Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Need help with century old balcony!
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mourial
Need help with century old balcony!

I have a third floor balcony that is giving me a lot problems. It's on the third floor of a 1910 building and it is supported mainly by wood joists coming out of the wall (cantilever). The balcony is partially covered. When I bought the place, the balcony was already leaking down on the second floor balcony when it rained. The top surface of the balcony was made of composite tongue and groove boards but it had almost no slope to it so water pooled and somehow leaked thru. I had it replaced with wood tongue and groove board, but the guy did a very bad job and didn't even correct the slope, like I asked, so it still leaks.
Now I have to have it redone. on top of it, all this water has damaged the joists that support the balcony. I don't want to replace the joists since it would be very costly. Also, since it's an old building I still want to use tongue and groove boards, preferably wood like the neighboring balcony. So I have a lot of questions:

  1. do tongue and groove boards always leak?
  2. do tongue and groove boards always leak?
  3. is there a flexible adhesive that can be put between the boards?
  4. should the underside of the boards be primed or painted or treated? How about the edges?
  5. what kind of board should I use?

I will also have to sister and repair the joists. Here are other questions:

  1. after removing the rotten part from the joists, should I put wood hardener on the joists?
  2. when sistering, should some sort of adhesive be put between the new and old joist?
  3. should I put tar paper over the joist to cover them?

If you have any other comment or suggestion, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

cjsand
Re: Need help with century old balcony!

Waterproofing needs to be done under the deck boards, you could have a bubber roof installed, etc.

ed21
Re: Need help with century old balcony!

T&G boards will always leak unless their is some kind of waterproof membrane underneath.
Proper drainage as mentioned is also needed.
Caulking the boards won't work for long. Too much expansion & contraction.
The type of board is less important than the waterproof membrane & drainage.
Tar paper won't work as a membrane.

matt_co
Re: Need help with century old balcony!

Hey Mourial,
Are you located on Clark near Mt-Royal? I think I recognize the photo. I live on Clark as well...
Anyways, I have the same sort of problem on my front balcony and would have to replace the wood planks and probably strengthen the joists as they are rotting as well. As I'm new to this, I was wondering if some sort of treatment/spray exists to prevent the joists from rotting more. You mentioned wood hardener, what is that?

This might be helpful:
http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/decks/oldporch/flooring/t_groove.htm

Thanks!

mourial
Re: Need help with century old balcony!
matt_co wrote:

Hey Mourial,
Are you located on Clark near Mt-Royal? I think I recognize the photo. I live on Clark as well...
Anyways, I have the same sort of problem on my front balcony and would have to replace the wood planks and probably strengthen the joists as they are rotting as well. As I'm new to this, I was wondering if some sort of treatment/spray exists to prevent the joists from rotting more. You mentioned wood hardener, what is that?

This might be helpful:
http://www.hammerzone.com/archives/decks/oldporch/flooring/t_groove.htm

Thanks!

Hey fellow Clark street resident! It seems that all those planks have the same problem (the previous owner used tongue and groove plastic/resin planks but that also leaked but I think it's a problem of getting the right slope since the water still pools on the balcony when it rains). But they look better than those fiberglass decking most people use now.
As for the structure, sistering the joists seem to be the better solution but it depends on how rotted the joists are (mine have some damage near the tip but none near the wall). Here is a link for wood hardener: http://www.epinions.com/content_171240230532. I never used it and I don't know if it's good for structural joists. Thanks for that link, maybe I'll send it to my contractor.

Toacookoo
Re: Need help with century old balcony!

Hi there, i am a fairly knowledgeable but still fairly junior contractor living and working in the plateau as well. I found this page trying to find answers for t&g balconies that also have large leakage issues. Some suggestions that might help you along. after sistering the joists pour the green pentox in them rather that the hardener. if your joist are really bad you should sandwich them with new wood and lag them with 5/8 lags instead of sistering, and go as far back as you can. Membrane membrane membrane. Also my personal opinion is that people that put fiberglass on hundred + year old houses should be shot, go to villanova and get some nice d-fir planks(they have the best decking in town). caulking the joints also dose nothing. My main question for these types of decks is do you need a drip edge ???, or dose that just work against you and abosorb the water ? and whats the best membrane for the price ??

designseeker
Re: Need help with century old balcony!

all wood used on the exterior should be pressure treated.
otherwise you need to waterproof the top of the deck to protect
the boards and structure.

see noble.com

http://www.Westchester-Architects.com

Re: Need help with century old balcony!
ed21 wrote:

T&G boards will always leak unless their is some kind of waterproof membrane underneath.
Proper drainage as mentioned is also needed.
Caulking the boards won't work for long. Too much expansion & contraction.
The type of board is less important than the waterproof membrane & drainage.
Tar paper won't work as a membrane.

Couldn't have said it better. Good answer!

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