Ever since Romeo and Juliet made them famous, balconies have been popular additions to our homes and living spaces. For condominium and HOA communities, balconies can add visual zest, as well as a few more feet of living space that allow us to enjoy the outdoors and some time in the sun.
As with any structure, balconies need a care and maintenance to look their best and last their longest. What goes into caring for balconies, and what happens when they need fixing? With proper planning and the right tools, maintenance and repair can add years of enjoyment and value to your HOA’s balconies, as well as keeping them safe for residents and their guests.
How They Work
For the most part, balconies are built out of steel and concrete these days, with a few wood-and-steel models mixed in here and there. According to Stan Wellinsky, vice president of Valcourt Building Services LLC in Elizabeth, there are two kinds of concrete balconies: continuous slab, which are simply an extension of a building’s concrete floor, and those with steel frames mounted to the structure’s exterior, with planks extending outward from the building’s frame and filled with concrete. On both types of balconies, railings are added after initial construction and are either embedded into the balcony or surface mounted.
Keep them Looking Good
Concrete balconies “should last forever, with proper routine maintenance,” Wellinsky says. Without proper maintenance however, “I’ve seen them develop problems in 10 years or less.”
Proper maintenance starts with establishing a baseline for a balcony or porch’s materials and conditions and knowing how they age each year. “The maintenance man should do a visual inspection, documenting any problems he sees,” says Wellinsky. “If there’s a crack two inches long, he should record it on a spreadsheet. That establishes a benchmark early on.”