Why Do Balconies Leak? Structural Building Movement

Posted on 2018-11-30

There’s nothing more damaging to the value of your home than a leaking balcony. Well, it’s only water, you think, shrugging off the slowly cracking grout as something to deal with later; the longer you delay, the more you may pay – nobody likes losing money. Although the how and when are very important, knowing why will prevent future damage – let’s lift up the tiles and see what’s underneath.

What is Building Movement
Building movement occurs every day, across cities, towns and suburban developments; every structure will experience expansion and contraction, as Australia’s harsh seasons batter the integrity of your home, workplace and weekend amenities. Swollen walls/ architraves, cracked tiles and paint, and sagging floors can all be related to building movement, either directly or symptomatically.

Your home or rental property may be new, old or middle aged, it doesn’t matter. Although your investment is holding up its end of the bargain in other areas, a leaking balcony can be a sign of inferior craftsmanship. Not all movement is bad, but balcony and bathroom leaks can be dangerous.

What Building Movement Does to Your Balcony
There are many different types of building structures including timber, metal & concrete, all are prone to building movement. Fast Fact: Almost all balconies are tiled, wherever tiling is involved grouting follows.

Because your home is constantly moving ever so slightly, causing cracks to form in the tile grout (and eventually the tiles themselves), vulnerabilities need to already exist to be exploited. Once fissures form, the Australian elements creep in and create a wet, humid paradise in which mould can thrive; one weakness leads to another. It’s a vicious cycle.

When Do You Have a Problem?
As we said before, building movement is not inherently bad, nor is it good, it just is. However, the combination of building movement, poor choice of materials, poor workmanship and the harsh Australian elements can spell disaster within a matter of months. An accident could be lurking just around the corner, so how do you tell if you have a problem?

1. Obvious Damage/Change in Appearance: Although it may be too late to take pictures, note any details included in the pre-purchase inspection or tenancy report. How was the balcony rated? Were there any signs of deterioration noted? Make an honest assessment of your continually damp balcony. Are there cracks in the grout? Has efflorescence occurred? Use our photo gallery (under the Resources) and match-up our listed symptoms.

2. Presence of Silicone: The presence of silicone on balconies, in many cases, may have been applied as a solution to stopping water from travelling below the tile surface. Such sealants will degrade if they are not applied properly or meet industry and environment standards, including UV and general weather. A Megasealed service is a preventative measure from water and moisture travelling below the tiled surface and uses the appropriate materials in doing so. Perfect for Australian homes and businesses.

What Can You Do?
Stop balcony leaks before they spread and become a larger problem – contacting Megasealed today will save you time, spare you money and ensure your home is safe and secure. Don’t let grout get the better of you – talk to us today.