In the UK, there is a growing trend of homeowners transforming their properties with the addition of a balcony. While balconies are particularly popular on properties throughout Europe, they haven’t been a common feature of houses in Britain until recently.
However, before you jump straight in and build a balcony, there are a few things to consider.
Why To Add a Balcony to Your Home?
As well as adding an extra element to your home’s exterior, a balcony can also transform the interior by allowing more light in. If you opt to have a larger window or full-height glass door alongside your balcony, the interior room will be brighter and feel more open.
In addition, adding a balcony to your home offers up the opportunity to add more space to your home for relaxation. A balcony is a perfect spot for enjoying the views or people watching from the comfort of your home.
As well as the benefits it brings to your home, balconies can also boost your home’s value! This is especially the case in cities, or built-up areas, where the price of outdoor space is high. In London, for example, having a balcony can raise a property’s value by 12%.
Things to Consider
As mentioned, there are a few things you will need to consider before installing a balcony.
Type of Balcony
The first thing to decide is what type of balcony you would like. When it comes to balconies, there are two main types: Juliet or Full.
A Full balcony, is as the name suggests, the larger option. It adds extra space to your home, and is the ‘classic’ balcony type, offering a platform-like space off the upper floors of your building.
Conversely, a Juliet balcony – so named after the famous balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet, does not protrude from the building but offers a simple rail that sits outside a window. While this doesn’t add extra space to a building, it will give you the opportunity to add French doors to an upstairs room, allowing you to gain extra light and airflow, while remaining safe.
Juliet balconies are typically cheaper, but Full balconies will offer more space and opportunities to improve your home.
Once you have decided what balcony you want, you will need to work out if you need to gain planning permission or not. It’s a pretty safe bet that you will need to have planning permission to install a full balcony.
It is possible to get a Juliet balcony without planning permission; however, this will depend on your property type, for example, if it is a listed building. You may also need to check in with your neighbours before you begin any works to ensure that they are happy with your plans.
Metal or Glass?
When it comes to constructing balconies, you’ll have the option to choose the material it is made with. Typically, balconies will be constructed from either glass or metal, as they offer strength while remaining relatively lightweight.
Picking a type is less about the pros and cons of each material, but more to do with which will best suit your property type. For example, if you have a more modern building, then a glass balcony will likely suit it best. If you have an older property, such as a Victorian or Georgian style home, then a metal balcony would likely fit in better.
Choosing a Surface
You will also need to choose what material you would like underfoot. A balcony could have wooden decking on it, but this can bring about issues, as it can get very slippery when it rains. Wood also has the potential to rot or develop other issues which can shorten its life span.
Alternatively, a metal grating could be used, as this offers more grip. As grating has gaps, it will also provide drainage, and won’t block out light from rooms below.
You could also use stone flooring, as while this is a lot heavier, it is usually a lot longer lasting.
If you are considering a Full bacony, then you may also need to recruit a structural engineer to help you work out the right load-bearing capacity of the structure. For this, you would need to take into consideration your aims and expectations for this space, such as the type of furniture you want to put on the balcony and how many people you would expect to be using it at once.
For example, if you are a couple who will only be using the balcony to enjoy a morning a cup of coffee as the sun rises, the structural demands will be less than for someone who is planning to throw a party, which would see 20 people stood on the balcony!
Do You Want a Staircase?
If you opt for a full balcony, you may also be able to add a staircase to it, allowing you to connect your balcony and garden together. This is particularly useful if you like entertaining, as you’ll be able to connect the two spaces and allow people to easily flow between areas of your home.
Even if you don’t have much space, a spiral staircase can be a compact solution.
Before you build a balcony, you should consider any additional features you may wish to add. Some love to use their balcony as an outdoor cooking space, so you could add an outdoor kitchen or barbeque features to the space. Alternatively, you may be able to add a hot tub or fireplace as a feature on your balcony.
If you have grand designs for your balcony, then it is probably best to run your plans by a bespoke balcony company to discover what is feasible for your space.
Here at ANY Weld, we can help you with creating the custom balcony of your dreams! As steel balcony manufacturers, we have experience in bringing bespoke designs to life.