Rooms with a view

A migration from city to country living following the pandemic has meant a rise in popularity of glass balconies on domestic dwellings. But just how easy are these to install? Simon Boocock, managing director or CRL Europe, takes a look.

The pandemic has brought about lots of change, including the rise of the glass balcony.

With Brits seeing a change in their working practices, more of us are upping sticks and moving to rural and coastal locations, where taking in the view and making the most of a property’s exterior is taking on much greater prevalence.

Property websites like Rightmove reported a significant increase in searches for rural homes in the months following the initial onset of the pandemic. Searches doubled for homes in small towns and villages with populations of less than 11,000 as coronavirus meant more people working from home made them realise they wanted more space. With fewer people commuting, or needing to be near busy city centres to work, the move to the countryside is on.

Those moving from urban dwellings to more rural locations are seeking ways to modernise their new homes in a way that maximises countryside and coastal views, with glass balconies and balustrades being one solution that retains all the character of the original building too. Glass is the ideal material for such situations, enhancing and protecting the period detail so often seen on rural properties while affording uninterrupted views of rolling countryside.

This is also a material, of course, that allows ample natural light to enter a property’s interior, something that can be particularly beneficial in some rural dwellings and a design aspect that makes Juliet balconies so popular among homeowners.

The main advantage of a Juliet balcony is that it enables a French window or patio door to be chosen instead of a conventional window, filling the room with light, increasing ventilation, and creating a greater sense of space in smaller rooms.

Unlike a bolt-on balcony or other types that have a deck, Juliet balconies do not need the foundations of a property to be re-evaluated to accommodate them. This makes them a more widely used solution for refurbishment and renovation construction projects. Once installed, such balconies are effectively maintenance free and are suitable for even the most corrosive seaside or coastal properties.

Although glass infill panels are often perceived as a more expensive option than metal, glass isn’t necessarily beyond the reach of projects with a limited budget. Working with an experienced balustrade manufacturer with the relevant expertise in glass can make this both a cost-effective and low maintenance solution that simply needs cleaning rather than repainting at regular intervals like some metal balustrades.

While the end result undoubtedly has visual appeal, initial installation of the glass panelling can be challenging. By their nature, Juliette balconies or balustrades will be installed above ground level, often where access for scaffolding is tricky. Wet-fit balcony systems need to be held securely in place, most often with cement, to ensure a tight fit, which can be messy, particularly on retro-fit projects.

The ideal solution is a system that simplifies the installation process, while offering peace of mind in terms of safety for the end user and longevity in terms of weather resilience, with high grade stainless steel or aluminium being the ideal materials for making the appropriate connections. Installers need to be aware of safety regulations and look for a system that conforms to BS6180:2011, the general code of practice for barriers in and around buildings, and use a system that can be fixed back to the stone or brickwork of the building for a completely secure solution.

With the right systems specified, the end result will be a Juliette balcony or balustrade that takes full advantage of the strength and aesthetic qualities of glass, leaving your customers to enjoy the view.