Balconies are an excellent addition to residential and commercial establishments. Whether you are moving into a building with a balcony or considering adding one to your home, it is essential to ensure they are safe. While these structures shouldn’t fall, they can, along with attached structures. According to recent statistics, at least one balcony falls yearly in the United States, but these cases are more often in areas with less strict building codes. It is common for property owners to wonder if their balcony will collapse and what causes such issues. If you rent apartments, own condos, or manage buildings with balconies, here’s what you need to know.
Why Do Balconies collapse?
As mentioned, balconies are not designed to collapse, but this happens in rare cases. The best way to prevent sudden collapse and subsequent damage is to hire a professional for installation and maintenance. Here are the main reasons balconies collapse.
Failure of the Cantilevered Slab
The cantilevered slab is reinforced by steel and supported by only one end. While the concrete slab may not show deterioration, failure can result from poor design or age. In some cases, severe damage from a storm or tree impact can compromise the structural integrity of your structure. Although balconies appear strong, they are built to withstand a certain amount of weight, and exceeding the limit can cause a sudden collapse. This is usually a design issue, but only sometimes. If you want a durable and safe balcony, avoid sources of weight like heavy machinery and large crowds, which damage the railing or cause premature collapse.
Damage to the Cantilevered Surface
Deterioration happens in many ways, but when chunks of concrete fall off your balcony, it may be time to have it inspected by a professional. A small crack can become more pronounced, leading to significant structural issues. Structural deterioration is often caused by inadequate maintenance, direct impact, or exposure to elements that slowly wear the balcony. Once you notice minor signs of damage, like cracks on the cantilevered surface, ensure it is addressed as soon as possible. Nothing is more frustrating and risky than a collapsed balcony.
Failure of the Railing
You may be wondering how railing can cause a balcony to fall, but it can damage it to the point of collapse. How the railing is secured to the balcony is critical to the overall structural integrity of the structure. If your railing is installed improperly, it can stress the balcony’s edge, which slowly causes wear. As a professional railing company, we assess the balcony to ensure it is in tip-top shape before installation. Additionally, routine inspections and maintenance of your railing systems ensure your balcony lasts and minimizes the risk of falling.
There are many signs of balcony issues to look out for, including old buildings, missing concrete, warped railings, and rusting. You can prevent the collapse of your balcony by choosing your railing and the contractor carefully. Contact us to get high-quality railing for your balcony, giving you peace of mind knowing your loved ones are safe.