two different factors. First, water that used to seep into the concrete through cracks that have since been repaired stays on the surface of the concrete because the non-permeable coating system prevents water from entering through cracks in the concrete in the first place. Repairing a concrete surface with the goal of preventing water from penetrating the concrete is, of course, a desirable outcome. The second factor, however, is that water will collect in depressions in the surface of the balcony if it is not properly pitched towards the drain, which is typically located near the door leading to the balcony. To fix the problem, a new layer of sloped concrete will need to be applied in order to create the appropriate gradient for water to flow down and away from the area.
Cladding is sometimes installed on newly constructed balcony curbs as an additional layer of defence, or on deteriorated concrete curbs in an erroneous effort to stop further water infiltration. In some situations, the crumbling pieces of concrete are held together by aluminium cladding, which is another use for the material. Aluminum can at best only temporarily prevent water from passing through it. The cladding will typically become looser over time, which will allow more water to enter and will trap it. This will cause significant damage to the concrete that is underneath. After the repairs have been made, the edges of the balcony should be left exposed.
Railings that have become loose and rusted should either be repaired or replaced, depending on how severe the deterioration is. It will be necessary to remove the railing posts from the concrete and then cut away the defective concrete that is surrounding the area. It is recommended that the posts be inserted into stainless steel sleeves or sleeve openings that are then filled with epoxy. Alternatively, the posts could be inserted directly into the epoxy. In order to prevent water from entering, it is sometimes necessary to use a cushioned filler known as a backer rod, which is finished off with caulking at the base of the post penetration into the concrete.
If you are planning to replace the entire railing system, you might want to think about using aluminium rather than metal. Aluminum does not rust when it has been properly finished, and as a result, it requires significantly less maintenance than metal does because it does not need to be scraped, primed, or painted on a regular basis. The railings on the balcony are required to be at least 42 inches above the finished surface, as stipulated by the New York City Building Code. If it is necessary to add a layer of concrete to the balcony in order to achieve the appropriate slope for drainage (as was described above), the addition of the new layer could result in a reduction in the distance that separates the top of the railing and the balcony surface. When specifying the scope of the repairs to be made and designing the railing, the engineer or architect should take into account the difference in height.
It is anticipated that the new balconies will require little in the way of upkeep.
It makes sense to incorporate the balcony work as part of the overall repair programme in order to avoid paying twice as much for mobilisation and scaffold costs given that the building will be undergoing a facade restoration programme in the near future. Because the contractor will most likely work on one apartment line at a time, the board should have sufficient time to give residents notice to remove all items from their balconies, including furniture, planters, rugs, personal items, and the like. The contractor will likely work on one apartment line at a time.
The contractor may be required to submit an ACP-5 form as part of the repair programme in order to confirm that there is no asbestos-containing material in the paint that is on the railing or in the existing sealant or coating that is on the balcony. If your building is located in a Historic District, you will additionally require a work permit from the New York City Departments of Buildings, in addition to a permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
After the new repairs have been put in place, there should be very little upkeep required for the new balconies. In order to prevent water from getting inside the railing posts, the caulking around them should be checked on a regular basis and re-caulked as necessary. Residents should take care not to drag furniture or sharp edges across balcony surfaces, as this could cause scratches and compromise the coating system. The balcony should be kept clear of debris, and residents should exercise caution when doing so.
Finally, residents should avoid covering their balconies with carpeting of any kind because it acts as a sponge for water, so the surface of the balcony remains damp all the time, hastening its deterioration. In addition to this, carpeting makes it more difficult to maintain and can hide cracks.
It is impossible to avoid the following: A comprehensive balcony repair programme is a significant undertaking; however, it is an endeavour that must not be neglected. It should be approached with the same level of consideration as other large-scale exterior projects in order to maintain the residents' sense of security and preserve their capacity for enjoyment.
Repairing Concrete Floor
Use a pressure washer that has a fan tip attached to it in order to clean the concrete floor of your balcony. The accumulated dirt and debris can be removed from the concrete floor by holding the washer about 8 inches above it and moving it in slow sweeps. This will expose the cracks in the floor.
Concrete repair caulk should be used to fill in any cracks, holes, or crevices in the floor. Use your finger to make the surface of the caulk as smooth as possible. Make sure you give the caulk the full amount of time recommended on the label before using it.
