The Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Balconies
Last modified: 2019/01/10 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
Patented in the 1930s, exactly 30 years before fibre optic materials, fibreglass use has become widespread in the past few decades- which has caused a true revolution in the glass industry. Due to the rigorous manufacturing process that this material entails, it is made to be exceptionally durable. Therefore, fibreglass is often favoured for a balcony or rooftop, this feature will add some serious value to your home and is often employed for its mechanical functions and optical features.
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
Pros of fibreglass as a material for a balcony
Fibreglass is available in a wide variety of models and colours, 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 but it has many other benefits that we’re here to tell you about. As mentioned in our introduction, this material is exceptionally durable. It is very robust, and as a result, it stands up to almost all weather conditions.
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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Another major benefit of fibreglass balconies is that this surface does not need to be painted or treated on a regular basis. This material is almost maintenance free. It’s a non-porous material and therefore, resists stains. Further, it does not require any specific care methods to keep it looking good as new. Not only this, but fibreglass is resistant to bug infestations, helping it to maintain a lifespan of up to 20 years.
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. This is an excellent alternative for people who like the look of wood, but can’t necessarily afford the price point. Certain companies offer wood imitation fibreglass that recreates the look of wood without requiring the same level of maintenance. 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.
Cons of fibreglass
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. 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 and thus makes it so that a 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
As we mentioned in our pro-fibreglass points, cleaning a fibreglass balcony is fairly easy. In most cases, a rag and a little bit of liquid soap will do the trick, allowing the balcony to develop a new sheen once it’s been cleaned.
If you’re looking for a deep cleaning technique, using a soft bristled brush should be very efficient. However, try to avoid metallic brushes as the friction caused by the metal may create opportunities for rust to settle in. The same goes during the winter: leaving metal objects on your balcony could lead to the appearance of rust.
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. However, maintaining this surface may still come down to you, so it would be recommended that you treat it like it's your own.
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