We have a balcony above our garage attached to the house, that is surrounded by 3 stucco walls and has a drain in the middle that leads into our garage.

Example of random balcony with drain similar to ours.

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The leak has created a hole in the dry wall below it. I cut a sqare of the drywall and discovered the leak is coming from the drain itself. Around the edge of the drain, water glides along the PVC pipe that goes toward the front of the house onto the dry wall.

My question is are as follows: Who usually fixes this type of problem? Plumber? Handy Man, Roofer?

What is the typical way they seal this type of leak? It was suggested to me that tar is the best option.

4 Answers 4


Water test around the drain right at the pipe with a little water running just at the drain only, keep on moving the water source a little bit to the outside of the drain until you get it to leak again to pinpoint your hole, then you will have a better idea who you need to fix the problem. I would say a roofer if it is on the roof are decking.

If it is around the drain it will be caulking with a type of silicone if it is getting between the drain and the roof membranes. it has a lot to do with what type of roof systems is on there now if it is leaking out away from the drain. There are different types of flat roof systems if the roof is small enough under 20 ft wide there are one pc rubber roof made by Good year and last a lifetime that will have no seems and will never leak again. This same type of membrane I have used over 30 years and never a problem, and I have also applied for pond liners and lakes.

When you add layers over and make several seems there will always be that chance of a seem leaking if the seems fails and then you will have to start over. The less seems, the better. Roofers would do the roof membranes, where some roofers also do decking if needed, if it has leaked for a while, then there may be some rotted decking.

Find the source of where the leak is coming from to know who to call to fix the problem. The membrane should also put on with a drain just like a shower drain where the membrane is locked tight on top of the drain with bolts as the membrane is cut with a hole in it only at the drain opening where it can not leak.

  • 1
    Welcome, Bob. Answer formatting is important, as walls of text are difficult to read. Please break your text into paragraphs and be sure all sentences begin with capital letters. It all adds up to much easier on the eyes and more value to the community.
    – isherwood
    May 1, 2019 at 12:51
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. @isherwood is right: this has good info, but unless you spend a little time making it readable, nobody will ever read it. May 1, 2019 at 12:59

This seems to be most in line with the expertise of a roofer. I would consider this setup similar to that of a flat roof, which also have to have drains.

If flat roofs are not very common for residential structures in your area, you may be better of calling a roofer who works on commercial properties, which seems more likely to use flat roofs.

  • called 2 roofing companies, they both told me to contact a decking company. Feb 28, 2019 at 22:08

Things like this (tile balcony decks) are often built with a system (like Schluter), of which the drain is an integrated component. I think the suggestion from the roofing company to contact a decking company (really, probably a quality tile contractor) is the way to go. It might be possible to do a quick fix that might not hold up in the long run, or you might have a more invasive repair.

  • What do you think a quick fix would be? Do you have suggestions? Because I've contacted a few deckers. And that route is 100% not going to happen. Mar 2, 2019 at 4:19
  • I don't have a specific suggestion. Maybe remove the grate and see if you can see anything suspicious in there. Is the drain body possibly cracked? What if you cover the grate itself with tape (something water tight - only the metal part, not overlapping to the file) then use something to form a dam around the grate (maybe 1=2" greater in circumference). Pour water in the dam. Does it leak into the garage? That would say it is a problem between the grate and the drain body.
    – wageoghe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:08
  • Is there a gasket under the grate? Maybe it has failed. Could it be a failure of the grout around the drain body? If so, you could probably scrape out some of the grout and then apply caulk between the drain body and the surrounding tile.
    – wageoghe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:10
  • In summary: Determine exactly where water is leaking: from inside drain body, between grate and drain body (maybe grate circumference is slightly less than drain body), between drain body and tile. After you know exactly where the water is coming from, you will have a better idea of what to do. If it is just the failure of a seal or gasket, that should be an easy repair. If there is something fundamentally broken about the drain, that is a different story.
    – wageoghe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:13
  • One more thought... Does the drain drain well? If it drains too slowly (maybe due to buildup of some sort - or a dead mouse), could the water back up onto the balcony floor in a rain, thus exposing the drain (and its interface to the balcony floor) to standing water for a longer time, which would only magnify any leakage issues. Good luck!
    – wageoghe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 19:15

It depends on how much you want to spend and what aesthetic you require.

How rainy is your climate? Are you in love with the tile as your deck floor.

My preference is for torch on roof systems for deck membranes. These membranes last > 30 years. Vinyl (has a 5 year warranty), fiberglass (too rigid and cracks), schleuter systems outside are not going to hold up long term.

If it was me and I was planning to say in the house > 15 years, I'd

  • rip out the tile
  • replace whatever membrane is there with torch on normally the torch on is torched up the wall and the siding covers that lap (not sure how easy it is to remove your siding)
  • cover the torch on with composite wood decking on rubber shims

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