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What Are the Best Tips for Designing a Timber Balcony?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A balcony is a structure that protrudes from the side of a building; it is sometimes purely decorative, though in other cases it is able to hold the weight of people and furniture. When designing a timber balcony, which is a balcony made from wood, the builder will need to take several factors into consideration. The first and most important consideration when building a timber balcony is whether the structure will be load-bearing or purely decorative. This is important for the safety of anyone who steps out onto the balcony as well as anyone who may be standing below.

The next consideration when building a timber balcony is the type of timber that will be used for construction. An outdoor balcony will need to be made of pressure-treated wood or wood that is naturally resistant to rot, cracking, splitting, fading, and bug infestation. The project budget will be a partial determining factor of what wood will be used, as will the desired aesthetic of the finished product. Hardwoods are best for outdoor applications, as they tend to be stronger and more resistant to weather damage. They will also refrain from warping in most cases; softwoods like pine can be susceptible to warping and other damage.

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A timber balcony can be an open-air structure or an enclosed one. The builder will need to decide before construction which type of timber balcony will be most appropriate. The weight of an enclosed timber balcony will usually be heavier than that of an open-air structure, which means the design of the balcony will need to account for the added weight. Screens can be added to the enclosed balcony, as can windows; the intended use of the space will usually dictate which enclosure materials will be most appropriate.

If the balcony is enclosed, the builder will need to pay special attention to the roof design as well as the materials used to cover the roof. This will depend on where the balcony is situated; if it is in a location that is likely to receive a fair amount of rain or snow, the roof will need to be sloped appropriately. Shingles or tiles will need to be installed on the roof as well; many builders prefer to match the roof of the balcony to that of the rest of the home or structure for aesthetic consistency, though other materials can be used in certain situations.

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