Who wouldn’t want a balcony on their property? Being able to sit out in the fresh air on a summer’s day or warm spring evening with a glass of wine and good company is something most of us would aspire too. And it’s quite achievable when you convert your loft.
Adding a balcony to a loft conversion is perfectly possible with a rooftop or window balcony being the most popular solutions. However, you may require planning permission should you choose to add a balcony to your loft conversion.
Can I add a balcony to my loft conversion?
Extending their loft conversion with a balcony is a project that more and more homeowners are considering when they think about converting the loft.
It used to be the case that loft conversions would strictly be a choice between adding a dormer or using flat skylight windows.
But in recent years companies such as Velux have created new products that make adding a balcony to a loft conversion very easy and something that can be accommodated in most design ideas.
Planning a loft conversion with a balcony
There are basically two types of balconies that can be used for loft conversions depending on your budget and what you want to use your balcony for.
Window balcony systems
To be honest, adding a balcony isn’t the first thing you think of when planning a loft conversion. But it’s a cracking idea and although you don’t see too many of them, they are gaining in popularity and more builders are offering balcony systems as part of their services.
Window balconies are the easiest and cheapest way of adding a balcony to a loft conversion. These floor level windows fitted between the rafters form an instant balcony when they are opened. Although the balcony is fairly small it’s big enough for a table and a couple of chairs.
However, these window balcony systems are very good for increasing the feeling of space within a loft conversion.
Rooftop balcony systems
These are the ‘real deal’. Installing a roof terrace system allows you to create a usable balcony that can be used as an outdoor space.
The terrace or balcony can be as large as you wish and I have seen loft conversions with balconies that extend almost the full width of the roof space.
The systems include windows that open both upwards and outwards and which can of course be fully closed at night or in inclement weather. The balcony is built directly onto the lowest part of the roof and will be enclosed with railings.
The large windows allow loads of natural light into the loft and this type of installation can also be used as an emergency exit.
Rooftop balconies can only be built on a flat roof so access from a loft conversion would have to be onto a flat second story roof.
If your property includes a flat roof adjacent to the new loft room then of course it would be very easy to provide an exit to the flat roof and to build a ‘balcony’ area on the flat roof.
Unfortunately, of course we are not all blessed with such a convenient solution so a window balcony system will usually be the best option for most of us when converting the loft.
When to add a balcony
A bedroom or living room loft conversion will benefit massively by adding a balcony to the design. What could be better on a summer morning taking breakfast on the balcony or, later in the day, sharing a bottle of wine whilst the rest of the world scurries around below you?
It is important though to make sure you include the balcony in your initial discussions with your builder. You don’t want to spring it on them halfway through the build.
How much does a loft conversion balcony cost?
Unsurprisingly these systems aren’t cheap. But there is no one size fits all price either. You will certainly be looking at adding a few thousand pounds to the cost of the conversion and possibly as much as increasing your budget by up to £6000 if you wish to install a window system. But you do need to ask your builder for a more accurate quote.
Do I need planning permission for a loft conversion with a balcony?
Most loft conversions won’t require planning permission. But one of the obvious reasons people enjoy adding a balcony to their project is that they can enjoy sitting out. And of course, when you sit out from a vantage point on the roof, you’ll get great views.
But, if you have them, you’ll be overlooking your neighbours. And they aren’t going to be too happy with you being able to see into their home and garden.
Because of this it’s highly likely that planning permission will be required and that it is likely to be refused. If you don’t have neighbours who will be impacted by a balcony you may be OK when applying for planning permission.
If you hadn’t previously thought about a loft conversion with a balcony, I would strongly suggest you do so as this would not only add greatly to your enjoyment of your new loft conversion but will also add value and desirability to the property, should you wish to sell in the future.
Of course, not every property will be suitable and do bear in mind that adding a balcony will probably mean you have to apply for planning permission. And, if you will be overlooking your neighbours, you’re going to have to be very convincing to obtain planning permission. The odds are very much against it.
Finally, if you are thinking about a balcony make sure the builders you ask to quote for your loft conversion are experienced in adding balconies. Not all builders will have done this kind of job in the past so make sure they offer the service.
If your builder can install balconies, insist on seeing evidence in the form of testimonials and visit the properties where the work has been carried out. Don’t worry about asking for this as any reputable builder will have customers who are only too happy to endorse and show off their work.