How Salt Negatively Affects Concrete Balconies in Toronto
Timely balcony repair and maintenance is critical to preventing major structural and safety issues in Toronto buildings. Balcony deterioration typically manifests itself on the surface, side and undersurface of the concrete slab and in corrosion of the railings. Rust stains, cracked and crumbling concrete, as well as pits and holes in the flooring are common signs of balcony degradation. Neglect leads to unsafe structures which threaten the lives of building occupants and also the pedestrians and vehicular traffic below. Rusted or crumbling balconies reflect poorly on building management, negatively affecting curb appeal and property value.
In addition to age, weathering and neglect, salt is one of the major causes of cracked and crumbling balconies. Our balcony restoration experts explain how salt finds its way to your balconies and what this can do to concrete structures.
How Salt Reaches Your Balconies
- Aggregate: The presence of limestone deposits in quarries where concrete aggregate might be obtained, contain concentrations of salt.
- Ready-mix concrete: Previously, concrete that was used to construct buildings in the winter time contained higher than average levels of salt. It was typically added to ready-mix cement to reduce the effects of cold weather and reduce hardening time.
- De-icers: Used to melt the snow and ice on roads, driveways and balconies, de-icers typically contain salt which is the cheapest and most effective thawing agent in most cases. Low-rise buildings in close proximity to the road have increased exposure to salt migration from the street.
4 Ways Salt Causes Balcony Degradation
While salt does not chemically interact with concrete, it attracts moisture which is the main enemy affecting the durability of concrete. It lowers the freezing point of water, thus increasing pressure. It encourages ponding and freeze-thaw cycles which result in water penetration and spalling or flaking of concrete.
ere are 4 ways salt causes degradation of balconies in Toronto buildings.
- Corrosion of steel reinforcements in the slab, and balcony railings and anchors
- Cracking, spalling/flaking of the slab and walls
- Erosion of waterproof seal and membrane
- Leakage on the underside of the slab
The galvanic corrosion of reinforcing steel due to high concentrations of salt in the concrete is frequently compounded by an inadequate depth of cement covering the reinforcements. The ideal way to prevent this is by increasing the amount of concrete cover around reinforcements during construction or restoration. It is also important to ensure high quality waterproofing and sealants.
Our expertise in balcony rehabilitation results in cost-effective solutions to improve structural strength. From residential to institutional and commercial buildings, Zero Defects’ experienced team serves a wide variety of needs. We work closely with architects and engineers to ensure the best results and help reduce future liabilities. Seamless project execution facilitates on time and within budget completion with the least disruption to building use.
For balcony repair services to enhance building safety, appearance and value, contact the balcony rehabilitation experts in Toronto.