You may add a touch of class and elegance to the overall kerb appeal of your property by installing a balcony. Balconies are perfect for hosting weekend barbeques with friends and family, lounging with a good book, or simply people-watching.
If constructing a balcony on your home is in your future, have you given any thought to how it will look? Do you have any idea what balcony decking design would be ideal for your home?
The purpose of this article is to provide you with a summary of the different types of balconies so that you may choose the one that is best suited to your home's architectural style throughout the planning process.
Deck and balcony damage, such as decaying wood or weakened supports, can have costly consequences, as has been illustrated in recent news pieces. Decks and balconies are only as safe as the structural design and construction of their guardrails (or railings) and the decks and balconies themselves, respectively.
Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a wide range of balcony repairs.
Decks vs. Balconies
One of the biggest causes of a balcony's collapse is the "live load," or the total combined weight of all the people and things being supported by the balcony at once. Loading rules for balconies and decks were revised between the 2006 and 2009 editions of the International Building Code (IBC). Deck and balcony live loads were allocated differently in the International Building Code of 2006.
An outdoor level that projects from and is supported by a structure but does not have any extra independent supports is called a balcony in the International Building Code of 2006. What we have here is a cantilevered section of floor that extends outward from an exterior wall. The term "deck" is used to describe any outdoor flooring that is supported on at least two opposite sides by a neighbouring structure or posts, piers, or other independent supports. There is no differentiation between live loads for decks and balconies in the 2009 International Building Code, and neither term is defined.
The 2006 edition of the International Building Code mandated that decks, not balconies, be included in most new buildings.
A Self Supporting Balcony System is the Safest Balcony System
Self-supporting balcony systems, also called bolt-on balconies, are the safest option when comparing them to traditional wooden cantilever balconies. An example of why self-supporting balcony systems are preferable is the terrible incident that occurred on a cantilever balcony in Berkeley, California. This tragedy highlights how hidden wood cantilever joists can hide severe structural decaying problems, whereas self-supporting balcony solutions have apparent building connections to assure the safety of life and property.
In light of the recent tragedy in Berkeley, California, when a wooden balcony system failed, it is important to remember the dire consequences that can result from the use of wood in cantilever balconies. The engineers who assessed the property found conclusive evidence that the wood beams that supported the deck had deteriorated due to moisture.
Visual Inspections are Important for Balcony Safety
Anyone may do a quick visual assessment to guarantee the continued and permanent safety of a bolt-on balcony. Cantilevered balconies are notoriously difficult to build because of the difficulty in creating a watertight weather joint where the joists enter the wall. In response to changes in humidity and temperature, joists expand and contract. Caused by this, the building's structural integrity is threatened by rot and water damage that have been kept secret. Despite its widespread application as a watertight sealer, caulk quickly deteriorates in the sun, rain, and snow. To make a dangerous wooden balcony safe again, it is usually necessary to rebuild it, fix the inside joists, remove the drywall, and perform other interior repairs. Fixing these issues often takes a lot of effort and money.
A Safer Balcony Option
Bolt-on balconies are the safer alternative because they don't need to be structurally integrated into the building. There are no joists can be seen behind the inner framework. When compared to a traditional hardwood cantilever balcony, installation time is reduced by a factor of two to three. In addition to using durable materials like aluminium and powder coating, ensuring that all of the connections are solid also helps ensure that the product lasts for a long time. Glass, acrylic, cable, or any other material can be used to embellish the railing of a bolt-on balcony, which is normally composed of steel or aluminium. Powder coating makes it possible to coat metals like steel or aluminium in an extensive palette of colours.
Aluminum balconies are fast replacing wooden ones as the standard in new building due to their durability and resistance to the elements. Bolt-on balconies are great since they can be easily removed and reinstalled if they are ever damaged (say, by a sledgehammer) or if you just wish to change their appearance. Both visual security and aesthetic appeal are highly valued by tenants. Most architects are drawn to architecture because of the almost infinite possibilities for design. Property developers like the idea because of the low cost and the improved safety it provides.
How to test your current wooden balcony for safety?
