- Where to place the balcony, and what it should be
- Frame device
- Arrangement of struts and columns
- Making the floor
- Balcony railing
- Protective covering
A beautiful balcony makes the architecture of a private house more interesting and attractive, sets its tone and special style. It often becomes a real highlight that adorns the strict rectangular shapes of the building. However, not only the enrichment and revitalization of the facades is the purpose of the balcony. This structural element, of course, significantly increases the comfort of living of the inhabitants of the house and significantly improves the functionality of the premises..
The balcony increases the illumination of the room in which it is located, this is especially true in the bedrooms of the attic floors. It is an additional living space used for admiring a beautiful scenic view, organizing family tea, relaxing and working in the fresh air. In the southern regions, the balcony is used for sleeping in the warm season and organizing a dining room for the whole summer. Restless mothers from the balcony can easily look after children walking on the street. And of course smokers – that’s who can appreciate all the comforts of owning a balcony in their room, albeit quite small.
The balcony will serve as a nice natural shelter. Under it there may be a porch of the main entrance, a terrace and just a seating area. Often the base of the balcony is the overlap of the veranda.
Where to place the balcony, and what it should be
It’s no secret that the construction of a balcony is troublesome and not cheap. Therefore, when starting work, you should determine exactly how it will be used. The dimensions and shape of the balcony can be almost any, the main thing is that these parameters are harmoniously combined with the architecture of the house.
Very often balconies are located between the corner walls of the building, which significantly increases the reliability of its attachment to the supporting structures. As a rule, they are well protected from the influence of the dominant wind and the gaze of curious neighbors. Sometimes the base of the balcony rests on the walls of the veranda and serves as its overlap.
A balcony intended for decorative purposes can be limited only by a door and a balustrade, the so-called “French balcony”. If the balcony has only an applied function (drying clothes, smoking …), then a small overhang of 700–1000 mm will be enough. But the balcony for relaxation will require several large sizes, because it will need to place a table, several chairs, a sun lounger and other large items on it. Such a balcony must be made at least 1500 mm wide using support posts.
The best material for building a balcony is wood. Wood has very good thermal insulation properties, therefore, the formation of cold bridges, so characteristic of the use of reinforced concrete slabs, especially those that are pinched, is almost completely excluded. Due to its low specific weight, a wooden balcony is easy to make even after building a house, using an independent structure. Needless to say, the decorative attractiveness and functionality of wooden balconies, an example is the unrivaled beauty of the design typical of Scandinavian and Alpine houses.
You should be very careful when choosing a place where the balcony will be located. Often it is completely impractical on the front facade of the house, due to the fact that the views from it open only to the road or the houses of neighbors opposite. It is good if the exit to the balcony is from a wide room, a hall, then the balcony door will not occupy the precious area of the walls of the attic floor. Balconies with access from dimly lit rooms located under the roof (bedroom, office) are widespread. A door with a large glass area will noticeably increase their illumination.
If the construction of a wooden balcony is carried out during the construction of a house, it is advisable to use interfloor beams as the basis of its frame, a special length and support system for which is calculated and provided in advance.
You just need to release them beyond the plane of the wall at the distance of the intended removal of the balcony. The section is approximately 150×50–150×80 mm, which is quite enough to avoid collapse and deformation of the frame even without supporting pillars. The width of the balcony in such cases is made up to two meters.
Sometimes staked structural floor beams cannot be applied to a host assembly. For example, if the installation of the balcony takes place after the completion of the construction of the building, or if the floors are covered with reinforced concrete. Then the construction of an independent standing balcony with several support posts is used..
Initially, a powerful beam with a cross section of at least 150×50 mm should be fixed to the wall using anchors or galvanized metal consoles. The method of its installation should be chosen depending on the characteristics of the main wall of the house. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the requirements for the reliability of the fastening of this element..
Further to the wooden columns of the balcony, a transverse beam is mounted strictly horizontally, which will serve as a support for the supporting beams of the balcony floor. It will be much more reliable if the cross beam rests on the columns from above, and is not bolted to them overlapping. It should be installed slightly lower than the wall support beam, so that when the finished floor is sewn up, an “invisible” slope of 1–2 degrees is formed. In general, it is recommended to make the entire site below the floor level of the room somewhere within 50-100 mm, so that when the snow melts, water does not penetrate into the house.
Balcony beams with a section of 150×50 mm and a pitch of 500×700 mm are installed on support beams with a pitch of about 500 mm and are fastened with corner roofing brackets made of galvanized metal.
The assembly of the frame should be done very carefully, since the platform from below is very visible. All beams must be planed and sanded before being installed in their places..
Arrangement of struts and columns
When using a beam-cantilever structure with a sufficiently large balcony overhang, struts are used to reinforce the base. Sometimes they are made of a wooden beam cut into the outer beams of the balcony platform and abutting against the embedded elements of the main wall. Often the wooden brace is a right-angled triangle, one of the legs of which is anchored to the facade, and the other is screwed to the beams of the balcony platform.
In combination with the wooden structure of the balcony, struts made of twisted and forged metal look very beautiful. They are durable and practical, it is much easier to securely fasten them with anchors to the bearing wall due to the relatively small thickness of the metal relative to the timber.
If the construction of the balcony is based on a structure with an independent wide balcony (beam-rack system), then its outer part must necessarily rest on pillars, which, like struts, can be more than two pieces, depending on the dimensions of the product.