In a bucket with a capacity of 5 gallons, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to prepare the concrete dressing.
Spread the prepared dressing all over the floor of the balcony, and then immediately spread it out with a trowel, pressing it firmly into the cracks and crevices. Assign a helper the task of quickly preparing another batch of concrete in order to pour it around the remaining sections of the floor in order to create a large balcony.
To prevent people from slipping on the wet concrete, run a broom with medium-sized bristles across the surface of the concrete. Permit the concrete to cure for the amount of time that is specified in the directions provided by the manufacturer.
Repairing Concrete Walls
A stiff wire brush should be used to rub the crack in the concrete wall in order to remove any loose pieces. To clean up the mess caused by the accumulation of debris, use a shop vacuum. Check to see if the crack is dry, and if it is, apply hot heat to the crack using a blow dryer for twenty minutes if it is still damp.
Drive finishing nails measuring three inches in length every 12 inches along the length of the crack. Hammer the nails until they are embedded about halfway into the concrete wall.
On a piece of scrap wood, prepare the two-part crack sealer in accordance with the instructions on the label. Spread it out evenly across the bottom of the included plastic port in the kit for the repair. Move the port over the nail so that its base is against the wall and continue sliding it up until it completely covers the nail. Installing the remaining ports along the crack will require you to repeat this process.
The crack should be extended by one inch on each side after the repair epoxy has been spread into and over it. Spread the epoxy all the way around the base and flange of each port. Avoid covering the openings of the ports with anything. Make sure you give the epoxy the full amount of time recommended on the label before using it.
Place the caulk tube that contains the liquid epoxy that came with the repair kit into the caulk gun. Inject it into each port until there is excess epoxy dripping out. Plug each of the ports with a piece of plastic. Five days should be allowed for the filler to cure.
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Using the hacksaw, remove the protruding necks from the plastic ports so that they are flush with the surrounding concrete wall.
Repairs to balconies typically start with an assessment of the level of concrete maintenance that is required. Cracks in the concrete of a balcony, even tiny ones like hairline cracks, will become a significant issue when exposed to the elements in the north-east. The first thing that needs to be done is an investigation into the reasons behind the deterioration, so that the underlying conditions can be found. After the causes have been identified, skilled technicians will repair the concrete balcony and any balcony railings that may have been damaged in the process. The removal of all deteriorated concrete and steel, the exposure of corroded reinforcing steel, the surface preparation of any remaining exposed steel and concrete, and the application of an appropriate patching material with properties comparable to the original concrete are the essential steps involved in concrete repair or the replacement of a balcony. The durability of your balcony restoration will be ensured by the application of the appropriate treatment to the steel and concrete.
FAQs About Balcony Repair
You are able to pour new concrete on top of the existing concrete. If you do not take the necessary precautions, however, problems with your old concrete that have not been resolved, such as cracks or frost heaves, will be transferred to the new concrete. Additionally, you are required to pour it so that it is at least 2 inches thick.
A crack isolation membrane, such as Ditra or NobleSeal, might be effective in repairing horizontal cracks in the concrete. If the cracks exhibit vertical shear, which means that one side is higher than the other, there is nothing that can be placed over the slab to protect the tile from further cracking, and doing so would be a waste of your time and money.
You can easily and quickly apply flooring-specific liquid membrane waterproofing to the finished floor using rollers or brushes for balcony floors that do not have cracks or tenting. This type of waterproofing is designed specifically for flooring. If the process is carried out in accordance with the directions provided by the manufacturer, there should be no gaps left behind, and the resulting thickness should be no more than a few millimetres.
Using a paint brush, coat the aged concrete that is still damp with a very thin layer of the cement paint. Carry out this step immediately before you intend to pour the new patch of concrete onto the existing concrete surface. Just before applying the concrete patch, whether it was homemade or pre-mixed, add the water to it. Combine it carefully.
Sealers that form a film on the surface of the concrete and sealers that penetrate the surface are the two primary categories of concrete sealers. Sealers that form a film on the surface of the concrete include acrylics, epoxies, and urethanes. This coating protects the concrete from moisture. Film-forming sealers, particularly acrylics, are more prone to wear and need to be reapplied more frequently than other types of sealers.