Seek the advice of a professional. A professional inspector will climb a ladder to check the building's external and interior wood cantilevered joists. Punching a small hole in the joists with a screwdriver or an awl, checking for gaps, and probing the joists to search for rot are all part of a normal safety inspection. A bulge in the flooring may indicate water damage inside the building. One of the persistent problems with older methods of timber cantilever construction in low-rise apartment and condominium buildings is the risk to residents' safety that results from the structure's inherent fragility.
The Different Types Of Balcony Structures
This sort of balcony is typically built with stainless steel cables. All of the balcony's edges are secured with these wires. The big plate is attached to the framework at a 45-degree angle, which is a right angle.
To hang the balcony, you need only fasten the steel wires to the walls, secure the plate, and then use the cables to climb to the upper floor. This technique works well because it takes advantage of the bolt strength at the wall to create pull out forces that are comparable to the shear forces. The layout is basic and rarely seen in practise.
Pillar-supported balcony decking is the most popular and most widely used style of balcony due to its relative simplicity of installation. Because of the piled balconies, the building or structure can only carry a minimal amount of weight. The piled balconies are not part of the building; rather, they are an entirely independent structure.
Posts are the pillar-like vertical structures that hold up multiple levels of balconies. The weight of the stacked balconies is passed from the vertical posts or pillars that support them to the concrete pads that are placed on the ground.
Some stacked balconies and pillared balconies are made of aluminium, which provides a sleek and consistent aesthetic for buildings and flats. You can find some of these supplies in various apartment buildings.
Stacking balconies is a typical design choice for apartment and residential buildings because it creates a sleek, uniform aesthetic, is simple to build, and can be placed quickly.
Cantilever or projecting balconies
Cantilever balconies are platforms that extend outward from a building yet don't appear to be supported by the structure from the front. The weight of the balcony decking is supported by cantilevering the structure off the wall.
Cantilever balconies are not adaptable to preexisting buildings. This is because bigger point loads are imposed by projecting balconies on the building they are attached to. However, cantilevered balconies are exempt from this rule.
It is common practise to build cantilever balconies with steel or concrete. Modern designs, cutting-edge construction materials, and resourceful applications of these protruding balconies, however, produce more aesthetically pleasant outcomes.
Standard depths for jutting balconies are between 1.5 and 1.8 metres. In spite of the most aesthetic effect, however, those who use this type of balcony structure frequently express dissatisfaction with the rocking sensation they experience upon stepping out onto the platform.
An issue with a cantilevered balcony is the inherent bouncing caused by its depth. The projected bounce falls off sharply with decreasing depth.
There are a number of factors that must be taken into account while designing a balcony's deck. Material, colour, government regulations, local ordinances, end users, and aesthetic compatibility are just a few of the considerations that go into making a building's fixtures and fittings.
You should consult with a professional balcony installer because all of these considerations will go into the final balcony design.
Looking for balcony repairs Melbourne? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Site manufactured reinforced concrete balconies and hanging corridors.
A few years before the turn of the twentieth century. At the turn of the twentieth century, reinforced concrete buildings appeared, ushering in a period of dramatic and enduring transformation in the built environment. At first, these buildings were assembled almost entirely from materials brought to the construction site.
New materials were first put to use by emulating older styles and building techniques. This term referred to the practise of putting horizontal slabs atop consoles on balconies. Consoles, which could previously only be attached by weigh-down, can now be mounted to the pillar or beam structure via the options made available by the monolithic technology. Steel bars were embedded in the concrete and wired to the control panels. Later in history, however, the solution of using cantilevered reinforced concrete slabs became commonplace.
To a large extent, the initial reinforced concrete buildings' construction quality met or exceeded expectations. Cracks in the concrete allow water to seep in, corroding the steel below and causing a cascade of problems. In response, corrosion causes volume expansion, which leads to surface cracking. In consoles, the real load-bearing tension-steel elements are positioned at the top, underneath the slab, making them less vulnerable to the problems indicated above.
