Why do balconies leak?

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    Even though balconies are one of the most sought-after amenities in apartment buildings, residents may find that they are more often than not a source of stress and frustration rather than a place to unwind and have fun. This is due to the fact that these are the most common locations on a property where water leaks occur. The worst-case scenario is that this leakage makes the balcony unsafe, which is the nightmare scenario for every strata property owner. Today, we are going to talk about the different causes of leaks, the steps you can take to stop them from getting worse, and who is responsible for making repairs.

    According to the findings of a survey conducted by an insurance company, the majority of failed waterproofing attempts can be found on balconies and terraces. Even though the design criteria for many of these structures give inadequate consideration to the issue of water control, leaking balconies are not always the result of a problem with the waterproofing membrane. Leaking balconies can have catastrophic effects if they are not properly inspected or planned for, and this is something that every homeowner and builder should be concerned about.

    There is nothing that can decrease the value of your home more than a balcony that is leaking water. You may be thinking, "Well, it's only water," and brushing off the grout that is slowly cracking as something that can be dealt with at a later time. However, the longer you wait, the more you may have to pay – and nobody likes to lose money. Even though the how and when are very important, the most important thing is to understand the why, as this will prevent further damage in the future. Let's lift the tiles and look at what's underneath them.

    The balconies, terraces, and rooftops of high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been shown to have the highest number of waterproofing failures, according to statistics compiled by insurance companies. A significant number of these structures have design criteria that do not adequately consider water control.

    • The entry of water into living spaces below can cause tensions between neighbours and frequently results in legal action being taken.
    • The widespread problem of mould spores from damp-affected areas, which are harmful to people's health and pose a threat to public safety.
    • The invasion of water is causing damage to concrete structures, which will eventually lead to the failure of essential structural components.
    • Additionally, the waterproof membrane is not always to blame for the problem.

    Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a wide range of balcony repairs.

    Why balconies leak

    In their lifetime, most balconies will develop some sort of leak. The efficiency of waterproofing membranes has been impacted as a result of the significant shifts that have taken place over the course of time in the methods used for construction and waterproofing. In particular, multi-level apartment buildings are seeing an increase in the number of balconies that are being built with minimal falls to the substrate. These kinds of balconies are vulnerable to a phenomenon known as "ponding," which refers to the accumulation of water and moisture between the membrane and the tiles. If the waterproofing membrane is unable to withstand the presence of ponding water, the membrane will eventually deteriorate, which will result in water leaks. In addition, waterlogging can cause joint failure, which ultimately results in leaks.


    Common causes of balcony leaks

    The failure to properly plan before construction, the absence of building maintenance, the pooling of rainwater, which leads to the breakdown of membranes, the absence of drainage, and the natural movement of the building, which can lead to cracks and leakage, are all common causes of leaking balconies.

    During the preparation stage of the construction of balconies, proper care and supervision need to be ensured at all times. In order to lessen the likelihood that the balcony will develop a leak, the contractor must have knowledge of how to correctly instal the components, as well as how to use the waterproofing membranes, in accordance with the most recent manufacturing and building codes. The use of shortcuts during construction or a lack of expertise can lead to an improper installation of the waterproofing, which can result in leaks, damage to the structural component of the balcony and building, and the possibility of collapse or breakdown of the structure, not to mention the potential health risks that may result from the formation of mould.

    It might be necessary to spend a lot of money to repair the waterproofing system, which would involve the reinstallation of membranes and other associated finishes. Furthermore, leaks can spark disagreements between neighbours or between homeowners and landlords, which may ultimately result in legal action being taken.

    All of these risks can result in a variety of complications, including a loss of financial resources, a decline in property value, and potential threats to one's health and safety.

    What is Building Movement

    Building movement occurs every day across cities, towns, and suburban developments; every structure will experience expansion and contraction as a result of Australia's harsh seasons, which batter the integrity of your home, workplace, and weekend amenities. Building movement can occur anywhere in Australia. There is a connection between building movement and sagging floors, bulging walls and architraves, cracked tiles and paint, and other symptomatically or directly related issues.

    It makes no difference whether the age of your home or rental property is new, old, or somewhere in the middle. Even though your investment is living up to its end of the bargain in other respects, the fact that your balcony is leaking may indicate that the craftsmanship was subpar. Not all movement is a bad thing, but there is cause for concern regarding the balcony and the bathroom leaks.

    What Building Movement Does to Your Balcony

    There are many distinct kinds of building structures, the most common of which are timber, metal, and concrete; however, each of these can be subject to movement. The vast majority of balconies are covered in tiles, and grouting is always required in conjunction with tiling projects.

