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Traditional vs. Remedial Leaking Balcony Repair Costs – Guess who won?

Balcony sealed with remedial membrane

Leaking balconies are a nightmare for homeowners and property managers. Not only do they compromise the integrity of the building, but the repair is usually quite costly.

I will explain why and show you a different approach.

The Traditional Offer

This 114m² rooftop balcony, separated into three smaller sections, was plagued by leaks. It was on top of a 6-floor building, making access an additional challenge. The owner had a repair quote using the traditional approach that would cost him a whopping $390,000. In other words, each square meter would cost over $3,400. The exorbitant price was more than the owner was willing to pay, and he looked for a more budget-friendly option.

So, why was the initial quote so astronomical? Several factors contributed to this eye-watering estimate:

  1. Working Constraints: Multi-residential buildings impose strict regulations on working hours and noise levels, often limiting when and how repair work can be done.
  2. Cleanliness and Safety: Maintaining a clean working environment, including the use of elevators and adherence to fire safety protocols, adds to the overall cost.
  3. Restricted Access: Limited access to the balcony due to its location on the 6th floor further complicates the repair process.
  4. Material Removal and Storage: The most significant expense was attributed to removing and storing existing materials, including tiles, waterproofing, screed, and adhesive. These materials needed to be brought back to the same location and re-laid.

The Remedial Waterproofing Solution

Instead of removing the old surface, remedial waterproofing works with the existing materials. You use a paint-on membrane on top of the existing tiles and save time, money, and do not annoy your neighbors with noisy construction lasting weeks.

In this case, we recommended Remedial Membranes’ Clear Waterproofing Membrane. And the cost came down to less than $40,000. (Insert a table with offer data.)

Here’s why this approach made financial sense:

  1. Surface Condition: The existing surface was in good condition, making it a suitable candidate for repair rather than complete replacement.
  2. Material Retention: By retaining the existing building materials, we significantly cut down on costs associated with removal and storage.
  3. Easy Maintenance: The Clear Waterproofing Membrane comes with a 10-year warranty, like traditional waterproofing membranes. Any issues that arise can be easily identified as the membrane turns white. Patch repairs are possible and straightforward without the need for a full recoat.

The Broader Perspective

Leaking balconies are not isolated incidents. Many multi-residential buildings suffer from balcony leaks. While these areas are for the exclusive use of unit owners, they fall under common property. As a consequence, all building owners share the cost of individual balcony repairs.

In most cases, building materials used in construction are designed to last the life of the building, except for waterproofing. Therefore, prioritizing remedial waterproofing as the first consideration when repairs are needed is a cost-effective solution. It not only addresses the issue but also spares the Body Corporate Kitty from bearing excessive financial burdens.

Conclusion

Repairing a leaking balcony doesn’t have to break the bank. By exploring alternative solutions like remedial waterproofing, property owners and managers can save substantially without endangering the long-term integrity of their buildings.

I hope I could also show you how a different approach—preserving what’s already there rather than starting from scratch—often saves you more than just money.

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