Balconies On Houses – Essential Balcony Information Guide

Image shows multistory house with balconies on each floor. Balconies on houses.

If you’re moving to a new place that has a balcony, you might have practical questions about the use of balconies on houses. In this article, we have compiled essential balcony information and facts that will answer some, or perhaps all, of your questions and concerns.

Keep reading to find out what there is to know about balconies on houses and check the Table of Contents tool just below if you’re looking for something in particular!  

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Basic balcony information

What is a balcony?

A balcony is an enclosed outdoor space attached to a building. It typically extends from the upper floors of a house and is usually supported by walls or console brackets.

Originally, balconies served as natural ventilators. However, their uses have shifted over the years. Today, they are often used for socializing and entertainment, and even indoor balconies are increasingly popular.

The use of a balcony does however vary. A small, shallow balcony is only appropriate for sitting alone or with a partner. A wider balcony can accommodate several more people comfortably.

In a residential society, a balcony is a common area for the enjoyment of the residents. It is often used for relaxation or small gardens. It can also serve as a useful outdoor dining space or for yoga sessions. The sky is the limit when it comes to balconies!

What is the use of a balcony?

Balconies on houses can be used for a variety of activities. They can provide an outdoor space for people to exercise, sit, eat, relax, or simply enjoy the view.

The use of a balcony depends on the users. Its size, orientation, and relationship to the surrounding environment all influence its functional performance.

The performance of a balcony is determined by its placement, usage hours, and location. Privacy, visual, and auditory aspects of the space also affect its use.

However, it is important to keep in mind that a balcony is not (usually) an enclosed space, so sounds can travel to other balconies. Also, loud actions can disturb people living on the same floor, below or above.

The biggest balconies are typically used for entertaining. They are often equipped with lighting systems and privacy screens.

On sunny days, you should take care of sun protection by hanging curtains, adding a tent, or putting up a giant umbrella. This way, you can enjoy the view even while in the shade.

When it comes to the winter season, there are different measures you can take to prepare your balcony for the winter and to help keep it warm during the cold season, so that you’ll be able to enjoy it all year round.

What is balcony area?

The balcony area is an outdoor extension of the living area of a home. The space on the balcony can be used for outdoor activities, furniture, and flowers.

A balcony is not a separate structure but is simply a wall or column that makes the exterior of the house more interesting. If you live in an apartment building with a small balcony, you’re lucky, since it adds extra space and air to an apartment.

A balcony is partially enclosed by walls, sometimes also windows, and is typically located higher than the ground floor. A balcony area can be small and not much more than a few square meters.

What are the different types of balconies?

There are various types of balconies on houses and buildings. They differ in the way they are constructed and the materials they’re made of, which also affects the cost of construction. The most common ones are:

  • Concrete balconies are the most common type, as they’re built on top of the building’s concrete frame with a balustrade around the exposed perimeter.
  • Inset balconies are built into the facade of the building, with the open side surrounded by a balustrade.
  • Steel balconies can attach to buildings using a variety of methods. They generally require additional support due to the weight of the structure, which increases installation time. Steel is a durable material, but it will need to be painted to keep it looking fresh.
  • Stacking balconies are another type. Stacking balconies are supported by vertical posts or pillars. The size of the pillars will depend on the weight of the balcony and how many balconies are stacked on top. Stacking balconies have a minimal aesthetic compromise, but they’re often more expensive than their cantilevered counterparts.
  • Hanging balconies are supported by a stainless steel cable fixed to the walls.

What is a Juliet balcony?

A Juliet balcony is a style of “false” balcony that can be attached to a building. They can normally be accessed from the living room or the bedroom and can have a railing and door to the outside.

In some rare cases, Juliet balconies may also feature a deck, but very small. These balconies are very popular with many people due to their combination of modernity and freedom. They can be safe and are relatively inexpensive to install.

A Juliet balcony is a classic design for a home. They are a great way to let fresh air into a house. In a big city like NYC, even a small balcony can be a big deal.

A Juliet balcony is a great way to add something special to your home without undergoing a major renovation. They are often installed in upper-story rooms and can be a beautiful addition to your home.

What is a small balcony called?

