Lay balcony slabs - wood, concrete or plastic?

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The floor is on every balcony a very special importance. He should not only look good and if possible leave no cold impression underfoot. Rather, it must also be constructed structurally correct and its nature must include a seal.
A balcony is a projection on the building above the terrain surface. Below are always other parts of the building such as other balconies, terraces or rooms, which would be affected by leaks from the pene- trating rainwater, etc.
For each balcony, a load or traffic load has been calculated prior to its construction by the structural engineer, which may not be exceeded. Therefore, it must not be equipped with any type of pad and the weight of this pad plays a crucial role in the selection.
Balcony slabs in a rental apartment
If a tenant wants to beautify his balcony with a handsome floor, he must first discuss this structural change with his landlord.
Balconies on rented houses usually consist of prefabricated balcony systems, which are installed by steel construction companies. Your floor construction almost always consists of a steel plate. Thus, the possibilities to beautify such a floor, already limited. Concrete and terrazzo tiles would be too heavy and would affect the load bearing capacity of the balcony.
In addition, even with watertight grouting, the steel would be deprived of any future visual inspection and any corrosion damage would be noticed too late. Such a steel floor requires constant ventilation to prevent waterlogging.
If its users choose a wooden floor, they can choose from a variety of hardwoods in the form of boards, panels or tiles. Again, the laying must be done with open joints in order to derive rainwater, etc. can. A very high-quality alternative to this are panels or tiles made of WPC, a wood-plastic composite material. In combination with a ventilating substructure wood and WPC are best suited and offer a high view quality.
Balcony slabs on a balcony with concrete slab
In old buildings or prefabricated buildings of the 70s balconies were also created with concrete slabs as floors. For them, the same applies as for the aforementioned steel floors. Their load capacity is often already limited or their condition would have to be checked before laying heavy concrete slabs first. Therefore, their application should be waived. Hardwoods and WPCs offer diverse and architecturally beautiful alternatives.
The situation is different for a single or multi-family house, whose balcony has already been designed for increased load-bearing capacity due to its solid covering. He receives a statically calculated bottom plate that can absorb this load. When building a sealing membrane and possibly also a footstep sound or heat insulation has been installed in this plate already. The conclusion is a screed, on which all forms of plates, tiles, wood or plastic elements can be laid. It is only important that the internal seal is not damaged when drilling these coverings, for example by drilling. In any case, preference is given to the variant in which the finished structure of the screed is not interfered with.
If sufficient load-bearing capacity is available, tiles or concrete or terrazzo tiles can be laid on this screed in a mortar bed or with tile adhesive. Their joints are sealed with a flexible adhesive and sealing additives and the finish forms a seal. Under no circumstances may concrete slabs be laid dry and the joints merely filled with chippings etc. In this design, the waterlogging would remain permanently on the screed and long term lead to its damage. However, tiles have the disadvantage of different coefficients of expansion of the materials. In the long term, they often lead to cracks or breakouts of individual plates.
Wood and WPC are therefore the preferred materials on a balcony with a concrete slab to give the floor a beautiful appearance. Your transfer has already been described. They can be designed with a ventilated base so that there is no need to intervene in the underlying screed. Meanwhile, various manufacturers also supply elastic floor coverings with dummy joints in a wide variety of patterns and colors. They are also made of plastic or rubber granules and are provided with a textured surface.
Including their drainage on the bottom, they reliably prevent waterlogging and can also be easily laid by the experienced DIY enthusiast.
The most important principles for a suitable covering on the balcony are therefore:

  • Concrete and terrazzo boards - only on concrete, but pay attention to load capacity
  • Wood as boards or tiles - with ventilated base on all surfaces
  • WPC plastic - Laying as on wood on all balconies
  • Plastic mats - with bottom drainage on all balcony floors
If these rules are followed, every balcony floor is the architectural icing on the cake with longevity.
Balcony slabs are available in different versions. The most used balcony slabs are made of stone, but wooden balcony slabs are also gaining in popularity. The color selection has no limits. Since the balcony slabs are for outdoor use, they must be frost-resistant and weather-resistant. So that the balcony can be entered safely even in wet conditions, the balcony slabs should continue to be non-slip.
The laying
The laying of balcony slabs is very similar to the laying of patio slabs. In order for water to drain off unhindered, a gradient is very important. This should always be away from the house. If there is no slope, you can try to create a slope by means of a drainage and wood slats incorporated into it. This often works on concrete slabs. In the trade, there are surface drainages that are simply placed under the balcony slabs.
Balcony slabs are usually laid on a concrete slab. For this mortar is needed so that the balcony slabs can be firmly connected to the concrete slab. The mortar is applied according to the packing instructions. Then the balcony slabs are laid on it. If balcony slabs of stone or concrete are used, the slabs should also be coated with mortar so that no voids are created under the balcony slabs.
The balcony slabs must be brought up to the same height by knocking with a rubber or mallet. When installing balcony slabs, it is important to pay attention to the incorporation of an expansion joint. Missing these may lead to cracks in the balcony slabs or the balcony slabs stand out. Balcony tiles do not necessarily have to be grouted, but if you decide to do so, you are best served with flexible materials.
Often come with the laying of balcony slabs so-called pedestal bearings are used. Pedestal bearings are attached to all four corners of a balcony slab. They are very stable and secure so that the lining is tread-proof. If pedestals are used, grouting should be avoided. This allows water to drain away unhindered.
Balcony slabs of wood are often laid on wooden slats. These are laid at a distance of about 50 centimeters in the direction of fall. The balcony slabs are simply screwed on. It is practical that water can drain between the slats without any problems. In order to protect the slats from water, it is possible to lay the slat construction on stones.
So that the balcony slabs have an even longer life, they can be impregnated.

Video Board: How to Upgrade a Concrete Urban Patio - This Old House.

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