Freedom to grow: Build a balcony with these 5 tips

Sitting area and plants on a balcony
Fresh air and more space? Especially in the warm summer months, life is increasingly taking place in the open air. However, not everyone can count themselves among the lucky owners of a garden or balcony. At least the latter can be implemented without any problems on your own with the right know-how and the right instructions. One Build a balcony? That sounds more complicated than it really is. Our experts will give you all the important tips, ideas for planning and options as well as essential points on the legal situation. Let yourself be inspired!

1. Planning: Record your wishes in front of the balcony

Before you get started, this is the Planning is the be-all and end-all. Because only if you have a precise plan in advance, the balcony can be added in no time and you don’t expect any nasty surprises. You should always pay attention to these four things if you want to build a balcony yourself:

  • Material: A steel balcony or a wooden balcony? You have the choice. Many prefabricated add-on balconies can already be found in stores, especially for models made of metal. But variants made of wood also offer their own charm and can be assembled without a lot of tools.
  • Alignment: Ideally, you should orient your new balcony to the south. If you want to be able to enjoy a shady spot on hot summer days during the day, an orientation to the east is recommended. If balconies face west, you should consider that this side is more exposed to wind and rain.
  • Drainage for rainwater: Correct drainage for rainwater is a must if passers-by, neighbors or you don’t want to get your head wet under your balcony. In addition, gutters and collecting pipes also ensure that the water on your balcony can flow in the right direction.
  • Privacy protection: To protect yourself from prying eyes from neighbors and passers-by, a privacy screen on the balcony railing can be very useful. This is particularly recommended if the balcony is quite low. The same applies to a windbreak.

2. Balcony extension: What are the options?

There is not just one way to start adding a balcony. In fact, you can three common variants that allow balconies to be retrofitted. Depending on the style you want, you can then decide what best suits your house or apartment:

  1. The self-supporting balcony

    An extension balcony is referred to as an extension, which is placed on four supports in front of the actual facade of the house wall. This is basically the most popular variant for retrofitting a balcony. In addition, front balconies are also ideal for a multi-storey kit.

  2. The partially self-supporting front balcony (also extension balcony)

    The extension balcony is constructed in a similar way to the aforementioned balcony. The most important difference, however, can be found in the number of supports. While four pillars are required for a projection balcony, the extension balcony usually has two supports. No further supports are required for the house wall, as the kit is attached directly to the ceiling with stainless steel anchors.

  3. The cantilevered balcony (also cantilever balcony)

    This is a classic balcony that works completely without supports and serves as an extension of the floor slab of the respective storey. Such a balcony looks extremely elegant, but it cannot be easily retrofitted. In addition, the statics should always be checked in advance to determine whether a cantilevered balcony can be built on at all.

3. Submit a building application: No balcony without a building permit

As with pretty much all extensions, the same applies to balcony projects: definitely one Obtain building permit! To do this, you should first get information from the responsible building authority and submit a building application there with a building description, site plan, views and floor plan. Ideally, the form should also be signed by an authorized architect or master craftsman.

At the same time, when planning the balcony, you should obtain information from the city or local authority that could influence the architecture of the kit.

Important: Also not to be forgotten is the consent of the co-owners if you own a condominium.

Balcony with a wooden table and a railing

4. List of costs: What does a balcony cost?

Before starting the construction of your balcony, a cost statement is useful to check whether everything can be covered or whether professional help is even possible. On average, the costs for a complete balcony extension are around 13,000 euros. At just under 10,000 euros, self-supporting balconies, in particular, are relatively cheap. The so-called cantilever balconies are particularly expensive, with total costs of up to 20,000 euros.

Please note, however, that these sums already include the costs for the kit, railing, revolving / tilting door and craft costs.

5. Build a balcony: instructions

If you have planned everything so far and obtained the building permit, all that remains is to build the balcony. Here you can choose either an architect or a construction company. Depending on your budget, you can even lend a hand in some parts of the building. This is what a rough process of building a balcony looks like:

1. Layout foundations

For the foundation, concrete is usually mixed from the ready-mixed mortar. Make sure that you only use enough water that the concrete is earth-moist. You should also keep a recess for the steel foot of the supports.

2. Mount the corner post

The corner posts are aligned vertically and concreted with the assembly mortar. For the corner posts on the house wall, use bracket brackets that you mount on the facade.

3. Fasten the supports

The supports are attached to the house wall with screw bolts. For a sufficient degree of stability, you should attach the main joists between the corner posts with joist hangers. Place the beams for the balcony floor across the beams and fasten them with steel brackets. Secure the two outer beams to the posts with joist hangers. Steel wires or galvanized round steel also ensure a better hold.

4. Attach the railing

A secure hold is a must on the balcony. Ideally, you mount railing posts on beams with sheet steel brackets and screw a handrail onto them.

5. Seal the balcony

In order to optimally seal the balcony, we recommend a sheet of glass fleece, which you place on the tongue and groove boards. A vapor barrier film then follows over it. Then put on the flat roof insulation and seal with roofing felt. Loose wooden gratings are well suited as a walkway.

Reading tip: You can find detailed instructions for sealing the balcony in this article.

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