When SUNDEK National Accounts President Don Snider and SUNDEK’s National Production Manager Michael Mercado first visited San Isidro Condominiums in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the building was in rough shape. It had been constructed about four years prior, and it was clear that the balconies on the second and third floors had not been installed properly.
One of several problems was that the flashing was not installed correctly on each balcony. Flashing is an L-shaped metal piece placed at the junction of the exterior wall and the part of the balcony that juts out from the wall. It’s intended to prevent water from collecting at the junction and then seeping into the wall, causing damage. Because of the inadequate flashing, the walls and balconies at San Isidro Condominiums were experiencing significant damage including leaks and cracking from water penetration.Contact National Accounts
Before meeting with SUNDEK, the property owners had received some quotes for making necessary repairs. The fixes required tearing out each unit’s balcony and rebuilding them from scratch. The time required to tear out and replace each balcony on the second and third floor of the building was significant and figuring out how to adequately accommodate those tenants during the extensive construction would be a logistical nightmare. The cost was also daunting. Snider and Mercado had a different plan for how to address the damage.
The two proposed an innovative solution: rather than tearing out and replacing each balcony, they could remove stucco from each balcony’s surface, apply a waterproof coating, and then apply a decorative system to give it an attractive look. This would give each balcony protection from further water damage while also making it a beautiful and safe surface.
For the waterproof coating, SUNDEK suggested their SunLastic WP50 system. This product is an elastomeric waterproofing membrane—basically an elastomeric layer that blocks water from penetrating the surface. In addition to providing protection from water damage, SunLastic WP50 serves to reduce cracking caused by substrate movement. Customers also appreciate that it’s VOC compliant and safe for the environment.
Snider and Mercado suggested acrylic-based SunCoat as the decorative coating to be applied atop the waterproof coating. This skid-resistant coating is notable for providing protection against damage from weather and environmental pollutants. It’s an ideal choice for a condominium balcony because it cleans up easily.
In addition to saving a significant amount of time, SUNDEK’s proposed plan would cost the owners about one-third of the cost of tearing out each balcony and starting from scratch. The property owners liked the solution, and they moved forward with the plan.
Though applying the waterproof and decorating coatings is straightforward work for SUNDEK, there were several challenges presented during this project. First, the balconies that needed repair were on the second and third floors of the building, requiring the use of scissor lifts, boom lifts, and safety harnesses for all employees. Complicating the matter was that the terrain around the building—large rocks—made it difficult to maneuver big machinery from balcony to balcony. SUNDEK crews were able to work around the challenges, though, and successfully and safely accessed each balcony.
An additional roadblock was that another contractor was responsible for completing several steps before SUNDEK could access each balcony. The contractor needed to remove the stucco, take the railings down, and put plywood against the sliding doors so tenants wouldn’t step out onto the balconies during construction.
At first, this necessary but time-consuming step caused a bit of a bottleneck in the process, leaving SUNDEK with a lot of downtime between balconies. To increase efficiency, Mercado initiated the coordination of a plan with the general contractor. They came up with a system that would allow the other construction team to get ahead so SUNDEK crews wouldn’t experience too much downtime between balconies.
Although each balcony was only about 60 square feet, there were 120 of them—a big undertaking. Once SUNDEK crews got into a groove, though, they were able to complete each balcony efficiently. Just 24 hours after SUNDEK completed their work on each balcony, the project’s other contractors were able to repaint and reattach the railing.
When the property owner saw the completed balcony surfaces, they liked the look so much that they asked SUNDEK to resurface the patios for all units on the first floor, too. In about a month and a half, crews applied a waterproof coating and decorative application on 120 balconies, and then resurfaced 50 first-floor patios to match. The result is a beautiful and safe surface for tenants to enjoy for years to come.
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