What is a bolt-on balcony?

What is a bolt-on balcony?

Posted by Pedro L. Sanchez on Apr 5th 2022

A bolt-on balcony is a prefabricated balcony that bolts onto the exterior wall of a building. 

However, to understand what a bolt-on balcony is, we must first define a balcony or a traditional balcony.

A balcony is an enclosed platform that sits on the upper levels, outside the building baseline and exterior walls, and allows the occupants to step outside and enjoy the outdoors.

How is a balcony designed and built?

Balconies are drawn on the floor plan sheet and the framing plan sheet as an extension of the floor, showing its area and the lines of the railings. The Elevations sheet describes the railing materials, design, and looks. The building sections sheets provide more framing and railings details and structural details. Using this information, the contractor can build, first, the balcony platform out of wood or concrete and then order the railings from a railing manufacturer.

What happens if the house is already built and the owner wants to add a balcony?

In that case, the contractor has to remove the window and make an opening to the width of the projected balcony; and install wood rafters by attaching them to the wood trusses, provided they are oriented to the outside wall.

If the wood trusses run in the wrong direction, the contractor must remove them and significantly modify the house framing.

Of course, both of these options are very, very expensive.

The building code requires the balcony beams to be at least two widths of the balcony inside the building and well secured to the structure. In other words, if it is a 4 ft balcony, you need to install 12 ft beams positioned with 8 ft inside the building line.

After all that, the contractor has to frame up the balcony base from the outside, using aerial equipment or scaffoldings.

Then the waterproofing contractor needs to intervene to ensure there is no future water intrusion.

Of course, most people flip when they hear the enormous cost involved and abandon the project.

In other words, if you don’t plan it on time, forget about it.

But wait, there is a solution; you can buy a bolt-on Dec-Iron balcony from The Balcony Company and install it right against the wall.

Either if you conceived the balcony idea before or after the drawings and design process is finished; and even if the house is already up and occupied, you can install one of our bolt-on- balconies, at a reasonable cost, with minimal demolition and wall modification; and with no floor removal or major framing redesign and replacement.

What types of bolt-on balconies are there?

We recognize three types of bolt-on balconies; true balconies, faux balconies, and guardrail balconies.

What is a True Balcony?

True balconies serve the entire purpose of a regular balcony by providing people means to step outside of the building.

A depth of 2 ft is needed to be called a true balcony. Two feet in depth allow people to stand outside comfortably.

What are the options?

You can choose from 2, 3, or 4 ft deep by virtually any width using our online tools. In addition, we have many models, colors, and platform choices. And finally, you can order most of them on stainless steel or regular steel.

If you require more than 4 feet in depth, we provide steel posts that must safely attach to the structure.

What is a Faux Balcony?

We call faux to bolt-on balconies up to 18” in depth. The balcony base is not meant for human traffic but planters only.

This does not mean that they are unsafe if someone decides to step on them. That is because we provide enough structure capacity for the balcony. Also, being very close to the wall, the live load does not impose much momentum. In addition to that, the railings are code compliant in every way.

What is a guardrail balcony?

It is a safety railing with no base installed to a French door from the outside of the wall.

Some people are not interested in either stepping outside or putting planters. Instead, they want a french door facing the scenery.

In such a case, for safety, a guardrail balcony must be installed from the outside and bolted onto the wall.

How to get a bolt-on balcony?

Go to and find the model you like and the size you need, and order it online to be shipped within four to six weeks.

If you don’t find the size you need, please use the “add inches” tool, where you can customize your balcony width to the inch.

We offer free shipping to the closest FedEx location and door-to-door service for a reasonable flat fee.

Framing instructions

Please download the permit engineering data file by clicking on the “information and downloads” tabs and selecting downloads. This file contains all the information your engineer needs to engineer your wall or the city to grant you a permit.

You can place the order online or go through getting a quote by filling out the estimate request form published on the site.


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