Adding a balcony to your home can be a wonderfully simple, yet extremely cost effective home improvement. And a balcony can give you more outdoor living space extremely quickly and without much hassle.
Open Up the Possibilites of Your Home
If you add an opening door from a bedroom or landing it can make your first floor space more usable as well. And a balcony can provide shade and protection from the elements for an area of your property underneath the structure.
More Living Space
If the balcony is large enough it can also give you an extra outdoors living space at ground level. If this is not what is required, and the balcony is closed in under the decking, it can give you extra drying or storage space, a place for bikes, garden toys, and so on.
Buying a Balcony 'Kit'
To minimise issues of connecting and gaining support from existing structures, heights, widths, planning, etc. some companies, like the Home & Garden Centre, are offering standard independent, demountable structures that are simply tied back to the existing building to eliminate sway and spread.
Prices for these vary according to what timber is required. While many people like the idea of Green Oak, when they see the cost of this – and understand the potential issues with twist, shake (cracking) etc. - most go for Glulam ‘oak look alike’, or even Douglas Fir or softwood alternatives.
Choosing your Balustrade
Because there is a vast range of balustrade types and designs that can be used, offerings from companies like the Home and Garden Centre are provided with a standard ‘rustic’ post, handrail and ‘cross timbers’ infill. This enables clients to get their balcony erected and try it out quickly, before making what can be a critical (and expensive) decision on this.
Outside Stair Access to Balcony Platforms
It can be a really nice idea to be able to walk down to, or up from, your garden and pool / hot tub area direct to or from your bedroom or landing via the balcony. And, in most cases, Balcony Platforms can be supplied with external access stairways. However, do take a little time to consider all of the implications of this. Would such a stairway present an unnecessary hazard for chidren? Could it become a security risk? You get the idea, I'm sure.
Balcony Platform Size and Use
As you will appreciate almost everyone has a different platform size – and often shape – of balcony that they would like. Some might want it long and narrow, in other cases the shape of the site and ground available might determine that this should be short and wide. or maybe you would like it to wrap around a corner, or go over the top of some other obstacle, or be angled, and so on.
You may want a platform just to stand on, or to fit sun beds on, or to fit table and chairs for ‘afternoon tea’. (This really is one of the fun, though elegant, things about enyoing your balcony).
Choice of Sizes to 'Fit All'
With the range of sizes available for standard free-standing Balcony Platforms, most of these can be ‘tailored’ to fit each balcony project on site. This is done by slightly cutting, skewing, or generally rearranging components, by whoever is erecting the balcony structure. In some locations suppliers like the Home and Garden Centre can provide an erectkion service, but with standard products offered for on-line sale, this is not always possible, or desirable.
Bespoke Balcony Designs
While most architects and building designers should be able to provide a service to design exactly what you want, because such jobs are relatively small and low cost, you may find the fees that they want to charge for this to be quite expensive. However, some specialist providers of Balcony Kits are also able to offer a full bespoke design service. Usually this will prepare designs with planning drawings in case Planning Permission is required.
On the other hand, if you can work your Beautiful Balcony around a standard 'kit' balcony, then it is most likely that drawings will be provided with the standard product.
Planning Permission for Balconies
Since most balconies will be under the prescribed height and size that requires you to get planning approval, you may be able to build your balcony as a 'permitted development'. However, you may still need building regulation approval, so it is advisable to check with your local Planning Development Officer amd Building Control Department what, if anything, they will require.
You can find further information on Standard Timber Balcony Kits, as well as prices and delivery times at the Home & Garden Centre web site, www.HGC.uk.com. Since they have an awful lot of products and information on their site, search on their site for 'Free Standing Balcony', or 'Timber Balcony' for quick access and to go straight to the approriate pages. If you still need more information they even have an easy "Ask a Question" button to get the answer you are looking for.