In the case of prefabricated reinforced concrete beam slab types that were abundant after the end of World War II (typical examples being soft steel ÉTI beams with brick and concrete tray inlays, later: tensioned beams with concrete or ceramic block inlays), the consoled balconies were made of monolithic concrete slabs. It is common practise in reinforced concrete balconies with a modest projection to either link the steel to the ring beam alone (resulting in a torsion load) or lead it into the concrete slab's overlay (if there was such). Most commonly, the steel was imbedded in a reinforcement bar that ran across the beams, but in the best case scenario, it was fixed down behind a slab beam.
Many of these solutions (found in single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings) were created without or in defiance of the construction plans, disregarding the norms and regulations of the period, and as a result, they were not strong enough to support their intended loads. For the most part, this is true when the slab is attached to nothing but the ring beam. This poses a risk that is particularly hard to evaluate while the renovation or rebuilding is under progress (in these cases, we may only be certain of the applied solution through exploration of instrumental investigation). The professional approach, which entailed an internal, slab-high, reinforced concrete cantilever slab section in the prefabricated slab, was rarely employed since it needed careful planning and (prefabricated slab-based) very complex fabrication work. This was a common workaround because it didn't affect the prefabrication of the building's slab portions. The load-bearing wall above it pressed down on a consoled outcropping beam that had been built on site. In these cases, the balcony's slab was either resting directly on the consoled beams or on an edge beam that was situated between the consoled beams and the ring beam of the building. From a statical perspective, the two balcony solutions that have been lately presented are usually acceptable, and in some cases even more than adequate.
It wasn't until the 1990s that researchers started paying attention to the consequences of thermal bridges brought on by on-site fabrication of reinforced concrete balconies. The design industry was sluggish to adopt the new trends, and the building sector lagged much further behind. Not until the turn of the millennium did people start routinely using thermal bridge gaps. Nonetheless, even when they were employed, it often did not amount to much in the larger scheme of things. The complete elimination of thermal bridges is a condition that has only recently become obligatory.
Prefabricated reinforced concrete balconies and hanging corridors
In the studied structural group, elements composed of prefabricated reinforced concrete were never typical. But there were snags along the way. Some possible examples of early period (early 20th century) console elements are those made of prefabricated reinforced concrete. Designed by István Medgyaszay, these were designed to take the place of stone consoles while performing the same functions (such as inner slab beams serving as consoles) as their predecessors. Recent developments include console-ready slab beam or slab plank systems (Fk-beams, Ytong, DE planks, etc.) as well as prefabrication utilised in panel structures (loggia elements).
Pillar supported structures (loggias, circular corridors)
For the sake of completeness, we'll take a moment to discuss pillar-supported buildings, which include balconies, hanging passageways, and terraces on upper floors and in multi-story buildings. Sadly, this is a frequent misunderstanding. These may be built from wood, metal, concrete, stone, steel, reinforced concrete, or a mix of these. We may roughly express the same on the basis of the various materials and structural components as we did in the case of the previously detailed consoled constructions, with the obvious variances that are intrinsic to the various statics plays. The main differential is that better statics models (those with dual or multiple supports) have a larger reserve of stability, meaning that damages produce less frequently life-threatening circumstances.
Iconic examples of the group include multi-story loggias supported by brick or stone pillars resting on beams or laid vaults and narrow cast-iron pillars in circular courtyard corridors, both of which can be seen in a variety of representative buildings from the late 19th century and early 20th century.
An evaluation concerning the adequacy for requirements:
As was previously mentioned, older buildings (roughly those constructed between 1850 and 1990) that follow the rules and regulations of the time period in which they were constructed are generally considered safe for use, if not by today's standards, then based on the experience gained through their use (until the appearance of structural damage). Rapid deterioration typically manifests as the unexpected collapse of stone supports (or, in rare occasions, stone slabs) or of slag-concrete slabs.
Although thermodynamical concerns played no role in any of the aforementioned situations during construction, the intensity with which thermal bridge effects manifest is not constant: In-wall stone consoles produce a phenomenon analogous to a thermal bridge, albeit on a much smaller scale (at least until the wall is insulated). In contrast, the console's monolithic reinforced concrete slab construction creates thermal bridges that lead to substantial energy waste.
