Balcony enclosures are an ideal way to make your balcony feel more like an indoor space. Of course, different kinds offer this to different degrees, but this is their general purpose.
In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about balcony enclosures for apartments and go over the pros and cons for each. By the end, you should know which is right for your needs and budget.
What is a Balcony Enclosure?
A balcony enclosure is a frame fitted to the existing balcony structure that converts it more into an indoor balcony. For example, installing a balcony enclosure made of glass panes essentially turns it into a sunroom.
Depending on the material used, apartment balcony enclosures can either turn it into another indoor room or a hybrid space that’s indoors during the colder months but outdoors during the warmer months.
Balcony Enclosures vs. Privacy Screens
The difference between balcony enclosures and privacy screens is that the latter usually keep the balcony as an outdoor space but stop people from seeing in.
Privacy screens will often be mesh, bamboo panels, or something similar. The balcony is still ultimately outdoors but the view is blocked from nosey neighbors.
Of course, you could use a balcony enclosure as a privacy screen by attaching curtains or blinds, but this isn’t its main purpose.
Why Install a Balcony Enclosure?
There are various reasons why you might want to install a balcony enclosure. These include:
- Creating an extra room for your apartment
- Protect from harsher weather (rain, wind, etc.)
- Keep bugs and pests out
- Safety reasons if you have pets or kids
Balcony enclosures can be great for temperature control within the apartment too. For example, if you use glass, it can help to keep your apartment warm in the winter.
If you use canvas or similar material, it can also act as a sunshade in the summer.
Considerations Before Installing a Balcony Enclosure
As with any other structural project, it’s vital to make sure you have the right permissions and have planned things properly.
Check with your HOA before going ahead, as there might be restrictions on what materials you can use, or whether you can even install a balcony enclosure.
The same is true for renters, but you’ll obviously need to check with your landlord or building management company first. You’ll likely have more limited options, but your landlord will probably let you install a temporary structure if it doesn’t leave any marks.
Then, you’ll need to consider cost. Some options will run into the thousands of dollars, while others will be a fairly inexpensive DIY project. Be sure to choose a method that not only matches your budget but also matches your overall style.
Finally, choose whether you want a temporary or permanent option. Glass balcony enclosures often feature opening windows, making them the most flexible choice.
But something like canvas or a fabric screen can be taken down easily when you no longer want it.
Be sure to do plenty of research, and if you’re going for a more expensive option, shop around a few companies to find the best deal.
How to Enclose an Apartment Balcony
Below are some of the most common types of balcony enclosures. Of course, you can adapt them however you want, and some specialist companies will provide plenty of customization options.
Glass Balcony Enclosure
Suitable for renters: No
A glass balcony enclosure essentially turns it into another indoor space for your apartment. Your balcony will basically be a sunroom, which can have massive benefits.
You can get framed or frameless glass enclosures, but the only real difference is appearance.
You can open them just as you would with any window, meaning you can be very flexible with your balcony space depending on the time of year.
- Great for regulating the temperature within your apartment all year round.
- Stylish and modern way to renovate your balcony.
- Plenty of options for designs and looks.
- Could add massive resale value.
- Not suitable for renters.
- Some HOAs might have problems with them.
- The most expensive option.
- Must be installed professionally.
- Cleaning the outside could be difficult.
Canvas/Fabric Balcony Enclosures
Suitable for renters: Yes
A canvas balcony screen enclosure will basically be some canvas stretched over a frame. Alternatively, you could install canvas blinds and then fix them in place at the bottom too.
It’ll be the easiest option for renters because you can do everything yourself and there’s no need to do any invasive DIY work.
Everything could be fixed in place with adhesive hooks, staples, glue, or anything else that doesn’t leave a mark.
- Provides great shade – particularly for south-facing apartments.
- Renters should have no problem installing this option.
- Great DIY project.
- Canvas can be weatherproof, meaning you don’t have to take it down in the rain.
- Not the most attractive option.
- Will block your balcony view.
- Canvas or fabric will need replacing at some point.
- Not a “true” enclosure.
Screen or Netting Enclosures
Suitable for renters: Possibly
Installation: DIY or professional
A screen is one of the easier balcony enclosure ideas to find. You could use screen mesh (like a bug screen) or something a bit more visually pleasing like a patterned screen.
Because this crosses into privacy screens, there are plenty more options available, including professional installation. But, doing it yourself could save money.
Mesh screens would be ideal for use around kids or pets because they’re easy to secure in place, more so than a canvas screen would be.
- Plenty of options available.
- Easy to DIY.
- Can be inexpensive depending on method.
- Still lets a breeze in but keeps bugs out.
- Offers very little weather protection.
- Could make the apartment quite dark.
Balcony enclosures have lots of potential for adapting your apartment. If you’d like a sunroom, a balcony enclosure is probably the best option.
If you’re just looking to add some additional privacy while making your space feel less enclosed, a balcony cover or privacy screen would work better.
Always be sure to check carefully what rules you need to follow, and make sure you pick an option that works with your overall apartment style.