A balcony, while designed to be a permanent addition to the building, and we do tend to take them and their stability for granted, they aren’t invincible. Balconies do get damaged, sometimes by things you can control and sometimes by things that you can’t. Still, it is useful to know what might damage your balcony so you can avoid the damage or know when to look for issues.
1. Poor Design
Unfortunately, not all architects and balcony railing installers take their design as seriously as others. Especially if your balcony was built before more stringent building codes were put in place, then you may have structural issues that can slowly damage your balcony. Overtime, balconies that aren’t properly supported may end up damaged or may even collapse. Really, this issue can only be assessed by a professional, so if you see signs of damage, it is wise to get an inspection that can assess for poor design.
2. Drainage Issues
Water is a problem for everything that is outside, even for balconies made of sturdier materials like concrete and metals. Balconies appear flat, but they need to be barely sloped in order to direct water off them properly instead of into your apartment or condominium. Poor drainage might keep water on the balcony for longer than normal, which is called pooling. If this happens, the water will damage the balcony and wear away at its surfaces, especially wood and metal. But concrete can also be affected, especially when it has cracks or holes.
Fires are more common on balconies than you may expect, particularly because it’s where people tend to smoke and leave out decorative candles. Fire is very damaging to wooden balcony elements and may also damage metals. It is, of course, a large safety risk and may spread to the exterior and interior of the building. After a fire, all elements of your home should be assessed to see if they need repair, including the balcony and its railing.
4. Lack of Maintenance
Some balconies need more maintenance than others, but it is almost always important. Unless you have a brand-new balcony in concrete, you will probably need to maintain some elements of it, whether that is resealing metal, restraining wood, or fixing cracks in concrete. Most often, you will need to maintain the flooring on the balcony, particularly if it isn’t concrete, and some railing systems may also need maintenance.
5. Natural Disasters
Hurricanes, windstorms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and other serious weather events may do damage to your balcony. Most often, balconies in areas that are prone to certain natural disasters have building codes that require balconies have a steadfast design that can stand up to the pressures of them. However, you can’t plan for everything. Serious disasters can still damage the structure that holds up the balcony or cause corrosive damage, which will undermine the balcony overtime. Just like after fires, you need to have professionals assess the strength of your balcony after major disasters.