    It is necessary for there to be vulnerabilities that are all set to be exploited because the tiles in your home are constantly shifting ever so slightly, which causes cracks to form in the tile grout (and eventually in the tiles themselves). As soon as fissures begin to form, the elements of Australia begin to seep in and create a wet and humid paradise where mould can flourish; one vulnerability leads to another. It's a circle that never ends.

    When Do You Have a Problem?

    Building movement, as we have established previously, is neither inherently bad nor inherently good; rather, it simply is. Nevertheless, in a matter of months, the combination of building movement, a poor choice of materials, poor workmanship, and the harsh elements of Australia can spell disaster. How can you tell if you have a problem when there's always the possibility that something bad will happen just around the corner?

    Obvious Damage/Change in Appearance: 

    Take careful notes on any information that is presented in the pre-purchase inspection or the tenancy report, even though it may be too late to take pictures. How did guests rate the outdoor space? Were there any telltale signs of deterioration that could be identified? Conduct an open and honest evaluation of the constantly wet balcony you have. Is the grout showing signs of cracking? Is there evidence of efflorescence? Match up our symptom list with the images in our photo gallery, which can be found under the Resources tab.

    Presence of Silicone: 

    In many instances, silicone may have been applied to balconies as a solution to the problem of water travelling below the surface of the tiles. This would explain the presence of silicone on balconies. These sealants will deteriorate if they are not applied correctly or if they do not meet the standards set by the industry and the environment, including those pertaining to UV light and the weather in general. Megasealing is a service that uses the appropriate materials to prevent water and moisture from penetrating below the tiled surface. This is accomplished by acting as a preventative measure against water and moisture. Ideal for use in Australian households and commercial settings.

    Inspirations turned to Nightmares. When Leaking Balconies are ignored

    Leaking It is important not to put off making repairs to the balcony. Are you able to determine if there is a leak in your balcony? Because of the rise in the number of people living in close quarters across major metropolitan areas. The unassuming balcony extends usable square footage into the fresh air. Whereas the simple act of having a barbeque or being encircled by vegetation can bring about a sense of peace and calm in the midst of our hectic lives, an ongoing problem with balcony leaks can quickly transform that sense of tranquilly into a state of chaos and headaches.

    Leaks in elevated balconies can have an impact on the living space or apartment directly below the balcony. It is therefore essential to have the awareness that any delay in the completion of balcony repairs will not only have an effect on your own home, but also on the homes of your neighbours. The substructure beneath can suffer irreparable damage if there is a water leak. Defects in a balcony can have serious negative effects on the value of a property as well as the use and enjoyment of the property.

    Assessing your Balcony & Determining the cause for a leaking balcony

    The most effective method for fixing a balcony that leaks is to have a person who is trained and experienced in waterproofing examine the area to determine the source of the balcony leakage. Construction methods and Australian Building Codes are familiar territory for qualified professionals who hold appropriate licences. Failure of a balcony's waterproofing to prevent water infiltration can be caused by a variety of factors. Because of this, determining the cause of the leak, as well as the stability of the structure and the length of time it has been occuring, will help determine the appropriate method of repair.

    Along with the recommendations and solutions offered by an experienced professional, an accurate assessment of leaking balconies is an important step in the process that leads to the final results.

    Looking for balcony repairs Melbourne? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

    Waterproof Membrane Failure

    The failure of a balcony's waterproofing membrane is the most common cause of leaks on balconies. The membrane system that covers a balcony creates a waterproof barrier against rain and snow. The appropriate application needs to be made at all of the wall upturns, drains, around the balustrade, and any other areas of the balcony where water could potentially penetrate. A qualified contractor has the experience and education necessary to investigate the waterproofing membrane and determine whether or not it is the source of the leak. If leaks are allowed to go undetected or uncorrected, they can lead to even larger leaks, which can result in significant damage and expensive repairs if they are not addressed. The structure of the balcony itself may in some instances be the source of the water damage. The problems that exist with the structure of the balcony will be identified by your contractor, who will then provide recommendations for a solution.

    According to insurance companies, the number of waterproofing failures that occur with balconies is the highest, despite the fact that waterproofing only accounts for less than 3 percent of the total building costs. When balconies are built, the preparation stage is an essential part of the process because it ensures the balcony's long-term stability. Defects in balconies can arise either from the architect's poor design or the builder's poor construction of the balcony. Homeowners could put pressure on builders to reduce their overall construction costs or to speed up the building process. Which in turn may lead them to use cheaper and less effective waterproofing products or to not leave sufficient time for the waterproofing to cure properly. Rainwater that pools on the balcony can also eventually erode the waterproof membrane if the balcony is poorly designed and has an inadequate slope that does not drain water properly. This can happen if the balcony does not drain water properly.

