When it storms and rains outside, one is, of course, happy to sit in a warm living room and watch the wind spectacle through thick windows. But as soon as the sun comes out again and the temperatures climb up, one would like to exchange the safe armchair for a place in the fresh air. But many apartments and houses do not have the luxury of a balcony, conservatory or terrace. Therefore this point stands with a house renovation and/or a dwelling modernization right at the top of the wish list. With an old building reorganization it is meanwhile standard that a balcony is attached on the yard side. Such a free seat increases not only the living space and increases the living quality, but also the real estate can be revalued thereby, above all in the densely packed dwelling of a city.
Outside area enhances the value of the property
Of course, not every building or garden is suitable for retrofitting a winter garden, terrace or balcony. But now there are many different approaches and systems that allow you to design your own conservatory, balcony or terrace. A prerequisite for this is sufficient distance to the property boundary, which may only be undercut in special cases. Partly also the Sichtschutz to the neighbours must be ensured. Particularly for roof terraces applies: A safe humidity sealing as well as thermal insulation is necessary to the dwelling lying under it. We have compiled special advantages, requirements and possibilities for you here.
1. terrace & balcony – an open area outdoors
A terrace or balcony is the easiest way to get a permanent place in the sun. This is an open area that is connected to the house and possibly to the garden. Depending on the size, you can set up special garden furniture and plant pots here and spend a lot of time outdoors in summer. The big disadvantage compared to the winter garden: The open area can only be used in good weather and warm temperatures. It lies fallow for half of the year.
a) The most important questions for planning
Before you can create and design a balcony or terrace, you need to clarify basic questions during the planning phase. For example, the location: Where is the best place for the open space? You get the most sun if you face south or west. Unless you want to have breakfast outdoors in the morning, the eastern direction is the best choice. However, you also have to take into account the shade cast by neighbouring trees and houses – this behaves somewhat differently in summer than in winter. For example, a deciduous tree provides pleasant shade in summer and the sun shines through its bare branches in winter. The size and shape of your terrace or balcony should depend on the design and size of your house and the purpose of the open space. Do you want children to be able to play on it or is it more for relaxing hours on the sun lounger? For barbecue fans in particular, an open-air area offers completely new possibilities for exercising their hobbies.
b) Material for the terrace covering
Once you have determined the size, shape and position of your new balcony or terrace, you can proceed with the terrace flooring. Here again there are various possibilities – from wooden terraces to natural stone terrace slabs to plastic flooring. Each material has specific advantages and disadvantages and should be weatherproof as well as not too hot in sunshine. Wooden floorboards and natural stone tiles look particularly elegant, but also need a lot of care. Washed-out concrete plates and plastic covering are rather favorable and fast shifted, show in addition, fast signs of wear. In principle applies: The larger the terrace plates, the calmer the terrace soil works and the more difficult it is to be shifted. Depending on the material and weight, you may need a wooden or concrete substructure for your terrace. For heavy stone slabs, a level gravel bed is sufficient. Only the slight gradient and the drainage grooves for the rainwater must not be forgotten.
c) Protection from wind, sun & curious glances
A terrace or balcony is more than just a free area. Because without the protective walls of a conservatory, the extension is exposed to wind and weather as well as the views of the neighbours. Therefore you should calculate the suitable protection with the planning directly still. Against the crackling sun an awning or a sun sail helps. A parasol is even more flexible. Who wants to save himself the constant opening and closing, can also attach a terrace roofing and has thereby his peace. However, such a roof can also be retrofitted. Curious glances and the wind can be kept at a distance with tall potted plants, a small hedge or bamboo. The privacy screen should save space and not restrict the view into the garden too much. At the same time you do not want to feel constantly observed.
2. winter garden – nature all year round
A winter garden consists mainly of glass and is an extension to your house. Accordingly, the construction is more complex and more expensive than with a terrace. A winter garden allows you to use the room all year round, which in turn has many advantages.
(a) winter use
A conservatory is like an extra room made of glass that allows you to look into the garden at any time of the year. With the installation of sliding or folding doors, you can open the glass construction in summer to let the wind blow around your nose. Otherwise, a professionally erected conservatory is a small climatic miracle, which neither overheats nor starts mould due to a sophisticated ventilation and heating system. Heating is compulsory in winter, whereby the sun heats the room additionally through the large glass front and thus creates a climate buffer to the rest of the living space. So you can use the winter garden also in the winter completely normally, for example for the hibernation of frost-sensitive plants.
b) Protection against mould & overheating
In contrast to a terrace or a balcony, a winter garden counts as additional living space due to its year-round use. Therefore you also need a building permit for the extension. In addition, similar regulations apply to the conservatory as to interiors, for example, an insulated floor panel and the Energy Saving Ordinance for glass roofs and side elements. Due to the large proportion of glass and the location in the middle of the garden, the construction must be particularly well protected against moisture, cold and heat. As in the living room, the room temperature should be constantly above 19 degrees Celsius. In winter separate heating is necessary for this, in summer, however, the glass box must be protected from overheating with a winter garden shade. External sun protection absorbs most of the heat so that neither man nor plant has to sweat. Automatic ventilation ensures regular cooling. Heat-storing wall and floor tiles release excess energy during the cool evening hours.
Winter garden vs. terrace roof vs. balcony roof
Terrace and balcony approach the winter garden with roofing but are still quite different in construction. First of all, all variants extend the living space to the outside and use solar energy to heat the additional surface. However, a terrace roof or balcony roof is an open or partially closed system, while a conservatory is a completely closed and insulated system. This means that a terrace or balcony with a glass roof and side walls still does not meet the requirements for year-round use. The superstructure prevents rain showers, noise and sun rays in summer, but is not sufficiently insulated. Advantage: For roofing no additional ventilation and heating are necessary since the construction lets enough air through. Only a little shading can help against the heat under the glass dome. Disadvantage: Neither plants nor people can spend the winter under glass construction. With a glass roofing of the balcony or a floating winter garden, it is to be considered in addition that the construction brings additional weight with itself, which the balcony must hold.
Safety Tips from a specialist
Winter garden, balcony or terrace – what can it be? In most cases, you don’t have the free choice when renovating a house but have to adapt to the circumstances. But through modern systems and individual solutions, many old houses and apartments can be upgraded with additional space outside. Exact planning and execution by a specialist are important here in order to fulfil statics and climatic requirements. Otherwise, the construction will start to mould or rust after a short time, as it is exposed to strong temperature and humidity fluctuations. During a consultation, we will gladly show you the different possibilities for your new outdoor area – according to your ideas and wishes.