Vulnerable open spaces such as balconies and stairwells, designed as airy extensions of the interior, are a common theme in condominiums and apartment buildings.
Find Out: 13 Inspiring Indoor Balcony Ideas
These inviting and open areas pose a risk to the safety of all building occupants. Thus, tenants and owners are faced with the question of how to prevent tragedies caused by falls from balconies with gaps between safety railings.
One obvious solution is to make them childproof or secure against pets.
While it’s not possible to close all the gaps on your balcony and make it 100% safe, here are some things you can do to protect yourself from sudden or unexpected dangers on your balcony:
- Safety nets
- Glass curtains
- Faux ivy or hedge slats
- Invisible grilles
- Balcony privacy slats
- Adjustable outdoor shades
- Privacy screen
Related: How to Baby Proof Apartment Balcony
1. Safety nets
Dangers, such as unprotected balconies, can make us feel insecure and tense.
After all, there are many situations that can lead to hazards such as slips and falls from great heights.
With the growth of high-rise buildings, many balconies are built on the outer walls of multi-story buildings.
Spending time in a safe place, free from dangers and fears, helps us get rid of tension and fatigue. As more and more people spend their time on the balcony, experts have started to pay attention to the safety of the balcony.
This is where the safety nets and banister guards come into play.
A safety net is a collapsible net that attaches to the balcony railing or parapet and extends outward without obstructing the view.
Related: Child Safety Balcony Railings Guide
Of course, a pet safety net or child safety net is not just to catch you if you fall off your balcony.
Balcony safety nets are primarily designed to prevent balcony dwellers from falling off balconies on windy days or at night, but they serve other purposes as well.
Mezzanines, trampolines, hammocks, stairs, descents, roofs and slides are just some of the ways these safety nets can be used.
2. Glass curtains
From the age of 3 to a few years, young children can quickly break down the doors and windows of most homes. This can become a major problem if you have not taken adequate safety precautions.
If you live on an upper floor with access to balconies, unsupervised children can easily access balconies that do not have safety nets or railings.
For many parents, the joy that comes with curiosity becomes a source of worry when children hang from window sills or balcony ledges and try to reach out and touch their fingers (or worse) to strangers on the floor below.
One solution to these deadly concerns is the installation of retractable glass curtains, carefully designed to enclose balconies without compromising the visual appeal of the space.
These frameless, floor-to-ceiling glass panels can transform your outdoor spaces like patios, decks and solariums into intimate, hidden yet functional living spaces for retreats with friends, family and guests.
Heavy rain, wind damage and protection from traffic noise are added benefits when you can not add safety netting.
Related: Is It Safe to Be on a Balcony During a Thunderstorm?
3. Faux hedge slats
For those who prefer the look of plants and greenery but do not want to bother with real plants, there are artificial plants.
Small plants on a balcony are a great way to add greenery and color to an otherwise drab space.
As a natural privacy screen for balconies and patios, faux ivy and faux hedge slats are a green alternative to fill in gaps on the balcony.
The slats are made from a fuller piece of environmentally friendly material and are available in many different styles.
A roll of fake ivy leaves works well in places where moisture is not a problem.
The similar looking ivy leaves are a good choice for balconies that get a lot of sun, and they do not fade over time.
You can choose from dark green vines to purple plastic lavender that are expandable, depending on your style and the color of your home.
Fake thick hedges or lush vines can be a great addition to your home, giving you the illusion of a garden in a small space.
Boxwood hedge privacy screens can also be used as balcony dividers if you need a retractable barrier for your balcony to keep prying eyes out of your outdoor living area.
4. Invisible grilles
A dog should never be left alone on a balcony, as any good pet owner knows.
See Also: Leaving Balcony Door Open for Dog: 6 Answers (Explained)
Property owners and managers should also be aware of predators that might try to gain access to a balcony. Children, for example, should never be left unattended on balconies.
But how can you protect a balcony from predators while making sure your dog has full access to the safe haven of your home?
Invisible grilles for balconies are the answer.
Stainless steel safety grilles offer the perfect balance between protection, aesthetics and ease of installation.
They prevent your baby or pet from fitting their head or paw into the balcony crack.
Related: Can Cats Get Fleas From a Balcony? How to Keep Them Away
But they also allow air to circulate so your balcony stays cool in the summer.
With this balcony guard, enough light is let in so you can spend time outside in the evening without blocking your view of the street or horizon or risking a fall.
5. Balcony privacy slat
Locks and bolts make balcony doors and windows difficult to open.
