How to Ensure Your Balcony Drains Properly


Australia’s love affair with the outdoors has seen balconies become one of the most desirable features of any two-storey home, apartment, or townhouse.

As the expectation to incorporate a usable balcony in modern residence increases, it is even more important that we understand how to ensure they provide sufficient drainage. This will ensure the safety and structural integrity of both the indoor and outdoor areas, and if ignored, it will make for an expensive repair.

Balconies are becoming the new backyard, meaning they need to be designed correctly from the beginning. At Veitch, we understand that having your balcony look good as well as drain properly is important - and that is what our balcony channels do.

In this article, we share the elements to look for when designing your balcony drain to ensure it drains properly, plus what the balcony channel and grate should include.

Balcony Drainage Elements:

  • Fall in one direction: The preferred method of draining an outdoor balcony is where the floor is built with a fall in one direction only – this means it drains toward a channel or grate that connects into the storm water system.
  • Fall of 10mm per metre: The balcony joists should have fall of 10mm per metre with an approved fibre cement board on top of the joists to form the floor. The channel and grate should be recessed into the floor and the recess also lined with the fibre cement board.
  • Waterproof membrane: The floor and recess need to have a waterproof membrane that complies with Australian Standards - AS-4858.
  • Provision for an overflow: If the balcony is enclosed, there needs to be a provision for an overflow
  • Additional weight of the cement tile: If the balcony is built flat and a cement tile base is being used to create the fall to the channel and grate, then the additional weight of the cement tile base needs to be taken into consideration at the time of design.

The 3 MUST HAVES for your balcony channel and grate:

A balcony is usually located over residential rooms or a garage, so the channel needs to be watertight and drain freely.

By incorporating the important features below, the channel and grate will be easy to install, function correctly and be trouble free for the life of the property.

  1. 316 stainless steel: Have both the channel and grate manufactured from grade 316 stainless steel, which is strong, corrosion resistant and fully welded to make it watertight.
  2. Supplied in one piece: Ensure it is supplied in one piece, or if the length requires, able to easily be joined on site to ensure it is watertight.
  3. Built in fall to the waste outlet: Ensure it is made with a built in fall to the waste outlet, this will guarantee it drains freely and reduces the chance of blockage.

Ready to design your balcony drain?

Explore our outdoor channels to see what is best for your balcony. Alternatively, you can contact our friendly team to learn more about our process.


By Veitch | March 1, 2022


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