Leaky condos in Toronto?

Toronto condominiums with concrete balconies could face big repair bills in the future, says construction expert at Construct Canada conference.



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Five years from now if you live in a Toronto condo with a balcony you could be faced with a massive repair bill. That’s because those concrete slabs used to create your outdoor living space are hot and cold conductors—altering the temperature of your condo’s external walls and clashing with your condo’s internally regulated climate. Eventually the clash of hot and cold will lead to moisture problems and this will lead to expensive repair bills.

This was the warning an expert at this year’s Construct Canada conference offered industry experts during his presentation on sustainable building standards in Canada. The problem is that the concrete balconies take on the external temperature and this consistently clashes with the condo’s internally regulated temperature. During Toronto’s muggy, hot summers, buildings are kept cool, while bitter winter temperatures push the mercury below zero outside and keep furnaces pumping warm air inside. This continuous clash of temperatures at one connection point will result in moisture, which can erode not only the balconies themselves, but also compromise the buildings external cladding and eventually cause water damage. Owning a condo subject to these conditions could, then, mean being hit with a massive special assessment bill to repair the damage.

Certainly something to think about if you own or your considering ownership of a condo with an outdoor view.

4 comments on “Leaky condos in Toronto?

  1. Very good point here for someone without any experience/knowledge of this. Thank you!


  2. Having lived in a condo for 9 years, having participated on the board, having learned about the Ontario Condominium Law, having been 'special assessed', having paid residential taxes and not getting the same city services as non-condo homes…there is no possible reason for anyone to own a condominium.


  3. As someone that works in the Reserve Fund Study and Building Envelope industries: buildings have been built with concrete balconies for 40 years. They're still around today with very few issues. Yes, you have to do balcony repairs as the reinforcing steel that's concealed inside the concrete to provide tension strength does deteriorate (as the PH of the concrete drops over time due to a naturally occurring process called 'carbonation'), but that's standard for every concrete structure in existence.

    Also, provided you try to manage your assets and don't ignore warning signs such as leakage, exterior wall components that start to bulge (EIFS) or masonry brick that has white staining (efflorescence), concrete that has started to 'pop' (delaminate due to the reinforcing steel expanding as it corrodes), you're fine. It's all about proactive maintenance.

    In other words, don't be afraid to buy your condos in Toronto because of the balconies.

    Another thought, when buying new, look out deficiencies. We have better materials available to us today vs 40 years ago, but not the same kind of craftsmanship. We often work for Condo Boards that have been dealing with systemic building envelope issues that resulted in poor quality control during original construction. They try to peg the developer with the cost to restore it, but it's almost impossible unless it was caught one year after construction (which they rarely are).


  4. Hello guest commenter in the Reserve Fund Study and Building envelope industry..
    You are/were correct balconies over last 40 years have survived with some good maintenance.

    However, now that buildings are becoming super insulated and air tight – the problems are magnified significantly. The slab edges near the intersection are now warm, where before nearly the entire wall would be cold to the touch. Temperature delta is higher, so now more movement.

    When you're outside in the winter with no jacket on, you won't be missing the fact you don't have gloves or a hat.. Put on the good jacket now i bet you'll be buying both.


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