Small balconies are commonly referred to as just “small balconies”, there is not a specific name for them. However, there are also French balconies and Juliet balconies, which are also small by design.    

A small balcony is a balcony that is not big enough to house a lot of furniture. Its primary function is to provide a place to relax outdoors and allow for fresh air to flow into the house.

A small balcony is a common feature of apartments, although it’s possible to find one indoors as well.

What is a large balcony called?

There is not a specific name for a large balcony. However, large balconies may often be mistaken for verandas, patios, and terraces.  

Balconies on houses can be narrow or wide, and there can be more than one balcony on a house. A balcony on a house may in fact be a porch or a patio. A large wooden balcony might be called a deck.

What is an indoor balcony called?

Interior balconies, mezzanines, landings, and so on – learn all the names for indoor balconies, as well as their many differences and purposes in this guide.

What is the difference between veranda and balcony?

Essentially, a veranda is a roofed platform that extends from a house to the exterior. It can be attached to the house or free-standing. It is a good place to relax or entertain. A balcony is always attached to a house and is usually smaller than a veranda.

The two types of balconies are often similar, but there are a few differences.

A veranda can be considered a ground-floor balcony. A balcony is normally affixed to the second or higher levels of a building. Using balconies is a popular way to add extra living space to apartments.

While both are great for outdoor entertaining, they have their own unique characteristics. Read this article to learn more about the distinction between these two types of balconies.

Is a balcony a terrace?

The first distinction between a balcony and a terrace is its location. A balcony is an area outside a building and is often elevated, while a terrace is a flat space usually with access from several rooms.

A terrace is a private area, but can also be shared by several apartment units. A terrace is often larger than a balcony. See this article about the differences between the two outdoor spaces.

The different parts of a balcony

What are the parts of a balcony called?

The different parts of a balcony are made up of walls, railing, flooring, balustrade, and other features.

  • Balcony walls usually surround the balcony and can be a good place to hang flowers and other decorations.
  • Balcony railing is a fence-like barrier that supports the top rail of a balcony. It may be made of wood, iron, or stone, and may have decorative brackets or rails. These are normally attached to the building’s walls with posts or pillars.
  • Flooring on a balcony is usually made of decking tiles or simply pure concrete.
  • Balustrades are railings that support a balcony. They are sometimes short ornamental parapets that extend into the floor, while other types of balconies are sloping, open, or enclosed by walls. A balustrade can also be a space divider.

Do balconies have roofs?

A balcony is a platform attached to a building, usually with walls, floor, balustrades, and sometimes also a roof, especially if there is another balcony on the floor above.  

Do balconies have stairs?

Often, balconies are just flat surfaces with railings that extend from the ground up. But in some cases, there are stairs. For example, a spiral staircase might lead from the balcony down to the ground.

However, it is important to know that this type of staircase may be dangerous for small children.

What is the floor of a balcony called?

The floor of a balcony is usually a concrete slab and doesn’t have a specific name.

A mezzanine, on the other hand, is a small, elevated floor that is normally situated between the first floor and the ground floor. A mezzanine has a deck and landing and is usually attached to at least one wall.

In addition, the floor of a mezzanine is usually enclosed by railings, which can prevent the occupants from falling.

What is balcony deck?

Literally, a balcony deck constitutes the floor of a balcony and is often made of balcony decking tiles. In a wider meaning, a balcony deck can also be an elevated outdoor structure that is attached to a building. These structures are mostly built of processed lumber, concrete, or iron.

A “deck” might also refer to a large, covered space that can accommodate furniture. While it may not be a true balcony, it might have railings and is made to mimic a balcony.

What is balcony overhang?

The best way to answer this question is to look at a truss, or cantilever balcony, on a home. A truss is a beam that extends away from the wall but has no support at one end. It cantilevers from a building’s walls or joists, but they can’t hang down very far.

Furthermore, a cantilever is a structural element that carries a load against a vertical support. A cantilever can be supported by a concrete column or beam. The load on a cantilever beam or column is carried against its momentum and shear stress.

Balcony construction and materials often used

Simple concrete balcony with glass walls on white building

What is a balcony made of?

Balconies on houses are typically made of concrete, steel, and sometimes wood. The concrete on balconies attached to residential structures is often reinforced with reinforcing steel, which prevents it from deteriorating.