    What to look out for to prevent balcony leaks?

    Because balconies are constantly subjected to the elements, they are at risk of developing water seepage problems. The construction of each balcony is one-of-a-kind, and there is a greater potential for water penetration into the structure if the waterproofing techniques do not account for the balcony layout. In order to prevent leaks, balconies need to have appropriate drainage and isolation from the interior elements of a building. Additionally, the appropriate waterproofing membrane must be installed. The failure of the waterproofing is typically the result of an inexperienced contractor, the incorrect selection of membrane, or the desire on the part of either the homeowner or the contractor to cut costs.

    If you have a balcony that is leaking, the first thing you need to do is conduct a thorough check and assessment to determine whether or not there are any abnormalities or maintenance issues. When you pour water over the tiles and notice that some of it leaks out, this is an indication that the membrane has been breached or is defective, which allows water to seep through. Other things to keep an eye out for include the following:

    • Broken or missing grout between the tiles.
    • traces of water on the underside of the balcony or on the ceiling of the interior.
    • Issues were experienced when attempting to open and close the balcony doors.
    • paint that is flaking or cracking.
    • Joints in the balcony railing and posts that aren't very strong structurally.

    If you have reason to believe that water is leaking onto your balcony, the most prudent thing for you to do is to get a professional to conduct an inspection of the area so that you can figure out the cause of the problem. They are able to determine whether or not any of the preceding conditions apply, as well as whether or not the membrane has failed.

    It is highly unlikely that you will be directly responsible for the contractor that was hired to build your balcony; therefore, there is very little that you can do to prevent these construction errors from occuring. If you are able to identify problems at an early stage and seek the assistance of experts, you can reduce the likelihood that water damage will have far-reaching repercussions.

    The most common signs are water stains and leaks on the underside of the balcony, cracked or missing grout, and peeling paint. This is a good reason why you should talk to your downstairs neighbours every once in a while. Other signs include missing or cracked grout; peeling paint; and cracked or missing grout. If you notice any of these, you need to bring it to the attention of your strata committee or strata management so that they can get a professional's opinion on the matter. This evaluation will also be of interest to the other owners of the units in your strata scheme because it is highly likely that all of the units in your strata scheme were constructed at the same time by the same contractor.

    Preventing balcony leaks

    Because balconies are constantly subjected to the elements, they are more likely to develop water seepage issues. The construction of each balcony is one of a kind, and the balconies themselves can look very different from one building to the next. If the methods of waterproofing do not accommodate the design of the balcony, then the possibility of water penetration is increased. Drainage is essential, as is the correct isolation from the interior components of the building, followed by the installation of the appropriate waterproofing membrane to stop any leaks that may occur. Failures in waterproofing are typically the result of inexperienced contractors, the selection of the wrong membrane, or attempts to cut costs during the construction process.

    If you discover a water leak on your balcony, you should immediately contact a professional to carry out an exhaustive check and evaluation in order to determine whether or not there are any abnormalities or maintenance issues. Signs may include paint that is peeling or splitting, grout that is cracked or missing, water stains on the underside of the balcony or the internal ceiling, difficulties opening and closing the balcony doors, peeling grout, and structural joints that are weak in the balcony railings and posts.

    Who is responsible for repairs?

    According to Fair Trading NSW, the responsibility for fixing leaks on balconies typically falls on the building's owner's corporation. However, every strata scheme has its own set of bylaws, and it is strongly suggested that you read through them in order to determine what exactly is and is not considered common property in your particular scheme.

    However, let us assume that your strata scheme has implemented model bylaws that were created after 1974. If this is the case, then the maintenance of the balconies will almost certainly fall under the purview of the owner's corporation because they will be considered part of the common property.

    Dangers of a leaking balcony

    You should never put off fixing a leaking balcony for any length of time. Not only can the leak cause significant damage to the structure of the balcony, but it can also cause damage to the other parts of your home that are nearby. The deterioration and decay that results from seepage from leaking balconies. It won't take long for the leak to spread to other parts of your home and even affect the walls of the exterior. After some time has passed, you might start to notice that the paint on your walls or ceiling is chipping or changing colour. In addition, the leaks may cause damage to the electrical system in your home, which is a particularly hazardous situation because it may result in a loss of power or potentially harmful charges. Imagine that your living room is located below the balcony of your apartment. The water from the leak has made its way into the substructure, and it has now spread to the electrical wiring that powers your lights. If you touch the light switch, you might receive an unpleasant electric shock. Last but not least, the entire structure is in danger of collapsing if water is able to penetrate the exterior walls of the building or the space below the balcony. It is extremely risky to put off fixing leaks in the balcony for any length of time. As a consequence, the typical outcome is construction work that is more difficult and requires more time.