We can also state that the consoled systems provide an acoustically better spot-like wall connection because in these cases only the consoles are responsible for transmitting structure-borne noise.
The production of waterproof and precipitation-resistant insulation for the majority of buildings did not begin until quite recently. Water infiltration and the concomitant damages are usually only a matter of time with tiles set in mortar, so a properly inclined layer of frost-proof stone slabs or a surface finish that may be described as homogeneous (such as artificial stone) is much superior from this perspective. It's also important to think about how the balcony or hanging corridor's outer edge is built, specifically whether or not it has a drip edge and whether or not water is diverted away from the edge in the right places.
Without a drip edge, water that reaches the bottom line will not readily drop, but will instead run back towards the interior, where it can degrade the plastering. When viewed from this latter perspective, the most dangerous aspects of hanging corridors are the U-profiled steel edge beam constructions. In most cases, water will readily be able to access this area and will infiltrate its way under the upper portion of the U beam that is situated at the border of the tiling, inflicting considerable damage.
Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of the Melbourne balcony repairs right here.
What are the critical components for long term performance of decks and balconies?
It's crucial that support columns are built to withstand not only the unsupported height of the column but also the maximum load that's expected. Notching of columns, which is occasionally done at beam or girder connections, must be carefully planned, detailed, and built to ensure the structural integrity of the decks they support.
Ledgers, the deck members that are fastened to the building's exterior and to which the deck's joists are fastened, are crucial to the deck's stability and durability. Ledgers are often fastened to the outer walls by means of lag bolts. In a normal deck, many lag bolts are used for each joist because the loads that can be supported by lag bolts are rather low. Typically, metal joist hangers are used to hold up deck joists from the ledger boards. After proper installation in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines, these hangers can support substantial loads safely. Ledgers, meanwhile, provide new difficulties for deck footings. When ledgers are put in place, it creates gaps in the building's facade. These holes let water seep inside, causing the studs and drywall to rot from the inside out. Proper flashing and water management details must be applied for decks to perform properly over their lifetime.
The guardrail must be able to withstand a force of 250 pounds in any direction applied to its top at any given location. Moreover, the guardrail's peak must be able to sustain a weight of fifty pounds per linear foot in either direction. These weights have to be carried safely through the building's pillars. Posts for the handrails must be connected to one another during installation of the safety rails. Standard building codes mandate that guardrails be set 42 inches above the deck floor. A substantial amount of bending force is produced at the base of the handrail posts when this height plus the required load of 200 pounds is considered. Without extra blocks or straps to anchor the posts, handrail posts that are fastened to the joists often do not have the design strength necessary to bear these loads.
Because of their good looks and practicality, decks and balconies are frequently included in the construction of new homes. However, they can be extremely dangerous if proper care and attention are not given to their design, construction, and maintenance. The simple fact that they exist makes them susceptible to environmental corrosion, and their connections to the structure usually mess with the protective covering. Homeowners' association and condo boards should be aware of the risks associated with decks and balconies and conduct routine inspections and upkeep on a consistent basis.
An outside wall may support a balcony, which is a floor level that projects outward from the wall. "Decks" refers to any outdoor flooring that is firmly anchored to the ground on at least two sides, either by an adjoining building or by posts, piers, or some other kind of freestanding support. When it comes to balcony safety, the quality of the guardrails makes all the difference. When compared to conventional timber cantilever balconies, self-supporting balcony systems (also known as bolt-on balconies) are the most secure solution. Building a cantilevered balcony is challenging because of the challenges involved in making a watertight weather joint at the point where the joists enter the wall.
Aluminum balconies are quickly becoming the industry standard for new construction, surpassing wooden ones. Bolt-on balconies can be readily removed and reinstalled if they are ever damaged. A professional inspector will climb a ladder to evaluate the building's external and interior wood cantilevered joists. Aluminum is used for some stacked and pillared balcony designs. The weight of the balcony decking is sustained by cantilevering the structure off the wall.
