Tile balconies typically are made from ceramic tiles that are installed over a cement balcony frame, although sometimes a wood subfloor is used instead. These balconies offered more style options than the basic concrete design, but they can also develop leaks, especially if they are installed incorrectly or if flaws develop in their tile materials.
Tile balconies do have waterproofing, but these materials are not always dependable. Many balconies are equipped with membranes underneath the tile that protect the base of the balcony from any leaking water damage. Unfortunately, the tile itself can allow water to leak through, especially if it is not properly sealed, which then leads to trapped water within the balcony. It is also possible to damage the membrane, creating leaks and cracks.
Tile can create an extra layer of material built up around the balcony doors. With some doors, such as sliding glass versions, rain that falls on the balcony can become trapped in the new gap that is created between the tile and the door. If this water is not quickly drained out, it can seep into the wall itself, causing leaking problems for the balcony and surrounding materials.
Balconies in wet climates should always be sloped slightly at the edges so that water can easily escape instead of pooling in the center of the balcony. However, even though the framework of the balcony may be designed with this slope, the tile installed over it may not have the right angle. This can lead to pooled water and improper drainage.
Tile does not last forever: the grout used between tiles has a much shorter life span. In harsh weather conditions, grout can develop cracks and gaps. These openings allow moisture to seep into the tile, which loosens the tile bonds to the balcony and creates cracks in the tiles themselves. Grout needs to be carefully maintained and monitored when it is used on balconies.