What Is a Cantilevered Balcony?

A balcony can always provide extra space, whether you own a spacious bungalow in the suburbs or a tiny apartment in a populated city.

The versatility of the balcony makes it a unique structure to place in homes. Apart from that, the numerous structural options also make balconies interesting for outdoor aesthetics.

One of the most popular and versatile balcony structures is a cantilevered balcony. Cantilevered balconies have a unique structure and mechanism that holds the balcony.

However, despite their widespread inclusion in apartment buildings, these balconies are controversial in terms of the structure’s safety.

In this post, we will discuss what cantilevered balconies are, what safety concerns you must be aware of, and how you can decorate and design the space for your house.

What Are Cantilevered Balconies?

A cantilevered balcony is an extension of the horizontal structure of a house without any vertical support or pillars underneath.

Such balconies rely on the cantilever structure to hold them afloat without collapsing due to a lack of support.

A cantilever structure consists of a projecting beam supported on one end, whereas the other has no structural support, a common design used for bridges.

The joists used in the framing of the balcony are considered the most important element of the structure as they hold most of the weight on the horizontal surface.

Hence, the joists’ length matters the most in stabilizing a balcony structure.

A cantilevered balcony extended far out can have the chance of bouncing, whereas the balcony space isn’t ideal for practical use if the structure is too close to the projecting beam.

Why Are Cantilevered Balconies Popular?

The reason for the widespread popularity of cantilevered balconies is their aesthetics from the outdoors.

There are no supports visibly hanging from a cantilevered balcony, both underneath or above.

Therefore, the balconies appear clean. This feature adds to the visual appeal of a building, making it seem less messy structurally.

Another use of a cantilevered balcony is for shading. In apartment buildings where homes are mostly rentals, it’s seldom possible for tenants to make structural changes necessary for easy living.

Since cantilever balconies already provide shade to the structures underneath, additional shading isn’t required, saving costs and trouble for the tenants.

Common Safety Concerns Regarding Cantilevered Balconies

Although cantilevered balconies are the most well-liked structures to build for construction workers, the safety concerns of these balconies make them controversial.

The state provides strict guidelines that construction workers must follow regarding cantilevered balconies.

These guidelines ensure the structure’s safety for people who will use the balcony space in the future.

One of the reasons for the safety of cantilevered balconies is the material used for the joists.

Joists are mainly constructed from wood, and construction workers mostly try to use hardwood to maintain rigidity.

However, pine is another common wood used for this purpose, but it’s soft in nature resulting in more flexibility and cracking.

Another reason for the disputed views regarding the cantilevered balconies is merely their structure.

The lack of support can often make the structure more prone to bouncing if an incredible amount of weight is placed on the deck.

Apart from that, the extension of the deck must also be to a certain length, or else the structure can become bouncy.

Here are some other concerns regarding the use of cantilevered balconies in homes:

  • During construction, timber frames are often exposed to environmental elements long before they’re finished. The exposure may result in fungal growth and rot, eventually weakening frames.
  • Using steel in cantilever structures can cause the structure to corrode several times. Especially if you’re residing closer to coastal lines, the environmental elements can severely damage the structure. Such issues can result in the collapse of cantilevered balconies.
  • Another safety concern regarding cantilevered balconies is the improper framing. The gaps within the joists help absorb vibration from the deck’s weight. The structure can become bouncy or bent if the framing lacks these crucial gaps.
  • The floors that cantilevered balconies are attached also play an essential role in upholding the structure. Thin floorings can often not hold the extended structure. As a result, the chances of collapse increase.
  • In some apartment buildings, balconies are used for draining pipes. The dampness can severely damage the structure regardless of the material used.

These safety concerns, additional hand railing incidents, and debris from the collapse of a structure above make cantilevered balconies controversial.

Numerous incidents are reported each year concerning the lack of seriousness in following strict guidelines issued by the state.

Hence, a thorough inspection to identify potential risks and possible solutions is a great idea if you have a cantilevered balcony in your apartment.

Trending Cantilevered Balconies Design Ideas

Once you have ensured that your balcony has no potential threats, it’s time to enjoy your cantilevered balcony space.

However, your balcony may need some serious design updates to do so. Cantilevered balconies are versatile structures and can be designed in numerous ways.

Here, we share some of the common design ideas for cantilevered balconies.

Some ideas are replicable, whereas other ideas may need some construction work and inspection to reduce the risk of collapse.

Infinity Pools

Cantilevered balconies are the best structures for constructing infinity pools.

The absence of another structure underneath makes the water spill from one pool and easily flow into another pool.

The design is quite common in large complexes and hotels that mainly have tourists residing for a while.

The deck design and structure may differ from the traditional cantilevered balconies as the pools require immense support.

The structure must support the weight of water used in pools and people using the area.

Mini Garden

A mini garden is the easiest and most common design idea for a cantilevered balcony.

The space of the balcony extended from the home is perfect for setting up potted plants of different kinds.

Since cantilevered balconies are designed to provide shade, indoor plants requiring less sunshine would thrive best in such environments.

The garden space could look welcoming whether you want to plant using a vertical frame or line the pots along the railing.

Pair it up with climbers on the railing and a gorgeous neon sign on one of the walls to add warmth to the space.

The greenery from the garden would add aesthetic appeal to the structure for people viewing from the outside while imparting comfort to the people residing in the apartment.

Mini Playground

This idea is a bit unconventional but fun. Especially if you have toddlers running around the house, setting up a mini playground for them can keep them busy without causing a mess around any other room. The idea can work even well in enclosed balconies.

To set up a mini playground, there are numerous ideas you can follow. A plastic slide with plastic balls all around the deck can be a fun activity and fairly cheap to set up.

You can also add a plastic pool at the end of the slide instead of balls for some summertime fun.

You can also set up a foosball table and other board games for an adult’s fun evening. This way, one could have something to look forward to after a tiring workday.

Mini Bistro

Setting up a mini bistro is easier than any other idea. Buy bistro tables and chairs from your favorite furniture shop and enjoy some coffee or drinks at the table.

You can watch the sunrise or sunset with your significant other while sipping morning coffees or evening margaritas.

The table can also work perfectly as a workstation, especially if you’re bored of the usual space.

Comfort Corner

The most fun idea on the list to transform your cantilevered balcony into a perfectly designed space is a comfortable corner.

There are no particular items to create a comfort corner, as comfort looks different to different people.

The furniture ideas depend upon your style and your usual practices for seeking comfort.

If you like to curl up with a good book in a relaxed environment, you can set up a mini bookshelf with scented candles atop.

Have a hammock with a fluffy knitted blanket or get your most comfy chair on the side of the bookshelf and enjoy your time. You can also use the same setup for effective journaling.

A yoga setup will work best for your comfort corner if you seek comfort in stretching your body.

Grab a yoga mat and some sound equipment to help your yoga become a relaxing meditative process. The same setup can work well for visualization activities and breathwork.

To Sum It Up!

Cantilevered balconies are widespread due to their easy construction and clean aesthetics.

Despite their popularity, these structures have safety concerns that construction workers must keep in mind.

To ensure that your cantilevered balcony space is safe, you can always call inspection services from construction companies or independent home inspectors.

The structure of cantilevered balconies allows the implementation of several design ideas. Whatever idea you choose, ensure that it’s reflective of your needs and style.

We hope the article has imparted some effective design ideas and helps you make informed decisions when choosing a home with a cantilevered balcony.

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