Balconies and terraces are desirable features of modern buildings, providing an outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment. However, they are also vulnerable to wind uplift, which can cause significant damage and endanger people’s safety. Wind uplift occurs when strong winds flow over a flat surface, creating low-pressure zones that can lift and displace objects. Preventing paving wind uplift on balconies and terraces is crucial for the safety and longevity of these structures. In this blog post, we will look at one of the latest solutions for preventing wind uplift to ensure the durability and safety of balconies and terraces.
Wind Uplift on Balconies and Terraces – The Risks
Wind uplift on balconies and terraces can pose a significant risk to both property and personal safety. Balconies and terraces are particularly vulnerable to wind uplift owing to their elevated position and exposure to wind. The resulting uplift can cause damage to the structure itself, dislodging tiles and balustrades, as well as putting nearby people or property at risk. It is essential to take adequate measures to prevent wind uplift, especially on high-rise buildings.
How to Prevent Wind Uplift on Balconies
One of the latest innovations to combat this problem is the J-Clip™ by MyDek. The J-Clip™ mechanism is specifically designed to safeguard porcelain tiles from wind uplift. By securing the tiles in place, the mechanism prevents any potential damage caused by wind uplift. The clip’s innovative design enables it to be easily inserted anywhere along the rail without the need to start from one end. Additionally, the clip comes with an extra spacer that creates a uniform gap between the tiles, ensuring equal spacing around each tile. Overall, the J-Clip™ mechanism offers a practical solution to protect porcelain tiles against wind uplift while also providing a sleek and uniform appearance.
Testing the Effectiveness of the J-Clip™
At MyDek, we follow a culture of safety and this is why we conduct both in-house and independent tests on our products to get a clear picture of our product performance. For this latest innovation, we opted for a BRE certified wind engineering technician to prepare and conduct a test to determine the uplift resistance of our J-Clip™ system.
During the testing process, which followed the guidelines in BS EN 14437:20041, we used a simulated floor structure to determine the failure limit of the system. We carried out the tests on the simulated floor at a pitch of 0ºwith cleats fixed to the test rig. This was used to fix five beams in place at 600 mm centres. We then mounted pavers to the beams via the J-Clip™ system. BRE staff installed the system, following the installation guide and under the supervision of our staff.
To simulate wind uplift loads, we attached four pneumatic rams with suction cups to each tile and applied a uniform force. To aid the suction, we spray-painted each tile.
Initially, we laid loose tiles on the joists to determine the test load required to lift an unfixed tile. The testing configuration was based on the pressure distribution on a roof paver system, with a 4 x 3 array of pavers installed and a 3 x 2 array loaded to simulate potential vortex systems.
We repeated the testing five times, defining failure as breakage or pull-out of the mechanical connection between the aluminium joist and the tile, or breakage of the tile itself. We replaced the damaged tiles and used new clips for each test.
Testing – Final Results
- The results are valid, based on five completed tests with a coefficient of variability of <0.1.
- The calculated characteristic strength per clip is 212.6 N.
- The indicative effective characteristic wind uplift resistance of the fixings and tile is 2831.6 Pa (ignoring the dead weight of the rails, cleats and clips).
To learn more about this latest innovation by MyDek, please reach out to our team.