What can I use for flooring on my balcony?
August 15, 2006 2:21 PM   Subscribe

What can I put down on my balcony as "flooring" which will fill in the gaps, keep stuff from falling through on my downstairs neighbor and maybe prevent her smoke from drifting up?

I'm renting an apartment in an old 60s-era building. The balcony was built like a standard deck with gaps between the boards. This is really annoying because I'm always worried that I'm going to tip over a glass of water or something and douse my downstairs neighbor. Also, she smokes and it's not so nice to be having dinner on our deck and have her smoke drifting up. I realize that this won't prevent that entirely but I'm looking for something to lay down on the deck which will act as flooring. It is also not protected entirely from the elements so I am somewhat concerned about weathering. It should either be a weather-resistant material or something that I can replace cheaply. Any thoughts on a good material for this?
posted by amanda to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Outdoor carpet.
posted by Roger Dodger at 2:24 PM on August 15, 2006

Big tarp in the middle of some two by fours. Several bags of black dirt. Sod. Instant lawn right on your balcony. Just make sure to water it to avoid grass fires.

Or that fake grass carpet. But that doesn't feel nearly as good between the toes.
posted by jeribus at 2:25 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

A piece of linoleum cut to size? Seems easy to clean and would do what you suggest...
posted by agregoli at 2:32 PM on August 15, 2006

Check at a carpet store for the carpet they make for deck boats (pontoon boats in some parts of the world)...should do the trick for you... probably similar (or the same) as the outdoor carpet rodger notes above.
posted by HuronBob at 2:33 PM on August 15, 2006

Piece of plywood cut to size (1/4" would do -- it is not going to be bearing a load, it's just to cover the gaps), and cover it with one of those grass mats that you can find at any asian store or Pier 1, for look and feel.
posted by contessa at 2:39 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've seen those foam interlocking squares for sale at Home Depot--they kind of look like puzzle pieces. They come in primary colors, like for kid play areas, but I think they come in a dark grey color as well.
posted by printchick at 3:15 PM on August 15, 2006

I'd go with a piece of plywood like contessa says, but add three things:

1) seal it with polyurethane so it doesn't rot or start to cup from moisture

2) raise one side up so water drains off

3) outdoor carpet on top
posted by nathan_teske at 3:40 PM on August 15, 2006

Sizal matting?
posted by A189Nut at 5:01 PM on August 15, 2006

Nothing you do is really going to help with the cigarette smoke. It'll float up and around the balcony.
posted by pmbuko at 8:44 PM on August 15, 2006

sealing the plywood is a good idea, but if you don't want it to warp, seal both sides.
posted by gregoryc at 4:00 AM on August 16, 2006

How about a tatami mat? My BF buys them quite cheaply to use for cutting practice at martial arts class. Natural fibres, they're thick, weather well and look good.
posted by saturnine at 4:38 AM on August 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Just get exterior grade plywood.
posted by electroboy at 11:06 AM on August 16, 2006

A commercial doormat would fit the bill

its rubber backed, for moisture and smoke deflection, and it wouldn't tear up your bare feet when you go out to have breakfast.
posted by Megafly at 2:33 PM on August 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

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