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Easily Winterize Your Apartment Balcony

Easily Winterize Your Apartment Balcony

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.

Pros

  • Cheap, easy, and non-intrusive
  • Protects against wind
  • In warmer climates, you can leave your plants outside

Cons

  • 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.

MaterialStrengthCost
Heavy plastic3/5$
Plexiglass5/5$$$
Clear PVC Tarp4/5$$
Waterproof Curtains4/5$$

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.

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How To Enclose a Balcony for Winter – 8 Easy Steps – Small Balcony Design

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

[…] to Captain Patio, there are four materials that you could choose to enclose your […]

zaineb

Saturday 26th of December 2020

hello i have a balcony in the condo and since its half the size of my bachelor, id like to make use of it. Id like to cover it against the cold and put a heater so that i could use it . would that be possible and is it affordable? thanks !

Cathy

Wednesday 14th of October 2020

I want to put up a wind barrier hanging from my apartment balcony ceiling, was going drill in hooks along the parameter and tie up pieces of plastic on corners and along the length of it, but haven't figured out about the bottom, maybe tie up the curtain to the railing so that it doesn't have to reach the floor.

Was thinking that a "semi permanent solution would be best...like some kind of prefab "tent" that is covered in a clear plastic so that the neighbour's views to the sun on one side is not going to disappear due to this change.

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Wednesday 29th of July 2020

[…] determining if it will fit your outdoor space. Overall, this can be a great addition to your small apartment patio or balcony and has the added benefit of stowing away […]

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Monday 20th of July 2020

[…] completely winterizing your balcony, you can extend the life of your balcony by months if you purchase the right heater. And the […]

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