Balconies are attached to the building using a variety of methods. The design of the building may dictate the type of support needed. In addition, steel is a durable material, which can be painted to prevent rusting.

How do you make a balcony?

The first step in making a balcony is to decide where it will be built. Next, decide the size and material to use. This is important because the weight of the balcony will be high. You will need to consider the structural strength of the materials.

All of the drawings should be detailed. Before you start building, it is important to check with the local building department to see if you need a permit.

Once you have a plan and materials, you can begin building. Depending on the size of your balcony, you can use either pressure-treated wood or a combination of wood and steel. The type of wood you use will depend on the weather conditions where you live. Contractors often use concrete and steel for balconies on large building projects.

We strongly recommend hiring professionals for the construction of your balcony. Regardless of your location, you must follow building codes in your area. This will ensure the safety and durability of your new balcony.

Choosing balcony design and architecture for home

The following are some tips to help you choose the right balcony for your house.

A good design will match the rest of your home’s style, house plan, and give you a place to enjoy your backyard. Regardless of the location of your balcony, it should enhance the aesthetics of your home.

There are several ways to design a balcony. If the building is built on a tight plot, there’s a lower chance of the balcony being supported. A good way to determine whether you can install a balcony is to consult with a planning adviser.

Also, a good design will be able to provide a lot of natural light. For the best possible design, consider adding seating to the balcony. Make sure the space is at least 1.5 meters deep and can hold comfortable furniture.

Balcony maintenance

Do balconies need to be waterproofed?

The answer depends on the material of the balcony. If the materials are made of concrete or wood, the answer will vary. With concrete, excessive water will often enter the waterproofing layer. If the materials are made of wood, they must be carefully chosen.

When deciding whether to waterproof a balcony, check the materials and make sure they are suitable. If they are made of concrete, they will need to be properly sealed. This will prevent the concrete from cracking and mold developing.

Additionally, ensure that the surface is clean and free of dirt before the waterproofing process begins. A waterproofed balcony can save you money in the long run because of the lack of repair work.

Do balconies need drainage?

Considering the height of the structure and the surface area, balconies do need appropriate drainage. A barrier system such as a threshold or drip tray drainage system that collects rainwater is the best solution for protection against water.

Installing a suitable waterproofing membrane is also a good addition.

Do wooden balconies need to be replaced?

If the wooden balcony is not in a good condition, it will need to be replaced for security reasons. As a homeowner, you should consider hiring a professional to perform the repairs or replacements.

Some wood balustrades have failed because of moisture intrusion during the construction process. Professional balcony inspectors will evaluate the balcony’s waterproofing and structural integrity. They will note if there are any cracks or moisture accumulation. If there is any deterioration, the supporting structure must be reconstructed.

Performing a wooden balcony repair can be a labor-intensive, expensive, and time-consuming endeavor. It may also require replacing the balcony’s posts, columns, plinths, etc. As wood rots and metal rusts, it may become necessary to replace these elements.

However, the wooden balconies can often be repaired without removing the whole structure. You can replace the floor, metal supports, and even the posts.

Why is my balcony so dusty?

Dust on balconies is often due to construction in the proximity. A renovation of an apartment on an upper floor can also create lots of dust. Lower floors are subject to a lot of traffic and motor vehicles, which can lead to more dust accumulation on their balconies.

When it comes to cleaning your balcony, you should start from the highest part of the balcony. Make sure to remove any chairs or tables before you start cleaning.

Sweep the floor using a stiff-bristled broom to get rid of any loose dirt or leaves. If you have a plastic covering on your balcony, then you can use this to collect the debris. Once you have swept it, you should put it in a trash bag.

Your balcony may also be full of pollen powder during the spring season. If pollen is a problem for you and your balcony space, here’s a guide on how to clean pollen off a balcony.

Balcony regulations and common rules

Do balconies count as square footage?

It may be confusing to know whether a balcony counts as square footage. The answer depends on how the square footage is calculated. In some cases, balconies are excluded from listed square footage, but in other cases, they are included.

If you’re unsure, ask your real estate agent to confirm the figures. A balcony’s square footage may be higher or lower than the listed one, so it’s important to clarify the facts before you purchase the property.