The columns are installed on a columnar foundation, the strength of which is subject to serious requirements. It is better if the sole for the racks is poured simultaneously with the foundation of the building and is one with it, an example is a reinforced concrete porch. This eliminates the danger of distortions and deformations due to planting the soil or walls of a wooden house.
For the construction of wooden columns, a dry timber with a cross section of at least 100×100 mm is used. It is mounted strictly vertically, pre-fixing with auxiliary struts from slow-moving lumber, which can be removed after assembling the frame. Columns are attached to the foundation using corners or special box-shaped consoles for mounting racks embedded in concrete. Such fasteners are available in various sizes so that a bar of a certain section fits inside the galvanized console and turns out to be securely fixed.
Sometimes, to ensure the strength of the rack structure, embedded inclined braces are used, which eliminate the lateral vibrations of the columns..
Making the floor
The balcony floor is made of dry planed boards with a thickness of 40 mm. It is fastened perpendicularly to the supporting beams through the body, having previously made sweat to hide the heads of the screws. Between the floorboards, gaps of about 1–2 mm are left, through which atmospheric moisture can be easily drained from the balcony platform. For the same purposes, the edges of the upper layers of the boards are planed to form chamfers at the joints..
Very good performance characteristics will have a balcony floor, sewn up with the so-called “terrace board”. This relatively new material is a composite mixture of plastic and wood fiber. Like wood, it can be easily drilled, cut and processed, being stronger and denser. The decking has a non-slip corrugated surface, tinted like precious woods, often with a beautiful texture. Many manufacturers complete their composite board with a system of hidden fasteners, which, of course, has a positive effect on the appearance of the finished product..
Railings are a very important element in the construction of a balcony. In addition to performing a purely applied function, a beautifully made balustrade adorns the exterior of the whole house. For the manufacture of handrails, chiseled or carved wood is most often used, however, forged metal also looks great, organically combining both with the wooden structure of the balcony and the general architecture of almost any building.
The fence posts must be securely attached to the supporting beams by means of spike joints or double-sided self-tapping pins. Often, for the installation of balustrade posts, various brackets, corners, metal struts are used, including for fastening to walls.
With a long balcony, in addition to corner and wall racks, several intermediate ones are installed, because according to safety standards, the fence must withstand a horizontal load of 100 kg / m or more. Vertical or horizontal filling is performed between them. If there are children among the inhabitants of the house, then the distance between the elements of the railing should be no more than 100–120 mm, and the horizontal fence should be abandoned altogether so that children do not climb on them. Another requirement is the height of the balustrade, which is about 900–1200 mm from the finished floor..
They do not always make a canopy for the balcony, however, to make outdoor recreation truly comfortable, it is still worth covering the area. The most logical option is to establish a balcony under the roof common with the house. If the platform is located on the pediment wall, then the ridge line is lengthened, and additional rafters and sheathing boards are placed. If the roof overhang is located above the balcony, then the rafter legs are lengthened.
The option with an independent canopy attached to the wall is also noteworthy. In this case, a support board is fixed to the supporting wall, on which the rafters are laid. The front part of the canopy should rest either on struts extending from the wall, or on pillars, which can be used as support columns of the balcony protruding beyond the platform level. It is preferable if the roofing material for the canopy is the same as for the roof of the house..
Sometimes PVC or fabric awnings with a light frame structure are used to protect against the weather. These awnings, professionally made and installed, have an attractive appearance and a reasonable price..
All wooden balcony elements require weather protection. Only high-quality processing with specialized paints and varnishes ensures the proper durability of the wooden structure. When choosing compositions, one should take into account their resistance to sunlight, fluctuations in temperature, humidity, mechanical stress. Alkyd-urethane varnishes are considered the best for outdoor work, which are very hard with significant elasticity and have high weather resistance. The entire complex of coatings (primer, impregnation, varnish) must be from the same manufacturer, which guarantees their mutual compatibility.
First of all, bumps, cracks and scratches on the surface of the wood are covered with wood putty. Further, after complete drying of the putty composition, it is carefully sanded and dust removed.
To equalize the absorbency of wood, it is covered with a special primer, which helps to reduce the consumption of compounds for the subsequent stages of painting and the uniformity of application of finishing layers.
Using tinting impregnations, you can imitate valuable wood species, highlight texture, effectively hide stains and other surface defects.
The finishing is made by spraying in several layers of glossy, matte or semi-matt coating. Sometimes it is recommended to grind each new layer of varnish, except for the last one, with a very fine abrasive – from No. 220, then the surface will be perfectly flat and smooth.
Of course, the construction of a balcony will require certain financial and labor costs, the size of which depends on its design, dimensions, and the specifics of the materials used. You should not discount the costs of annual maintenance of the outdoor outdoor structure and the purchase of additional necessary accessories, such as: furniture, a glazed balcony door, flower pots, protective wind screens, awnings, sun umbrellas, a wooden perlog with climbing plants. There is some heat loss through the doors.
However, how good it is to be able to admire nature, sitting in a comfortable chair on the balcony, have breakfast in the fresh air with your family, sunbathe, work or relax in the shade – and all this without leaving home..
Of course, everyone chooses for himself, weighing all the pros and cons, but, you see, beauty and comfort are truly priceless.