Balconies, loggias and terraces are always a valuable asset that contribute to living spaces, open spaces and quality of life. But to ensure their enjoyment and practical use for many years to come, you must rely on the tried and tested quality of your balconies. Exactly what constitutes this quality is not easy to answer, as balconies come in many varieties, with different structural designs and construction materials used. But there are many criteria that can be used to measure quality characteristics, and there are decision aids that can help you sort out the best of the many balcony suppliers who offer true quality and reliability. As a guide, here are the 7 most important quality characteristics to consider when choosing a balcony.
Standard No. 1: Technically perfect construction
Balconies are often exposed to intense wind and weather and are therefore a potentially critical thermal bridge. A technically flawless balcony connection that prevents moisture problems from the outset is all the more important. Because thermal bridges not only cause energy losses. In the long term, they can lead to damage to the building fabric, which can only be eliminated with a great deal of effort and high costs. If you neglect this fact, you may end up with a real problem component in the house with the balcony.
Therefore, regardless of whether it is a balcony renovation or a new building – experienced and specially trained companies know how to implement technically flawless constructions. From thermal bridge-free fastening to the right drainage, you have all the details in view. Feel free to ask carefully. Supposed little things like sloping flower box bottoms, which guarantee constant drainage of water, rear-ventilated components, a handrail with integrated water protection or sloping slats, which also prevent permanent moisture in hard-to-reach places, make up the sum of the quality of a balcony.
Standard No. 2: Durability of premium materials
No matter what design you choose for your balcony, it is important to make sure that premium materials are used in its construction. This will ensure its durability and long-term happiness. If you’re considering a wood balcony, it is important to make sure the wood used is of the highest quality, and that it has been treated professionally. Slow-growing cork is a great option for balcony railings, as it is more durable and less likely to warp or crack. Don’t forget to factor in maintenance costs for wood when making your cost-benefit calculation.
Aluminum is a great long-term alternative, which can also be made to look like wood. Aluminum balconies can have a scratch-resistant and water-resistant surface, and a stain-resistant powder coat will help to keep it looking as good as new.
For glass balconies, it is important to use real glass, such as laminated safety glass which consists of two panes held together with a tear-resistant elastic film. This ensures maximum safety, as if one pane is damaged, the other remains intact. Finally, make sure to check the processing details. Concealed screw connections are a sign of good quality, as they prevent blemishes from spoiling the aesthetics.
Standard No. 3: Manufacturing Standards and Safety
After selecting the material, the next step is the production process, which determines the quality of the balcony. Since in most cases you will have little chance of seeing a potential supplier’s production floor, here are some tips on how to go ahead and be able to assess work methods and reliability.
As a first step, visit your potential balcony supplier’s website. In most cases, this speaks volumes about professionalism. Did you find a lot of reference projects? very good! Also check if the supplier is certified according to certain quality standards such as ISO 9001. The same applies to the products he offers. These two certificates represent the permanent and independent quality control passed by the company. A quality award or seal is also a sure sign that the manufacturer is doing the best it knows and believes.
Another argument for taking the advice of a professional when building a new balcony or renovating a balcony is the issue of safety. Besides the aesthetic function, the main task of balcony railings is fall protection. They have to bear a certain load and cannot climb. Therefore, every professional balcony supplier would strongly advise against using common fencing elements as fall protection. What’s more: he knows exactly the minimum height or the allowed distance between railings.
Standard No. 4: Environmental Protection and Sustainability
The topic of sustainability is not only gaining importance throughout society, but also for a growing number of builders. You ask yourself questions like: How environmentally friendly are the building materials used? How can I make an active contribution to climate protection?
If you are environmentally conscious when choosing a balcony, then you should take a closer look at the following criteria: Where does the wood come from? Is it from the local forest? What transport routes does the wood have to travel before it can be processed?
During processing, surface treatment plays an important role in environmental protection – both in terms of the ingredients used and the energy consumption of this processing step. But anyone who deals with the topic of sustainability knows that the CO2 footprint of a product’s entire lifecycle must always be looked at. From this point of view, it makes sense to choose a balcony with a finish that promises long-term durability and long-lasting beauty.
Standard No. 5:Experience and willingness to innovate
Once you’ve settled on a few providers, you should consider two things when making your decision: the experience and innovative strength of your balcony professionals. How to identify these? On the one hand, you’re sure to find reference examples on the website, and maybe even some customer testimonials. The more “best practice” examples shown, the better. You can better understand a potential provider’s work if you capture the before and after with pictures.
But the experience itself isn’t everything. Materials, construction as well as customer wishes are constantly changing. So make sure your supplier is up to date and actually has experience with the type of balcony you want.
StandardNo.6: Full Service
On the one hand, the quality of the balcony can be determined by tangible technical standards. On the other hand, you will only truly enjoy your “outdoor living room” if it is individually adapted to your needs.
So, before you start implementing, listen carefully to the conversation with the balcony provider: did he ask specifically about your living wishes and ideas? According to local conditions? Or is it just about the scope of its services?
Do not forget: the post-production quality of the balcony depends largely on the quality of the advice and planning given by the supplier. After all, no architectural project is unique. Planning and implementation will vary with customer requirements.