June 3rd, 2015

Drill or no Drill – Balcony Netting Drilling Facts

Drilling concrete.“The Building Management says we can’t drill to install balcony netting, because it damages the concrete and the structure of the building.” We hear this often from customers who are eventually left to cope with their balconies full of crap.

The statement is simply not true, drilling into the concrete of the building doesn’t cause any damage whatsoever, provided that it is done professionally, the way it should be. Next time your building manager says no drilling allowed, ask him or her how is the balcony railing installed then? Someone must have drilled out holes for those huge bolts that hold your railing to the floor, how is it that those were allowed?

The fact is that – especially after balcony restoration projects – a special waterproof epoxy coating is applied on the floor of the balcony. Once this coating cures it creates a durable, watertight barrier and doesn’t allow any moisture to the concrete underneath, which could penetrate it and cause it to crack and eventually deteriorate. This is what the building owners would like to avoid and this is why they say that you cannot drill.

Waterproof coating epoxy barrier.

Waterproof coating epoxy barrier on a newly restored apartment balcony floor.

However, if the holes drilled are filled and sealed with epoxy sealant there is no possibility for any damage to occur and the integrity of the original coating remains intact. Mind you, we are not talking about huge holes here either: to install balcony netting professionally that lasts long and looks good we normally drill about 10 small holes, 3/16″ diameter, maximum 1.5″ deep – not even your pinky finger would fit in that hole, not to mention that 90% of the time drilling into the floor is not even necessary as the netting only goes from ceiling to the top of the railing. The rest of the anchors are mounted to the railing and side walls, where the damage by water is essentially zero or so small that it is insignificant during the lifetime of an apartment building.

So, don’t give up on your balcony netting just yet, provide your building management with appropriate information and ensure that whoever installs your balcony netting will use an epoxy sealant with the concrete anchors if drilled into the floor. Enjoy your clean (and watertight) balcony!