These projecting balconies are more aesthetically pleasing when built using modern design principles, cutting-edge building materials, and methods. Monolithic concrete slabs served as the upper consoles for balconies with consoles. The real load-bearing tension steel parts in consoles are placed high up, under the slab, where they are less likely to crack due to surface tension. When water seeps through cracks in the concrete, it corrodes the steel below, setting off a domino effect of problems. Many of these fixes were devised in defiance of or in the absence of the official building blueprints, in a flagrant contempt for contemporary building codes.
The professional solution, which included an internal, slab-high, reinforced concrete cantilever slab portion in the prefabricated slab, was rarely adopted. Consola parts in the first decades of the 20th century were typically cast in reinforced concrete in advance. This was made to serve the same purposes as the stone consoles they were meant to replace. There have been recent advancements such as slab beam or slab plank systems that are compatible with game consoles (Fk-beams, Ytong, DE planks, etc.). In-wall stone consoles produce a phenomenon analogous to a thermal bridge, albeit on a much smaller scale.
In terms of sound quality, consoled systems are superior to "spot" wall connections. Column notching, which is sometimes done at beam or girder connections, necessitates meticulous preplanning and attention to detail. Deck members that are attached to the outside of a building are called ledgers. For decks to function as intended, it's important to pay attention to the finer features like flashing and water management. Any point on the top of a guardrail must be able to sustain a force of 250 pounds in any direction.
- If constructing a balcony on your home is in your future, have you given any thought to how it will look?
- The purpose of this article is to provide you with a summary of the different types of balconies so that you may choose the one that is best suited to your home's architectural style throughout the planning process.
- Self-supporting balcony systems, also called bolt-on balconies, are the safest option when comparing them to traditional wooden cantilever balconies.
- Seek the advice of a professional.
- New materials were first put to use by emulating older styles and building techniques.
- Later in history, however, the solution of using cantilevered reinforced concrete slabs became commonplace.
- Many of these solutions (found in single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings) were created without or in defiance of the construction plans, disregarding the norms and regulations of the period, and as a result, they were not strong enough to support their intended loads.
- In these cases, the balcony's slab was either resting directly on the consoled beams or on an edge beam that was situated between the consoled beams and the ring beam of the building.
- From a statical perspective, the two balcony solutions that have been lately presented are usually acceptable, and in some cases even more than adequate.
- It wasn't until the 1990s that researchers started paying attention to the consequences of thermal bridges brought on by on-site fabrication of reinforced concrete balconies.
- Prefabricated reinforced concrete balconies and hanging corridors
- Some possible examples of early period (early 20th century) console elements are those made of prefabricated reinforced concrete.
- It's also important to think about how the balcony or hanging corridor's outer edge is built, specifically whether or not it has a drip edge and whether or not water is diverted away from the edge in the right places.
- When viewed from this latter perspective, the most dangerous aspects of hanging corridors are the U-profiled steel edge beam constructions.
- What are the critical components for long term performance of decks and balconies?
FAQs About Balcony Repair
There are balconies available on a wide variety of property types, including homes, apartments, restaurants, theatres, and concert halls for music. It is possible for the balcony to fall apart if the railings are not properly maintained. When something like this takes place, victims may sustain serious injuries.
In residential or commercial buildings, a structure known as a cantilevered balcony is one that protrudes outward and away from a wall. It is built with a cantilevered design, which means that the beams that support the balcony are only attached at one end. This leaves the other end, which protrudes away from the main structure, without any support.
If you overload a balcony, you run the risk of creating a safety hazard that could put you or another person in harm's way. Having said that, the load-bearing capacity of balconies is typically between 50 and 100 pounds per square foot. However, there is a possibility that the structure of your balcony was originally built as a patio, which could result in a change in the load rating capacity of the balcony.
Comparable to a deck that lacks posts
The far end of the balcony could be supported by posts that bear on footings, but metal rods, cables, or brackets are typically used because they have a more classic appearance. You have the freedom to make any of the three choices utilitarian, decorative, or somewhere in between; however, the safest option should be the one you choose.
According to the author's observations made over the course of the past fifteen years, there has been no report of the collapse of a concrete slab balcony as a result of live load. It is possible that there have been some instances of excessive deflection, but this is not the case.