This is a security measure for houses and apartments with balconies facing both busy and less busy streets.
Dwarf trees, climbing plants, and plant barriers may not be enough to keep unwelcome visitors off your balcony.
In addition, potted plants on a balcony can easily be tipped over the balcony railing, allowing intruders to climb through open spaces.
The tenant or homeowner can close these gaps by installing additional slats or spindles.
Privacy slats are designed to be installed vertically on the balcony railing. They are usually made of metal and have an exterior coating that is resistant to rust, corrosion and dust.
Children or animals cannot slip through the narrow gaps between the slats.
Wooden railings can also be equipped with wooden slats, if they have an appropriate bracket.
If you do not place your furniture near the balcony railing, the balcony will also be protected from intruders and small children who can climb up it.
Losing the view of a beautiful garden or city skyline can be the price to pay when it comes to closing balcony gaps with artificial or natural plants.
Outdoor and rooftop spaces with appropriate parapet height become more beautiful and functional with a transparent, see-through element.
Plant-filled balconies are beautiful and add a luxurious flair to the space, but they can also be a nuisance when it comes to cleaning.
It is essential to keep these areas clear, even if they are only half or thirty percent planted.
One option is to close off the balcony ledges with plexiglass, which will not break as easily or cause injury if someone falls through.
The good news is that today’s technology offers a simple permanent solution with a custom-cut plexiglass panel.
Creative homeowners have found ways to use acrylic plexiglass barriers not only as a safety feature, but also as a design feature, such as spray painting them to blend with existing colors or adding cooler colors that are inviting and comfortable.
There is no need to cover the entire area with plexiglass, as smaller panels in strategic locations work very well.
A clear plexiglass barrier will not block the beautiful view and will protect you, your family and your pets from unfortunate accidents that can happen on the balcony.
7. Adjustable outdoor shades
The ability to withstand excess light and some of the cold wind/rain is a safe, clean and easy way to keep people out.
The balcony or roof terrace is a great place to relax and enjoy the fresh air.
But sometimes you need to protect your property from wind and sunlight that could damage your property.
A good way to do this is to use roller shades or blinds.
These are usually made of a plastic or metal frame and have a fabric or polyethylene cover that can be adjusted to keep out light, wind and cold.
They also give your home a more attractive look by adding color and style. They make the house look more elegant, fresh and crisper when it is closed.
This is exactly what we need when we want to enjoy our balcony or roof terrace.
Mold and mildew do not have a chance to grow because the moisture can not get in.
They are perfect for a balcony with a large glass area, because the blinds protect your privacy, and the extra layer of fabric filters UV rays and protects your furniture.
Motorized shades are also available to roll up and down and can be a great benefit to you and your guests, allowing full access to your balcony or roof terrace when the sun is shining and closing it again when the wind picks up.
8. Retractable privacy screen
To close the gap on the balcony with a privacy screen, you can simply install a privacy screen that can be closed to block the view outside.
Discover: 13 Ground Floor Apartment Privacy Ideas
Privacy screens with ornate lattice panels are best, as they provide ample airflow during the hot summer months.
Privacy fences made of fabric or polyester can also be used to cover gaps in the outdoor space, although some of them are very sturdy and therefore do not allow enough airflow.
If a balcony is open to the public, such as along a walkway, this type of privacy screen may be appropriate to reduce visibility while sitting.
Bamboo rolls are also an easy way to cover gaps and can be moved out of sight when not in use. They are best used to hide seating or a hot tub, or to cover an unused area on a balcony.
Fence panels, while less expensive and easier to install, are also susceptible to staining and debris, as well as possible scratches, cracks, etc. that can affect the life of the panel.
Protect your loved ones and your neighbors
Balcony gaps can become a safety hazard if they are left unsecured.
Especially if you live in a high-rise building, it is important to know how to seal balcony openings.
This is especially true if the gap is large enough for a person to climb through.
There are numerous reasons why building owners need to install balcony barriers.
Most of these buildings are home to families, especially children, their parents or guardians, and their favorite pets.
By doing so, you not only protect your own life and that of your loved ones, but also the property and lives of other tenants.
Aside from the hazards, gaps provide easy access to the balcony through which burglars can easily enter.
This can pose a danger to families and pets, as well as endangering the apartment itself.
In addition, large gaps leave the balcony unprotected, and any items outside can be at risk for theft and UV damage.
I hope that the tips provided here will help you not to worry and fully protect your balcony.