There was a time when we wanted our homes to simply be safe, inward-looking spaces where we could feel warm, unwind and lock out the outside world. But all new developments, especially ones in urban areas, have one feature in common that marks a move away from this way of thinking. The balcony is the must-have accessory for high-rise living, maisonettes and anything higher than a bungalow.
Properties with balconies demand a premium and many of us are now looking at the possibility of adding a balcony to our houses, flats or studios. That way we can enjoy the view, let the air in and have a feeling that our bedroom or home office has a touch of the outdoors, even if we don’t have a garden.
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Adding a small balcony is not a complex piece of engineering, with a ‘Juliet balcony’ being the most simple. This is really a door that opens inwards or slides, where an exterior protective rail or glass has been placed in front of the door opening. All the advantages of a balcony at a fraction of the cost. These small balconies can cost upwards of £300 installed and are by far the best option for flats, not least as your freeholder is less likely to object to something that is not a major structural change.
Asking permission from the freeholder is essential for anyone living in a flat, studio or apartment, but a homeowner who wants to install any kind of balcony will also need to consult their local authority. Balconies do not come under permitted development, so you will need to apply for planning permission whether you intend to have a balcony of any kind added to your house or a flat. Your builder should be able to help you with this, as well as working with the council to get the build past building regulations once the job has started. The main reason that permission for a balcony will be refused is to do with it overlooking the home of neighbours, who may object.
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Of course, those with larger homes and larger ambitions may want something bigger and better than a Juliet balcony. This usually means something that can at least take a couple of chairs and a table, so that you can enjoy an al fresco breakfast from time to time, or just sit outside and watch the world go by. Some even use their balconies as an alternate garden, growing the odd tomato and adding bird feeders to attract wildlife.
These larger balconies come with an attendant increase in cost and the amount of work that will need to be done. Obviously there is structural work to be done if you are having a small platform hanging from the walls of your home. This may also include charges for a structural survey, which is often only a visual once-over from an expert but can be more detailed and more costly. A basic, small balcony will cost you upwards of £1,000, but this can quickly run to £5,000 or more.
Image source: Apartment Therapy
Obviously size and materials will dictate cost, but be sure to consult a few builders about the work, as well as asking to see previous work. A poorly-installed balcony could easily damage your home, but a well-executed one has the potential to more than pay for itself in terms of the value it adds to your home. Your builder should be able to advise you on the necessary safety features for a balcony, as well as giving an opinion on materials and design.
Once you have your balcony installed then be sure to buy some furniture that sets it off well. Hard-wearing garden furniture is ideal and will withstand the elements. A few plants and ornaments will make it that outdoor room that you have always wanted. Just make sure that it doesn’t become a storage space or bike park.
Get quotes on the price of adding a balcony to your home from trusted builders in your area when you post a job in our Builders category.