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Building a balcony can add a pleasing aesthetic and a functional space for relaxing to a home or other structure, but the construction process must be done carefully and correctly, and the materials used for the project must be chosen properly. Several balcony designs exist, and the builder will need to choose the best design for a particular structure. Cantilevered balconies, for example, are exceptionally attractive, but they are not always the most stable choice when building a balcony. A structure that is supported by plinths is a stronger option, and the strongest option is the balcony that uses columns or posts as supports.
The drawback to using columns or posts involves the amount of materials and space required when building a balcony of this design. The posts will need to run from the bottom of the balcony to the ground, which means any doorways or walkways beneath the balcony will be affected. In some cases, this is not an issue and can actually improve the aesthetic of the ground floor, but in other cases, using columns or posts may not be possible or desirable when building a balcony. If the balcony is high off the ground, for example, posts may not be able to reach the structure from the ground.
Cantilevered balconies can be used in this case, but the materials used when building a balcony with a cantilevered design must be chosen carefully. Softwoods will tend to warp, crack, and bend under constant weight and exposure to the elements, so hardwoods or metal will need to be used as supporting materials. This means the cost of the project may go up considerably. The builder will also need to research how far the beams can be cantilevered before they start to bend or risk cracking. A cantilevered balcony will have a tendency to bounce or sway when weighed down, so the structure must be designed in such a way that the beams are supported adequately on the non-overhanging end.
The materials used as flooring on the balcony will need to be chosen carefully as well, as they will be exposed to constant sunlight, rainfall, or even snowfall. The materials should be easy to clean and weather resistant, while still keeping within the overall budget of the project. The aesthetic of these materials will also be important, as the homeowner will regularly see the floor of the balcony and will want a pleasing visual.
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