Pain points of concrete balconies

Innovation is the means by which we travel from tradition to modernization. It’s a vehicle for removing stagnation and arriving at vibrance.

Traditionally, balconies have been built with reinforced concrete (RC), a material that can be cast on-site and last for decades. But as time moves on, the construction industry discovers improved methods of manufacturing and the old concrete ages, the question needs to be asked: are concrete balconies still worth your time?

Various pain points of concrete can be avoided through the use of modern aluminium balconies such as the saving of time and money or the increase in safety that comes with it. We’ve delved into how concrete has become outdated and how aluminium could be your future material.

Concrete’s loss of aesthetic value

Whilst the aesthetic intention of a concrete balcony is an incredibly clean fascia, concrete can easily be damaged during its installation, so this is not always achievable. As concrete is infamously hard to work around, concrete is susceptible to aesthetic damage over time. In cold snaps, cracks can form in concrete regardless of weather protection and colour can fade over time, leading to a resident’s balcony looking less like a relaxing outdoor living space and more like an unkempt highway.

The loss of aesthetic value can detract from the value of the apartment (or even the building as a whole) over time. To maintain a good level of aesthetic value (with the added benefit of broader customization options), aluminum balconies are an intelligent choice. Sapphire’s aluminum balconies are more strongly protected against the weather and are guaranteed to last 60 years. Furthermore, they are easily cleaned and simple to repair, giving them huge longevity over concrete.

The issues with installing concrete balconies

Concrete balcony installation is time-consuming, easily mismanaged and can cause extreme delays due to the nature of casting on-site.

Casting balconies with reinforced concrete can lead to a number of issues, notably the opportunity for mismeasured connections. Traditional casting can over or under-fit the frame meaning re-casting needs to be observed. Furthermore, a continuous thermal break needs to be installed when casting in concrete, leading to extra time on site and further inflated costs.

Aluminum balconies are fit with measured templates and anchors cast into the façade. This means aluminum balconies should always fit the first time and avoid misalignment issues common with bolt-on methods.

Are concrete balconies more expensive?

Interfacing costs and issues associated with concrete balconies can make concrete a far more expensive material to work with than the aluminum alternative. In most cases, concrete balconies can inflate the cost of a project and cause extensive issues down the line.

Concrete balconies necessitate always having multiple trades on-site, causing unnecessary confusion, delays and adding costs due to the number of staff needed. The extra costs associated with drainage in concrete balconies can make concrete construction inordinately expensive.

Using aluminum balconies can elegantly reduce (or even remove) these extra costs. By using controlled edge drainage with our smart soffits, the need for fixed drainage is removed. Aluminum balconies can use Sapphire’s iconic Glide-On system to install quickly, easily and with minimal oversight. Finally, aluminum is a cheaper material by weight than concrete and can be assembled off-site, meaning less time and staff are needed on-site for your project.

This brings us back to the initial question: are concrete balconies still worth your time? Given the extensive pain points of concrete, we at Sapphire believe that concrete has had its day and it’s time for an innovative new material to take its place. Concrete is susceptible to all manner of woes, from aesthetic loss over time, to tricky installation, to inflated costs when more sensible options are available.

Mass customizability

Innovative balconies are more than just future-proof, sustainable technical design – the mass customizability of balconies is a benefit that goes beyond aesthetic value.

Digital balcony configuration has become a staple of Sapphire’s innovation with our COACH system – giving our customers the ability to easily visualise their ideal balcony project without the rigour of having to hire a design professional first. Once your balcony has been configured, COACH lets you send the design to our dedicated pre-construction team who will guide you through making your design a reality.

Between the customization of balustrades (vertical, rotated and inclined bars), drainage options available (controlled edge or rear pipe drainage) and methods of installation, it’s never been easier to make your balcony project unique to you.

By switching to aluminum, you can avoid the pain points of concrete and extend the life of your balcony project with ease. For more information on the differences between the two materials, read more here:

Aluminum vs. Concrete Balconies

How does aluminum compare to traditional concrete? We’ve prepared this knowledge hub so you can expand what you know and make an informed decision on aluminum balconies.

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