    It is imperative that you get in touch with a professional as soon as you even suspect that there might be a leak coming from the balcony. Your licenced contractor is able to start repairs right away, which will help minimise the amount of damage.

    Waterproof Membranes to Australian Standards

    The best way to stop water from leaking through balconies is to make sure they are properly waterproofed when they are first built. When installing waterproofing membranes, contractors need to ensure they adhere to the standards outlined in AS4654.2.

    In order to avoid problems with leaking and seepage over time, there are certain precautions that need to be taken. Installing a waterproofing membrane on your balcony is the method that is most highly recommended for protecting it from water damage caused by leaks. In order for the membrane to serve its purpose, it must be of a high quality and have a durable construction.

    Several areas of your balcony that are susceptible to water infiltration are shielded from damage by a membrane system. You can protect the structure for extended periods of time and save money on costly repairs if you stop water from leaking underneath the balcony and prevent it from getting wet.

    The most important requirement for the waterproof membrane is that it be flexible. A skilled contractor is aware of the fact that the expansion and contraction of building materials over time is caused by a variety of factors, including the environment. A waterproofing membrane that is flexible can accommodate movement in the structure, which includes movement in the building that is connected to your balcony.

    When it comes to waterproofing a balcony, you should not try to save time or money by cutting corners. Application that is not done correctly will result in damage and leaks. Only the highest-quality materials and the most effective methods of application. Will bring about an effective membrane system that can be used to waterproof a balcony.

    Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of the Melbourne balcony repairs right here.

    Fix a Leaking Balcony with professional help

    fix a leaking balcony with professional help

    When it comes to fixing leaks in balconies, homeowners should steer clear of doing repairs themselves using do-it-yourself methods. Leaks from balconies are more than just an annoyance; they can also pose a significant threat to both your property and your person. Repairing a leaking balcony and properly waterproofing it is a complicated process that requires specialised tools and techniques, and it is recommended that only trained professionals attempt this repair.

    Hiring a waterproofing company that is both licenced and professional is the most effective method for repairing a leaking balcony. An experienced professional is aware of how to test for leaks and locate the weakest point of your balcony that is susceptible to water penetration. As part of the renovation process, they will take down any structures, such as air conditioning units, that are located on the balcony in order to ensure that it is properly sealed. Repairing extensive damage requires a specific set of abilities as well as years of experience, both of which licenced professionals possess. In addition to this, they will examine the entirety of the balcony and provide guidance regarding other potential issues, such as drainage and overflows.

    When caught in their early stages, balcony leaks can be fixed in a way that is both straightforward and inexpensive. If it is neglected for a significant amount of time, you will be forced to start over and rebuild the structure. Exorbitant costs may be incurred when re-constructing a balcony. Therefore, taking corrective action is always recommended.

    Employing a professional waterproofing service is the most effective method for repairing a balcony that is leaking water. There are a lot of steps that need to be completed, and only a trained expert has the skills necessary to do them. They will determine which waterproofing membrane solution is the most effective in order to withstand the structural movement of the balconies and to seal it off from the elements. Additionally, they will inspect the balcony and provide recommendations for any additional work that may be necessary to alleviate other potential issues such as drainage, overflows, and so on. When it comes to the rectification of leaking balconies and terraces, Projex supplies the membrane systems (Wolfin and Cosmofin) that are of the highest quality possible. These systems are able to withstand the building movements and offer excellent longevity.

    FAQs About Balcony Repair

    Make sure that all of the wall and floor joints, nail and screw heads, and flanges are sealed with joint sealant (ensuring penetration flanges are installed correctly). To ensure that the balcony is completely watertight, apply two coats of a polyurethane membrane.

    The presence of cracked or missing grout is one of the most typical warning signs that a balcony is leaking. In addition to paint that is either flaking or peeling and water stains on the underside of the balcony. In some situations, you might find that water is dripping down the walls or coming through the ceiling.

    A deck membrane, also known as a balcony membrane, is a watertight layer that can be installed on a balcony or deck to protect the underlying structure from water infiltration. It is possible for the membrane to be left uncovered, in which case it would serve as the actual walking surface, or it could be covered with pavers made of precast concrete, wood planking, or a concrete topping.

    You can prevent any kind of water damage to the balcony by sealing it with the appropriate sealer, which will allow you to waterproof it from the surface up. If you waterproof the surface, you will be protecting the structure of the balcony as a whole.

    Because most decks and balconies are constantly exposed to the elements, the actual expected life span is likely to be between 10 and 15 years. This, of course, is predicated on the assumption that proper maintenance is performed at regular intervals throughout the lifespan of the structure.

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