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The Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Balconies

Last modified: 2020-04-23 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

Balcony materials are as numerous as they are diverse. If wood is still a favourite, fibreglass is losing no time to make its mark while gaining in popularity.

Of course, a fibreglass balcony isn’t going to be right for everyone. Luckily, we’re here to go over the pros and cons of using this material for an outdoor structure.

Here are the pros and cons of owning a fibreglass balcony

Resistance, durability and simplicity

balcon en fibre de verre_Soumission Rénovation

Fibreglass is available in a wide variety of models, making it an accessible material for almost all tastes. In general, fibreglass is mostly known for the fact that it is light in terms of weight. Moreover, this material is available in a large variety of colours. In that respect, it's worth mentioning that it's even possible to choose a matte finish imitating granite, which will definitely be pleasant for those who like modern looks. Besides, because it is robust, it stands up to almost all weather conditions.

Those who opt for a fibreglass balcony greatly appreciated not having to paint it many times during its lifetime. For wood amateurs, it's good to know that certain companies offer wood imitation fibreglass that recreates the look of wood without requiring the same level of maintenance. This allows consumers to benefit from his particular look, while also avoiding all the maintenance that comes with it. In addition, fibreglass is resistant to bug infestations, helping it to maintain a lifespan of up to 20 years.

On the other hand, fibreglass offers excellent protection against frost, fire, corrosion and UV rays, therefore an extended exposure to sunlight will not affect it’s colour or warp its shape. It’s also waterproof, which means that this material can be used for storage furniture and structures which will be protected against rain, snow and wind.

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It's also possible to choose the adhesion level of the balcony’s surface, in order to make it more or less smooth, according to your needs. Another major benefit of fibreglass balconies is that it's really easy to install. Indeed, because the balcony is sold in one piece, its installation does not require to assemble a large number of pieces. Aside from all the structural benefits, fibreglass is an eco-friendly material, as it is 100% recyclable. Using this material in construction projects helps to alleviate strain from the environment.

Lastly, fibreglass is an exceptionally affordable material, offering exceptional value for your money.  Even if its price point is higher than a treated wood balcony, the life expectancy makes it a good investment in the long run.

Cons of fibreglass

balcon en fibre de verre_Soumission Rénovation

Now, although we’ve gone over the exceptional benefits of a fibreglass balcony, there are of course some other major considerations. Although fibreglass is quite lightweight, it’s still heavier than its wood or aluminum counterparts. For this reason, it may not be a possibility as a balcony material in every home, as the supporting structure will need to withstand the amount of weight it will create.

Moreover, although fibreglass is impermeable to most harmful elements of the outdoors, it can be susceptible to mould. This surface can withstand quite a lot, but it should also be mentioned that it’s prone to scratches, dents and chips if it is poorly treated.

During the winter, even when the surface has a high level of adhesiveness, large quantities of snow can make it slippery and susceptible to falls. This is why it's recommended to put sand or salt on the balcony surface during winter.

As this material can also stain if elements remain permanently on its surface, it is recommended to move objects from time to time. Also beware of metal objects, which can stain the fibreglass coating quite quickly.

During the summer, if your fibreglass balcony is subject to a lot of sunlight, it’s recommended that you avoid dark colours as they attract heat. It is composed of materials that are similar to metal, which means that prolonged exposure to sunlight can make the surface very hot and therefore, potentially uncomfortable. In the long run, exposure to extreme heat can also cause glass contractions which can lead to cracks in the surface.

Fibreglass balcony maintenance

maison_Soumission Rénovation_house_fiberglass balcony

Concerning the maintenance required by a fibreglass balcony, note that it does not need any particular care to be preserved as new, apart from a good cleaning with a rag and a little bit of liquid soap. Let's specify that you should use a soft-bristled brush. However, try to avoid metallic brushes as the friction caused by the metal may create opportunities for rust to settle in.

If a crack occurs, whatever the cause, it is important to fix it by filling the crevices as soon as possible. If you wait too long, water infiltrations will cause more cracks and the whole balcony could collapse in the long-run. This is obviously something you should actively work to avoid.

Real estate developers often include fibreglass balconies on their condo buildings, since they are durable, cost very little in terms of maintenance and are quite inexpensive, especially when multiple balconies are being built. 

Pros Cons
  • Available in many models
  • Light in terms of weight
  • Available in a large number of colours
  • Very robust
  • Doesn't need paint on its surface
  • Resist really well to insects, frost, fire, corrosion and UV rays
  • Offers good value for money
  • Heavier than wood (therefore, it's not suitable for all types of structures
  • Vulnerable to mould
  • Can be very slippery in winter
  • Can be very hot if the colour of the balcony is dark
  • Vulnerable to cracks if exposed too long to UV rays
  • Crevices need to be fixed quickly

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