All-weather tiling solutions for balconies, terraces and roof terraces

Outdoor living areas including balconies, terraces and roof terraces are becoming increasingly popular as people expand their properties.

However, to have these areas available all year round requires coverings that are durable, hard-wearing and all-weather – and tiles are the perfect answer.

When specified with the correct system assemblies for tiling, many types of tile installations are possible externally. This includes the use of finishes such as ceramics, porcelain, some natural stone and pavers.

However without the correct tiling systems, tiled areas can be susceptible to cracking, efflorescence, or staining – all derived from water damage or fluctuations in temperature.

Water penetrating the lower levels of an external assembly can pose a serious risk to the structural integrity of any balcony, terrace or patio. Permeation of water through tile joints will eventually cause damage if no provision is made for water to drain away efficiently.

To protect tiles against this multitude of potential problems, BAL has introduced its new range of unique External Tiling Solutions in conjunction with sister company Gutjahr.

Simple to install and providing rapid, immediate and high volume drainage, water is drained down through the screed and rapidly expelled from the assembly through unique, patented drainage mats, grates and drip/drain edge profiles meaning no water staining, no freeze/thaw threat or efflorescence.

The new products represent a complete new range of solutions for the BAL portfolio and work as a system with current BAL preparation, adhesives, grouts and sealant products.

To ensure that moisture staining, frost damage and efflorescence do not become problems in the future, it is crucial to specify the right products. It is vitally important to remember that water sensitive tiles and slabs should not be used externally.

The correct combination of products and materials include:

Appropriate drainage assemblies – structures with effective falls, drainage and often with reduced thickness.

Suitable backgrounds – non-absorbent, rigid, fully cured and dry, unaffected by temperature fluctuations and preferably cementitious

Correct selection of adhesive and grout – rapid setting/low water demand i.e. white for light natural stone such as BAL Rapid-Flex One or BAL Pourable One.

Tile/slab selection – with low porosity, break-proof, suitable for external use i.e. frost resistant.

BAL offers three systems, each designed to meet the height and weight requirement of varying constructions and a number of different edge finishes, depending on screed thickness, tile size and thickness and the desired look.

Traditionally, external tiles have been fixed directly onto sand:cement screeds, into cement:sand mortar beds, thick drainage screeds, loosely laid gravel bed or by using cement based pedestal systems.

While each has their own benefits, such as ease of use and lower cost, they all fail to adequately deal with water effectively. For example while traditional sand:cement screeds, thick drainage screeds and gravel all absorb large volumes of water, and are prone to the problems highlighted above, water can also travel back up through the screed, gravel bed or adhesive pedestal causing water sensitive tiles and slabs to become stained.

The use of a drainage screed is the answer. Cavity rich, with lots of capillaries, the water drains through quickly and efficiently and also offers reduced shrinkage and deformation. When combined with a quick-setting cement for fast-track installation, drainage mortar seems to be the ideal solution, however drainage screeds alone will not solve the problems with drainage alone. The use of a complete drainage system, including drainage matting, drip/drain edge profiles, drain grates and guttering – such as BAL’s external tiling solutions – provide rapid and immediate drainage of water.

Among the systems on offer from BAL include Thin Drainage Assembly for direct point adhesion for break-proof coverings (complete construction height from 29mm), Standard Drainage Screed Assembly for the solid bed fixing of ceramic, porcelain and natural stone and concrete paving (from 68mm build-up), and a Thin, Lighter Weight Drainage Screed with an epoxy drainage screed for a strong but comparatively lightweight build-up compared to conventional systems (from only 43mm height build-up).

These new products represent a complete range of solutions from the BAL portfolio and work as a system in conjunction with current BAL preparation, adhesives, grouts and sealant products.

This means for the first time architects, designers and contractors are provided with a true ‘one-stop-shop’ for balcony, terrace and patio systems for a range of different coverings.

For more information and to request a demonstration visit: