A balcony is often called a floating patio because it offers you an outdoor space that is cozier and more private.
It’s the perfect space to lean on the railing with a cup of hot coffee and enjoy the weather.
After a tiring day of work, relaxing on a sofa seat on your balcony is probably the only thing you can think about to relieve stress.
Your balcony offers this magical experience and much more. You get unparalleled views, crisp air, and the autumn landscape bursting with warm colors.
However, winter is coming, and the picture we just painted might get ruined by the thick sheet of snow on your balcony.
Though a balcony is less spacious than its downstairs cousin, it is where you take your laptop to work in peace.
So, if you don’t want to give up this space to snow, we recommend taking a few steps to make it cold-proof.
The easiest way to winterize your balcony is to enclose the space. This job might be time-consuming. However, it is less costly than the other options.
Before we talk about them, let’s take a look at the obstacles winter brings with it:
- Standing ice and snow (Can cause slips and falls)
- Reduced sunlight
- Colder temperatures
Standing ice and snow can cause slips and falls, reduced sunlight can lead to mold developing on furniture because the cloth covers are constantly wet, and cold temperatures can damage your balcony.
Simply put, it will get hella cold and make even standing for a few minutes on your balcony difficult!
Enclose Your Balcony
One of the best ways to winterize your balcony is to shield it from the cold. This task might sound daunting, but it’s an easy task you can accomplish on your own.
The only two items you need are a sheet and waterproof tape.
You can also hang waterproof curtains and tape them in place. There are multiple options to choose from but first, let’s find it if enclosing your balcony is a good option or not:
- Allows you to keep your plants on the balcony and the furniture uncovered
- Protects against wind
- Non-intrusive, cheap, and easy
- Visually unappealing
- A flimsy material might reduce how effectively it limits the cold
- Limits the kind of heater you can use
- Fully enclosing the balcony will inhibit airflow
- If you are renting, your landlord might not allow you to make this change, even though it’s temporary
While the cons outweigh the pros, this option is still worth considering. On one end, it gives you a cozy space to enjoy the outdoors while remaining indoors.
On the other hand, if you or a loved one smokes on the balcony, it will ruin the experience.
Seal the Sheet Using Heavy-Duty Tape
Waterproof tape resists snow, sunshine, and rain. You can use it to connect the sheets that cover your balcony.
Make sure to overlap the sheets by an inch or two to prevent them from blowing open.
Use heavy-duty tape first to secure the sheet from the top and let it fall over the balcony.
Layer the tape three to four times so that when you push on it to clean a crease-less screen, it doesn’t give away from the top.
If it constantly snows in your area, you need to secure the bottom of the sheet similarly. The tighter the seal, the more the sheet will limit the wind.
However, you will notice that once you have taped the sheet from all sides, there’s no proper ventilation or airflow.
This taped sheet will make the inside humid and foggy, damaging the furniture and making the space suffocating.
When sealing the bottom of the sheet, leave 6” of untapped space after every foot. This space will allow air in from the underside.
Don’t worry about snow or rain slipping through the gap because it will be too small.
Remember: With no ventilation, you will see condensation on the sheet. Condensation build-up can rust the furniture and make the air feel gross and the ground wet.
Balcony Enclosure Materials
From a simple plastic sheet to waterproof curtains, plexiglass, and more, there are plenty of materials you can use to winterize your balcony. Let’s take a look at the best options:
|Clear PVC Tarp||4/5||$$|
Plexiglass is the most effective material in limiting the cold. However, it’s the most expensive option and should be installed by a professional.
Glaze Your Balcony
As we mentioned earlier, a waterproof sheet doesn’t exactly make your balcony look welcoming. If this is your main concern, you can glaze your balcony.
However, keep in mind that this is a permanent solution.
Cold glazing uses a layer of lightweight frame and glass. It does not hold much heat, and homeowners usually install it when they just want to protect the balcony from outside elements.
On the other hand, warm glazing offers better results. It involves a window with double-glazed glass and a double-sealed frame that blocks cold effectively.
Nowadays, you can buy sliding windows with a glaze that offers ventilation and flexibility.
Such windows are easy to clean and can withstand high cold temperatures. You will need a professional to install these windows because they are hard to handle.
Get a heater
You can get a chimenea fireplace if looks don’t matter to you. They come in different sizes, so you are bound to find the right one for your balcony.
You are probably wondering how effective a heater will be in an open space like a balcony, right?
Well, the purpose of a heater is not to heat the space but for you.
It will mitigate the cold, and sitting close to it will keep you warm, no matter how cold the weather gets outside. However, this option will not suit your balcony furniture and plants.
Check with the HOA before buying any type of fireplace setup. For example, you might be allowed to use propane heaters but not wood-burning ones to prevent a fire.
Use Tabletop and Portable Heaters
If you are worried about destroying your balcony’s aesthetic appeal, you can get a tabletop or portable heater. Using heaters is simpler and more affordable than the options mentioned above.
If you have children or pets, we recommend buying a tabletop heater instead of a floor heater, so they don’t accidentally knock it over.
Keep in mind that tabletop heaters offer less heat than floor heaters. The latter option is better if you have more than four people living in your house.
Here are a few recommendations for tabletop and portable heaters:
- Burlington Outdoor Fire Pit by Endless Summer
- Wave Tabletop Fire Bowl by Terra Flame
- Bonfire Balcony Fire Pit by Solo Stove
- Balcony Fire Pit Table by Best Choice Products
- Elfida Fire Pit Column by All Modern
- 893 Deluxe Fire Pit by Outland Living
- Haiti Fire Bowl by Cook King
Add Floor Heating
If you still feel the balcony is cold, one last thing you can try is adding floor heating. Though, this is an expensive option because of the installation process.
The good thing about floor heating is that you can even lie down on the floor. You can even create a cozy balcony nook, a picture you might have seen on Pinterest.
However, keep in mind that this option will increase your energy bill.
Floor heating will prevent snow and ice from accumulating on the balcony floor.
If this turns out to be out of your budget, you can go for radiant floor heating cables or mats, which you can install beneath pavers and stones.
Cover Your Furniture
If you plan to keep your balcony open in winter and use a heater for warmth, you need to cover the furniture when not using it.
Drape waterproof sheets over everything that can get wet. In winter, furniture takes time to dry, which creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
Moreover, the intense heat can discolor your furniture and cause cracks.
Maintain Your Space
With the balcony open, you will need to maintain the space. You will need three supplies to remove ice: A small hammer, an ice scraper, and a 5-gallon bucket.
Make sure to wear slip-resistant footwear if the surface is slippery and requires you to break the ice with a hammer.
With the proper materials, you can enclose your balcony easily. Using waterproof sheets and tape is a quick way to winterize the space.
However, this might make it difficult for you to use a heater because it can be a fire hazard.
In conclusion, using a heavy sheet and securing it with waterproof tape will keep the wind and cold at bay.
However, the final result will not be appealing. If you have room in your budget, you can glaze the balcony instead by installing sliding double-glazed windows with double seals in the frames.