The square footage of a property normally includes the living and enclosed areas of a property. However, open terraces are usually not included. Although they can be included in the square-footage calculation, they’re generally excluded.

Some properties list balconies separately. It’s important to take into account that the value of the balcony depends on its size and shape.

Do balconies need planning permission?

Depending on the location, you will most likely need to apply for planning permission for any new balcony. The visual impact of your proposed balcony will be considered by council planners, particularly if you’re planning to build a balcony in a conservation area.

It will also be considered whether your proposed balcony overlooks your neighbors. A good way to reduce the visual impact is to use glazing or to install a screen so that your guests have privacy as well.

Do balconies add value?

Although balconies are usually not included in the square footage of a home, they can increase the value by around 12% (the number differs between countries and regions). Even though many people don’t like the idea of spending money on extra space, balconies are worth the investment.

So, if you’re thinking about putting one on your property, think about the benefits it can bring to your overall property value for the long term.

Do balconies need to be accessible?

In new housing, accessibility is of paramount importance, especially if the balcony is connected to the home’s main living space. Many new constructions do not include accessible thresholds, but a broader understanding of these requirements can help you plan accessible balconies on houses.

In addition, some current codes do not require receptacles on balconies. However, in some instances, the accessibility requirement is more restrictive than the building code. It may also be possible to install an additional, secondary door to the covered balcony.

We recommend checking your local accessibility requirements for balconies on houses before planning and building a balcony.

Are balconies common property?

Depending on the situation, balconies can be registered as private and/or common property. In most cases, the body corporate has the responsibility of maintaining common property such as the building’s walls, roofs, and balconies.

But in some cases, owners may have to pay for the maintenance of their balcony. If this happens, the owner of the balcony is responsible for repairing it.

If you are thinking of changing the look of your balcony, it is important to contact the owner’s corporation of your building to ask for permission.

Many times, balconies are registered as exclusive use areas. In some circumstances, the owner of an exclusive use area is responsible for maintaining the balcony.

It is, therefore, necessary to make sure you are aware of these rules. You can find out whether you have to pay for repairs yourself or have the body corporate pay for the repair.

Do balconies count as private gardens?

Generally speaking, balconies on houses do not count as private gardens. However, they do sometimes count as private outdoor space, just like a traditional garden does.

A balcony garden can be an important focal point for a home, and it can provide a comfortable retreat for those who live in apartments.

Animals and balconies on houses

Are balconies safe for cats?

White cat on balcony railing

Balconies can pose risks to your cat. There are a few things you can do to protect your feline friend. One of these is to install a screened-in enclosure or a catio (also known as a cat patio).

As a cat owner, you probably want to make your pet as comfortable as possible while they’re in their home. But you should ensure the balcony space is completely sealed before your cat is allowed to spend time on it.  

If you have a cat, take a look at our complete guide on how to cat-proof a balcony.

Is my dog safe on the balcony?

Your dog should not be left alone on your balcony and should be kept indoors unless you have properly pet-proofed your entire balcony space.

If your balcony has a railing, consider covering it with plexiglass or netting. Also, keep furniture away from the balcony railing. Playing on the balcony railings can be very dangerous for a dog.

If you own an apartment or a condo, it is essential to install a fence or robust netting. It will prevent your dog from escaping and falling down. The best solution for your pet is to keep the balcony doors closed when you are not on the balcony.

Here are 5 steps to dog-proofing your balcony and railing properly.

How do I attract butterflies to my balcony?

Most of us love to watch butterflies in the spring and summer seasons, but we often don’t know how to properly attract them and keep them coming back. Colorful flowers certainly help, but there are more tricks you can use to draw butterflies to your balcony.

How do I keep spiders off my balcony?

Some people suggest using chemical deterrents such as pesticides, while others recommend using natural deterrents such as citrus peels or vinegar.

In fact, we have written a complete guide on how to get rid of spiders on your balcony, where a number of spider repellents and useful tips are detailed.

How do I keep birds off my balcony?

One way to keep birds such as pigeons away from your balcony is to install a plastic owl decoy, as these will startle the birds and make them fly away. You can also try using a net to cover your balcony which will prevent the birds from landing.

