I’ve made no secret of my fondness for apartment balconies in the past. In fact, I treat them like floating patios.
Sure, they may have less overall area than their cousins on the ground. But they also offer nice vistas and the ability to experience the outdoors from high in the air.
Also, like patios, their usability responds greatly to changes in the weather. In fact, the winter months can leave a regular balcony user stuck indoors wishing for warmer months. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like this.
Generally, the best way to winterize your apartment balcony is to enclose the space, add a heater, and ensure adequate airflow and sunlight. You should keep out moisture and cold wind while allowing yourself and your guests the ability to breathe freely.
Let’s take a closer look and see what else we can learn.
First, let’s lay out the different obstacles the winter months bring to your outdoor space:
- Colder temperatures
- Reduced sunlight
- Standing snow and ice
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever experienced the colder months. However, it gives us a pretty good idea of the areas we should focus on to make sure our apartment balcony is winterized.
Simply put, we’ll want to limit how cold it can possibly get and make sure that we can eliminate any standing precipitation from the surfaces. Additionally, we want to make sure our balcony plants can survive the winter or ensure that they’re brought inside.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the winter balcony tips!
Cover Your Furniture
First, you should prepare your furniture for the winter months by covering them when they’re not in use.
If you’re wondering if it’s time to cover your furniture, I wrote a handy guide on how to figure that out here. The only catch here is that you’ll want to uncover the furniture anytime you decide to use the outdoor space.
Additionally, you want to make sure that the underlying furniture is dry when you cover it. Sitting moisture can cause unwelcome mildew and mold.
Enclose Your Balcony
The best winterization option is to completely shield your balcony from the elements. While it may sound like a daunting task, it’s actually quite easy to enclose your balcony in a sheet or insulated drape.
In fact, if you can hang a curtain, you can completely winterize your balcony. We’ll get to the specifics in a moment, but first, let’s decide if completely enclosing your balcony is the correct choice for you.
- Cheap, easy, and non-intrusive
- Protects against wind
- In warmer climates, you can leave your plants outside
- Flimsy material can reduce effectiveness
- Fully enclosing balcony inhibits airflow
- Limits the kind of heater you can use
- Visually unappealing
- May be against terms of your lease
As you can see, it’s not a clear-cut decision.
While easy to set up and good for your outdoor plants, it severely limits the kind of activities you can partake in. For example, if you or your loved ones use the balcony to smoke, it can completely ruin the experience.
If you’re sure that this approach is for you, read on, and let’s explore the kind of materials you can use.
Best Balcony Enclosure Materials
There’s a wide array of different balcony enclosure materials that you can purchase. Heavy plastic, plexiglass, clear PVC tarps, and outdoor waterproof curtains are all great options.
Here they are, laid out with their respective strengths and weaknesses.
|Clear PVC Tarp||4/5||$$|
Now that you’ve protected your balcony from the elements, it’s time to keep you warm! Let’s explore some different heating options.
Add A Space Heater
If you want to winterize your apartment balcony, part of the task will be to keep the temperature up. Unfortunately, keeping yourself warm in the winter months can be a real challenge.
The first step is dressing the part, but the follow-up is to purchase a good outdoor space heater. If you spend any notable amount of time in your outdoor space, it’s worth the investment.
I actually wrote a guide on the best electric heaters for apartment balconies. If you decide to go this route, I recommend you give it a read!
You may be wondering how effective they can possibly be, especially when your balcony is completely exposed to the elements. That’s a great observation!
However, you’re not looking to completely heat the space. You simply want to mitigate the cold with some warmer airflow. Infrared heaters can warm you directly though, so be sure to consider one in your search!
One caveat is that space heaters will do very little to help any outdoor plants you might have. You’ll only be running it while you’re outside, so the plants will still be subject to exposure for the majority of the time.
Keep Your Space Maintained
After you winterize your apartment balcony you’ll have to keep the space maintained. This means responding to inclement weather and removing ice and snow from the balcony.
Without detailing exactly how to remove ice and snow, you should keep the following supplies nearby:
- Ice scraper
- 5-gallon bucket
- A small hammer
These should make sure that you’re never faced with weather that you can’t handle.
Alternatively, you may choose to keep an eye on the weather report and enclose your space only when precipitation is expected.