The low pound is hitting foreign holidays, with many people opting to spend their money instead on home improvements. Adding a new balcony is the hot option this summer. There is a wide range of designs on the market, but innovative designs are now making the high-end styles much more affordable.
In fact the design of glass balconies has hardly changed in a century, since frameless glass first became available. But this year’s new look is the result of an engineering breakthrough that does away with the need for upright pillars in most cases. A major benefit is that the new design doesn’t require expensive structural glass.
The new system, from Surrey balustrade specialists Balconette, is called HYBRID®. It offers wide-open views at wallet-friendly prices. The HYBRID® design enables wide runs of glass with no, or few, vertical posts. It is easy to install, and the lower cost brings the very high-end look into range for many projects for the first time.
“People buy a glass balcony to enjoy the view, not look at a row of metal posts. Fully frameless glass gives great views, but is expensive and requires complex structural fittings” says Balconette’s CEO Effi Wolff. “The HYBRID® category offers the uninterrupted views of structural glass but at around half the cost”.
The innovative engineering design at the heart of HYBRID® uses invisible bracing within an elegant self-supporting handrail. It has excellent structural integrity but needs few, if any, vertical supports.
Runs of up to 4-metres are now possible without vertical supports – and where the balcony turns a corner or is curved the postless spans can be even longer. A three-sided balustrade square can have 12 metres without posts. In place of the extensive footings usually required for structural glass, HYBRID® balustrades use slim surface-mounting which is easy for builders and even DIYers to install.
“We went back to the drawing-board with balustrade design” continues Wolff. “The HYBRID® category makes wide, open glass balustrades possible at a cost similar to old systems requiring a metal post every metre.
“Builders & developers tell us they love the ease of installation, and architects say it gives them a practical alternative to structural glass, with the same clean lines. Homeowners are effectively getting the most expensive style at half price.”
Handrails for the HYBRID® system come in two styles: Orbit and Aerofoil. The Orbit handrail has a circular profile and allows for up to 3.3m runs without posts when attached either side to a wall or structural element. The Aerofoil handrail provides the longest post-free spans of up to 4m without posts. Both systems include panels of 10mm toughened glass, which can be produced in a variety of tint options including the standard clear, and customised blue, grey, bronze, green, and satinised (opaque).
About one in ten new urban properties now have a balcony, and online estate agent Zoopla say they are featured on 7% of properties on their books. Glass-walled designs are a clear favourite.
For more information and downloadable images, go to: www.hybrid.balconette.co.uk/press
Balconette is the trading name of BALCONY SYSTEMS SOLUTIONS LTD, based in Blindley Heath, Surrey. The company was established in 2009 and manufactures and supplies Glass Balustrades, Glass Juliet balconies, Curved Glazing and Composite Decking.