The Commercial Inspector | Decks and Balconies: Keeping Them Safe

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The Commercial Inspector

CRE tips and news by National Property Inspections



Decks and Balconies: Keeping Them Safe and Looking Great

 February 9, 2022 |  Management, Maintenance |  apartment, exterior maintenance, building renovation, multi-family property

A deck or balcony can be a great addition to a multi-family property. They provide a little extra square footage for tenants to use when they want to get outside of their unit. With these exterior accessories comes additional maintenance to keep them in good condition for as long as you can.

Inspect First
Knowing what steps you need to take to clean up your deck or balcony starts with figuring out its current condition. Examine each component, top to bottom to get the full picture of how they’re holding up. Make note of everything you find or that raises questions. If you’re finding lots of flaws or aren’t sure about something you noted, getting a professional opinion is your best bet. They’ll be able to better draw a conclusion on how you should go about repairing a defect, and possibly save you from a mishap later on.

Get it Clean
Before you start fixing your balcony, start by getting it looking better. Clean off any debris or trash that’s collected and throw them away in a trash can. Depending on how tall your building is and how many balconies you have stacked on each other, you may want to hold off on using a power washer. For starters, the excess water will drip down onto the balcony below and ultimately create a pool of dirt and grime around the bottom unit. This can lead to unhappy tenants. Instead, just try to spot-clean using cleaner and the tried-and true mop and bucket. But if your building is only two or three levels, a light power washing should be fine.

Repair or Replace
After you’ve gotten all the dirt and grime cleared off, it’s good to look over everything again. You may notice a large chip or rotting on the flooring or supports that wasn’t clearly visible before. You can most likely fix minor issues, but of course larger ones should be done by a professional. Some common problems you might spot are: 

  • Rotting or chipping 
  • Loose rails or supports 
  • Missing screws or nails 
  • Cracked piers

Properly Treat the Material
Especially if you have wooden decks, you’ll need to use a protecting agent to keep them in the best condition. If your building gets lots of sunlight during the day, something with UV protection in it would be beneficial. A more resistant paint is also a good idea and makes it so you won’t have to apply as many coats. It may help to ask for a second opinion on what’s the best applicant to use on your deck so you don’t risk damaging it.

Set Rules
To cut down on the amount of maintenance you have to do on your balconies, let your tenants know what they can and can’t do. If you allow them to use grills or smokers, inform them of guidelines for cleaning up when they’re done. Tell your tenants that they should dispose of their trash properly and not store it out on the balcony.

With some professional help, you can keep your decks safe and looking great for a long time. Your tenants will appreciate it, and you’ll draw attention from potential renters!

NPI inspects thousands of commercial properties each year from restaurants to multi-family. To make sure your building is ready for business, schedule your professional NPI inspection today.

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