Balconies are a great way to add value to your home. Properties with a balcony can often demand a premium. A square foot of outdoor space can be worth between 25 and 50% of the price of a square foot of indoor space, which adds a good amount to the selling price of a home. The look of a balcony not only upgrades the overall exterior design of the home, but also provides an enjoyable view and gives a room a touch of the outdoors. Balconies increase your outdoor living space, bringing the outside in. You can transform one into a small garden, entertain guests, exercise, and get more fresh air. You can even bring the feeling of a romantic getaway right to your own home. While a second story balcony can be as simple as an added platform, there are numerous upgrades you can choose from to design the outdoor living space of your dreams.
Like with any project, it is important to select the right contractor for your budget and needs. Several factors must be considered when building a balcony, including sizing, space, construction, permits, and design. When planning for your new balcony, you should keep these key design aspects in mind:
Access: When adding an outdoor balcony, a doorway and access point will need to be built from a convenient location within the room.
Materials: Typical balcony materials include wood, wood composite, vinyl and cement. Wood is an aesthetically pleasing, classic balcony staple which can be sealed to protect from the natural elements. Wood composite is a good alternative to wood as it requires less maintenance, but it can get pricey. Vinyl and cement are two other cost-effective and durable options. Vinyl can mimic the look of wood and is easy to install, while cement is structurally sound.
Balustrade: The style of the balustrade will help define the overall look of the balcony. Balustrades can be in the shape of a semicircle, a straight line, or angular lines. The most common choices are wood, metal, and even glass panes. It’s important to choose a balustrade that matches the exterior style of your home.
A balcony with a glass balustrade.
Size: Choosing the right size balcony for your outdoor space and the adjoining room are important factors to consider. Homeowners should take into account what the balcony will be used for. A seating area can be relatively smaller than a space intended to be used for entertaining or storage. A professional architect or designer can help you decide on the appropriate size for the space. The size of your home and proximity to your neighbors will also determine the type of balcony you can design and construct. Larger homes may accommodate outdoor seating or gardens in the space, whereas smaller homes may require a smaller and cheaper “Juliet” type balcony.
A typical Juliet style balcony
Before building your balcony, you must consult your local authority to obtain approval and proper permits. This will ensure that the balcony is designed per code and maintains the integrity of your home. A licensed professional will be able to guide you through the permitting process and help you choose a design that fits your budget and space.
The cost to build your new balcony will depend on several factors including size, height, materials, cost of labor, and finishes. According to HomeAdvisor, the average homeowner spends anywhere from $2000 total to build a smaller deck and about $7000 for a 200 by 500 square foot deck. The materials selected, such as wood, plastic or composite will also have varying effects on pricing. The good news, though, is that a well-done balcony can have a nice return on your investment should you decide to sell it one day.
As always, it is important to hire a licensed engineer when designing and building your dream balcony. They will ensure your plan is up to code, streamline the planning and construction process, and likely save you money and time in the long run.
The consequences of not hiring a professional can be detrimental to your home and safety. In 2015, a balcony sheared off an apartment complex in Berkeley, California. Through a combination of mismanagement by the property manager along with poor construction materials and practices by the contractor, the balcony collapse caused six deaths and seven injuries. This incident exemplifies the very real risks that come with hiring questionable workers for your project.
Fortunately, with the help of proper planning a new balcony can provide you with a safe and enjoyable outdoor space for years to come! Contact our professionals at Design Everest to help you with any changes in your balcony or addition of a new balcony.