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The Pros and Cons of Fibreglass Balconies

The Pros and Cons of Fibreglass Balconies

Exterior renovationsThe Pros and Cons of Fibreglass Balconies

Balcony decking is as abundant as it is diverse. While wood ranks amongst the top favourites, fibreglass isn’t far behind, quickly gaining popularity. 

Naturally, fibreglass balconies aren’t for everyone. Luckily, we’re here to outline the advantages and downsides of using this material on an outdoor structure. 

Advantages of a Fibreglass Balcony

Balcon Expert’s Dave Dufour mentioned this material's top perks: its low maintenance, resistance, and service life spanning 20-25 years.  

balcon en fibre de verre

Wide Array of Models and Colours

From square one, note that there are several fibreglass balcony models, making it a universally appealing choice. Furthermore, this material retails in a wide array of colours. 

On that note, keep in mind that you can also opt for a granite-like finish, which could appeal to those who like a more modern look. Based on your needs, you can also choose the level of adhesivity you’d like your balcony surface to possess for more or less smooth flooring. 

Low Maintenance

Those who opt for a fibreglass balcony very much appreciate that they don’t need to paint it repeatedly over the course of its service life. For wood enthusiasts, note that numerous companies offer faux wood fibreglass flooring. As such, you can benefit from the look of the material while dodging the sheer amount of maintenance that comes with it. 

Moreover, fibreglass is insect-resistant, which is also a contributing factor to its 20 or so-year lifespan. 

Highly Resistant

Furthermore, since fibreglass is robust, it can withstand almost all weather conditions. Besides, this material offers unparalleled protection against freeze, fire, corrosion, and ultraviolet rays. Therefore, even prolonged exposure to sunlight won’t affect its shape or colour. Fibreglass is also completely waterproof, meaning you can set up a makeshift storage unit beneath your balcony, shielding the space from rain, snow, and wind. 

Easy Installation

Another perk in its favour: A fibreglass balcony is especially easy to install. Since the balcony comes as a single unit, there aren’t numerous pieces to assemble to make it whole. 

It’s also important to note that fibreglass is eco-friendly since it’s 100% recyclable. Using this type of material for construction projects limits its environmental impact. 

Worth the Money

Lastly, keep in mind that a fibreglass balcony has an outstanding value for money factor. Although it’s typically a bit more expensive than a treated lumber balcony, its service life is longer, making it a more valuable long-term choice. Dufour estimated its cost at $15/sq.ft. 

Downsides of a Fibreglass Balcony

Now that we’ve gone over the surprising benefits of fibreglass balconies, we have to outline other factors to consider.

balcon en fibre de verre

Its Weight

Albeit fibreglass is relatively lightweight, it’s still heavier than most of its wood or aluminum counterparts. Due to the load discrepancy, not all structures can accommodate this type of balcony since the underlying structure must be capable of bearing the additional weight from the fibreglass. 

Winter Hazards and Summer Discomforts

Even with an elevated adhesivity level during wintertime, a hefty amount of snow will render the surface slippery and likely cause falls. Therefore, it’s advised to spread sand or salt on the balcony’s surface during winter. 

During summertime, if your fibreglass balcony is exposed to excessive sunlight, steer clear of dark colours, as it’ll attract more heat. When exposed to sunshine, its composition resembles metal, which can render the surface extremely warm, thus potentially uncomfortable. 

Stain-Prone Surface

Since this material can stain from different substances lingering on its surface for extended periods, shifting around any items on the balcony’s flooring is best. Also, beware of metallic objects, as they can quickly stain fibreglass decking. 

Fallouts from exposure to the outdoors

While fibreglass is impermeable when faced with almost all hazardous elements found outdoors, it may be vulnerable to mould. Let it also be said that it’s subject to scratching, bumps, and nicks if not cared for properly. Intense heat exposure can also, over the long run, cause the fibreglass to contract, resulting in surface cracks.

How to Clean and Repair a Fibreglass Balcony

maison

As far as maintenance goes, to preserve a fibreglass balcony, note that it doesn’t require any specific care to keep it looking new other than a good wipe-down with water and soap. Scrub it down with a soft-bristled brush. Using a wire brush is advised against, as the metal bristles scrubbing against the fibreglass surface can lead to rusting. 

If you notice any cracks, regardless of their cause, repair them as soon as possible by filling the gaps with a tow fibre or wads. If water infiltrates the structure, it could lead to additional fissures and potentially result in the complete shattering of the balcony. 

Real estate project developers often include fibreglass balconies in their condo tower designs since they’re durable, cheap in terms of maintenance, and budget-friendly, especially when building numerous balconies. 

Pros 

Cons

  • Available in a lot of different models
  • Lightweight
  • Available in a wide array of colours
  • Very robust
  • Its surface doesn’t require a coat of paint
  • Insect-, freeze-, fire-, corrosion-, and UV ray-resistant
  • Great value for money
  • Heavier than wood (doesn’t suit all structures)
  • Mould-prone
  • It may be slippery when snow-covered
  • Dark-coloured surfaces can get quite warm
  • May crack under extended sunlight exposure
  • When cracked, it must be repaired immediately

Want to learn more about fibreglass? Check out our article all about it (in French only).

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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