Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Balcony is Complete!

Without further ado, I am more than happy to report that my porch balcony facelift is complete! In my post over a month ago, I shared all the issues we had with our balcony since its initial construction in 2004. I am happy to say that we not only succeeded in sourcing an excellent carpenter / craftsman, but we also succeeded in finally getting what appears to be a long-term fix to the water issues we had with our original design.
Balcony Project, Complete
When you look at before and after photos, you may not notice a huge difference, but believe me when I say it is a huge difference already. Since the balcony was sealed in this redo, we have had well over 7" of rain, and no issues to report. Issues were apparent immediately after the first rain in the 2004 construction.
Detail, Balcony Finish Work
Just for fun, though, let's take a quick look at the before and after of our project. The most obvious of the issues were visible when looking up at the outer edge, where the water damage was becoming more and more apparent with cracks in the wood-wrapped arc. What wasn't apparent was the extent of the interior damage, which basically led to an entire reconstruction. We now have Azek material on the outer arc edge, wrapped in the ingenious way my carpenter heated the material to mold it into the arc. You can read more about that in last month's post (see above link).
Before (above) and After (below), Balcony Damage and Redo
The other obvious issue (besides the fact that the balusters were not all positioned in a uniform way), was the view from the balcony itself, looking over the banister's edge. We had unsealed seams of cheap flashing that was caulked, both of which were the original contractor's stop-gaps to the initial design flaws. Those stop-gaps actually increased our problems, requiring useless maintenance of cleaning, re-caulking, which didn't even come close to keeping the balcony watertight.
Before (above) and After (below), Balcony Outer Ledge
We now have a copper flashing cap over the entire balcony ledge, with seams welded in one, continous, 16' arc. Once a mockup was made and the balcony 'curb' placed on top of the copper, the contractors fine-tuned measurement details, and the finished result was welded on site. The raised, circular pieces with steel rods and frog tape surrounding (in photo collage below) are where the balcony columns were ultimately secured. All of this was unsealed in the previous construction, with balcony columns and curb drilled directly onto the wood ledge.
Copper Ledge Cap
With the end close in sight, painting was the last big thing before the balcony could be reassembled. The weather did not cooperate, so my carpenter finally took the salvaged balcony pieces (from original construction) to his workshop to sand and prime. And yes, we opted to paint the copper ledge. We wanted a uniform appearance, and did not want to chance the patina process of the copper cap to run down over the Azek, so a special primer called DTM was used for the metal. Our carpenter replaced the interior roof pads (which were also salvaged from the original construction). Subcontracted professional painters knocked the painting out in about 4 hours one day after the sun finally came out.
Priming and Painting
May 17, 2016: the scaffolding came down - in the rain - again.
Scaffolding Removal
It took almost two weeks before I could get a decent photo of the details of the finished job, as the skies remained overcast and/or rainy. The upside was the balcony appeared to be watertight through all the rain. Once again, the Before and After....
Before and After Balcony Reconstruction
Lo and behold, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the queen appeared to accept her audience!
To quote one of my neighbors as they greeted us one day shortly after the job completion, "Happy Portico!"

(Thank you to Cindy of Dwellings: The Heart of Your Home, for featuring this on Amaze Me Monday #166 and to Kathryn and her readers at The Dedicated House, for making this a reader favorite and feature on The Sunday Showcase for Make It Pretty Monday)!
Rita C. at Panoply