Here’s an article with 14 of the most commons ways to keep birds off your balcony.

Additional balcony information

Why balcony is called balcony?

The term “balcony” has multiple possible sources. The word is most likely derived from the Latin or old German word for a large window. The word is a broad and descriptive term for a platform that projects from a building wall and is often supported by brackets and columns.

Another story has it that the name “balcony” was originally a medieval term meaning a wooden scaffolding that was used for an anti-siege device on a castle’s wall.

What is another word for balcony?

There is no other word for balcony, although there are several words that are frequently incorrectly used as synonyms, these are: deck, patio, porch, terrace, mezzanine, gallery, and veranda.

Is a balcony a room?

A balcony does usually not count as a proper room. However, you can enclose it with glass windows and a roof to give it the feeling of a room. Adding a carpet to the floor will also help.

Additionally, adding hanging planters and outdoor lanterns will help make the balcony feel more like an extension of the apartment. A few comfortable seating options include hanging chairs, hanging lamps, and a sofa set. In this article, you’ll find more recommended accessories.

When building a balcony, it is essential to consider the use it will have. This type of space can be used for multiple purposes. If you have a balcony in your home, make sure it is protected from the elements so you can enjoy it all year long.

Is balcony important?

In addition to its aesthetic value, a balcony has several practical benefits. It can be used as an extra room, for gardening, to enjoy the views, to get fresh air, for extra storage, and it will increase the value of your home.  

Whether you’re entertaining guests, reading a book, or relaxing, your balcony can be your new favorite place to spend time. Read more about the importance of having a balcony here.

Is balcony worth it on cruise?

If you like to spend considerable time in your cabin, a balcony cabin is worth the extra money. You’ll have natural light, while an interior cabin might feel stifling.

If you’re seasick, having a balcony on your cruise ship is a great way to get some fresh air. You’ll also have a much better chance of spotting marine life when the waves are calm. In addition, you’ll never have to compete for a view with other passengers.

With a balcony, not only will you be able to enjoy the scenery, but you can also enjoy breakfast and lunch outside, though some of the cruise lines might not serve it.

Are balconies safe?

Generally, balconies are safe, but they do have limits for how much weight they can handle. If you have doubts about the security of your balcony, maybe it looks old and/or rusty/rotten, ask your landlord for a professional balcony inspection!

As a landlord, it is crucial to make sure that your property is completely safe before renting it out to tenants. Order a full-scale inspection of all the balconies at regular intervals.

As a tenant, you should teach your children about the risks of balcony falls and encourage them to play inside the apartment instead. Children should not be left alone on the balcony.

Be sure to explain the consequences of unsafe behavior and consider adding a safety fence/net on the balcony. You can also install a child safety lock on your balcony door. Here are 13 balcony safety tips to consider!

Do balconies collapse?

While the collapse of a balcony is unlikely to occur in a new apartment building, it is an example of a failing structure. The most common causes of balconies collapsing include aging, concrete spalling, rust, and galvanic corrosion of steel reinforcing bars. Thus, collapses do happen.

The concrete may be able to be patched, but the rusting or deterioration of the reinforcement will eventually cause the structure to crumble. In many cases, the only way to make a balcony safe is to replace the entire structure. Unfortunately, the process is time-consuming and costly.

In addition to accidents that cause serious injuries, balcony failure can also cause fatalities. In these cases, the building’s builder can be held liable for any injuries caused by the collapse.

Final thoughts on balconies on houses

We hope you’ve found this guide with essential balcony information useful and that it has added to your knowledge about balconies on houses, outdoor living, what to keep in mind, and ideas on what to do to improve their overall safety.

Balconies can become what you want them to be: a place to relax, a place to socialize, or a place to grow vegetables and plants. Feel free to share this article and good luck with your balcony improvements!


Further reading with useful balcony information

Wikipedia about balconies 

Britannica about balconies

Safety tips for balconies

More balcony safety tips on balcony construction on balcony lingo on balcony types

Wicr Inc on balcony structures on balcony regulations

Encyclopedia about the balcony play

Elle Peters

Elle is a self-described “balcony nerd” and spends a lot of time on her balcony planting flowers and vegetables. She loves writing about new balcony decoration and gardening.

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