How to Restore an Old Balcony
Last modified: 2018/10/22 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
A balcony is a beautiful addition to any home, a portal to the outside world at the touch of your fingertips, and a way to get some fresh air without leaving the house. However, since our balconies are stuck outside day and night, they face deterioration and damage caused by various natural elements.
Most problems associated with wood, stone and concrete balconies are related to water damage. Therefore, frequent balcony repairs are necessary to restore the structural integrity of the surfaces and/or railings.
With this in mind, it is important to determine whether your balcony needs to be restored, furthermore if the job is cosmetic. If you have structural problems with your balcony surface or railings, it would be worth consulting and hiring a professional. However, if the repairs are cosmetic, all it takes is some cautiously administered TLC and the right tools to whip that balcony back into shape for summer.
Here are the steps to restoring a balcony made of wood, stone or cement
How to Restore a Wood Balcony
source: Pixabay, olafpictures
If your balcony is made of wood, you may notice splintered or faded boards. Worse, the boards may have twisted out of place or you may find nail heads popping up even after constantly being hammered down, These deteriorations have been caused by the wood getting wet. When wood gets wet, it expands and when it dries, it contracts. This process causes boards to mishape and move out of place. This means that the wood needs a good seal every year or two.
The first steps
Since we've determined that we do indeed have a problem, let's start repairing! Start by fixing twisted planks First, remove old nails. This can be done by driving prongs of a nail puller between heads and then by prying out the dead nails with the opposite end. Straighten out the board by cutting a notch out of a 2” x 4”, and slip it over the end of the twisted 2” X 4”, simply twist your homemade contraption and the board should move back into place. Reattach the problem plank with screws rather than nails, as they are stronger.
Keep or replace the boards?
If in terrible condition, the entire board can be replaced. If the board is in good enough condition, reuse it, as a strip of new lumber will not match with the rest of the surface.
With the twisted board straightened out, turn your attention to any popping nails in the balcony surface, if they should exist. Ones that can be gripped with a nail puller should be removed and replaced with nails that are slightly thicker and slightly longer for better holding power. For nails that are flush with the surface, use a drift punch to countersink them slightly.
The surface and products to seal the wood
To revive the balcony's colour and surface further, clean it with a wood washer and brightener, lightly scrubbing to loosen the accumulated dirt and bleaching out stains and discolorations. Wait 15 minutes and rinse off the cleaning solution with a pressure washer. The high-pressure washer rinses off chemicals, leaving the wood clean, bright and ready for a sealer.
A wood sealer will help to restore colour and protect it from weather damage, as the sealer's main purpose is to slow down the rate that the wood absorbs water, and maintains longevity, so this step is absolutely necessary. Put the sealer into a sprayer, and keep the head approximately 1 foot from the surface of the balcony. When spraying, ensure a uniform coating. Allow this to dry overnight before letting anyone step out onto its surface.
How to Restore a Concrete or Stone Balcony
source: Pixabay, WikimediaImages
If you are finding that your concrete balcony is crumbling, cracking or honeycombing, it is necessary to remove concrete fragments and shore the edges of the slab. Check to see if there is exposed steel or if your railings, handrails or railing posts are showing signs of corrosion on the panels. Further, make sure any railings that are remaining meet current provincial standards, as your balcony should be up to code in both your city and province.
Solving an aesthetical problem
If you've determined that the problems with your balcony are cosmetic, start by first removing all deteriorated concrete and refilling the empty cracks, crevices and holes. This should be done with a cement concrete for through-slab repairs, and polymer-modified concrete for patching repairs. For hairline cracks up to 1/8-inch-wide, use concrete dressing and force the thick paste into the open cracks with a putty knife. For cracks that are larger than 1 inch wide, use concrete-repair caulk. Fill the cracks in by squeezing the caulk into place, and smoothing it out with a putty knife.
Most large concrete slabs are divided into sections by expansion joints. These are in place to help control cracking and honeycombing, and the filling of these joints can vary between wood, plastic or asphalt-saturated felt. Do not cover these joints up, as they must remain exposed so that the slab can expand and contract. Make sure to mark each expansion joint with duct tape before moving forward with the next step.
Prepare the concrete and apply it on the surface
Next, it`s time to mix your concrete. This should be done using a heavy-duty mixing paddle as well as a 5-gallon bucket to hold the correct amounts of water and concrete powder. To mix the concrete into a smooth consistency, stir water and concrete as per instructions of the brand you’ve chosen. Make sure to place the mixing paddle into the clear water once the concrete has come to the desired smooth consistency.
It is essential that repairs are carried out using the correct repair mortars and waterproofing system. Polymer-based cement resurfaces are formulated to transform cracked, spalled, weatherworn concrete to like-new condition. Pour the concrete dressing onto the slab and immediately spread it around. This can be done with a flat steel trowel, pressing down hard to force the dressing into the crevices. If you're wanting a textured, slip-resistant surface, draw a bristle broom over the wet concrete, allowing it to dry following.
To finish the job, pull duct tape from expansion joints immediately after sweeping. Wait 24 hours and then apply a clear, waterborne masonry sealer to keep water from leaking in, improving longevity and helping your balcony to stand up to years of weather damage!
source: Pixabay, WikimediaImages
Were you looking for tips on how to restore a wrought iron balcony? Check out How to fix your wrought iron staircase, which contains information that may be useful for this type of project.
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