Typically, carpets are not recommended for outdoor living areas, such as balconies, patios, or rooftop decks, for the following reasons:
- They are not fastened and therefore can blow away.
- Carpet is not condo board approved.
- Carpet can be a fire & safety hazard.
- Carpet does not provide drainage. It holds moisture which will cause mold and mildew.
- Long-term carpet use in an outdoor space degrades and erodes the concrete surface. Tenants will be held accountable for the damage caused to their balcony surface.
- Carpet holds dirt and stains.
Therefore, the best alternative to installing carpet as an outdoor flooring system would be to use removable tile pavers (Porcelain, slate, stone, or quarry) or deck tiles (composite wood, traditional wood or exotic wood). Both stone and wood tiles come equipped with either a pedestal system or a click-together system that provides a base that allows for ample drainage. Thus, preventing rot, mold, and mildew and preserving the integrity of your balcony.
All paver systems, regardless of material, work in the opposite way of a carpet. They allow for drainage, which allows both water and debris to pass through the flooring system, thus letting the concrete floor below breathe.
In addition, paving systems are also removable. You can lift, remove, and shift the decking around to clean drains and inspect the surface below.
However, if you still want to explore using carpet for your balcony and patio after these considerations, we have you covered. There are some choices available when choosing outdoor carpet. Whether you want to cover your whole balcony or a small portion of your patio, consider these tips.
Choose a rug instead of carpet
The coziness of carpet cannot be disputed. Everyone loves the look of a designer carpet and all the warmth that is provided beneath your feet. However, to get the benefits of carpet without the headache caused by the damage that carpeting can provide, consider choosing an area rug.
Area rugs are movable, which means that during inclement weather, you will be able to move your rug out of the way or lift it up to allow water to drain off.
Choose a carpet designed for outdoor use
Outdoor carpet has evolved over the years and can protect your patio or deck from wear and tear. Outdoor carpeting is now more durable and provides protection against the damaging UV rays of the sun. Outdoor carpet also has water-resistant properties. When considering an outdoor carpet for your patio or balcony, choose a low pile outdoor carpet designed for high traffic areas as this will provide both low maintenance, as well as a soft covering for your outdoor floor.
There are various types of fabric that you should consider when deciding on an outdoor carpet or rug.
Nylon rugs are very resilient and durable. They are also easy to clean and can be stain-resistant. However, when exposed to direct sunlight, nylon can become very hot and may melt.
Polyester rugs can be ordered in vibrant colours that are resistant to fading. These rugs also provide stain resistance. However, polyester has been known to shed under high-traffic conditions.
Acrylic rugs are the closest to rugs made with natural fibers. Acrylic rugs are available in a soft finish that feels soft under one’s feet. Acrylic is also known for absorbing and releasing moisture, which makes it a better outdoor carpeting material, as acrylic is resistant to mold and mildew.
Natural fiber rugs such as bamboo, hemp, and seagrass are eco-friendly. This material is also a sustainable alternative to nylon, polyester, and acrylic. Natural rugs feel soft and luxurious below your feet and are available in a variety of colours and textures that complement any outdoor space.
That said, rugs made with natural fibers do have a few cons worth noting. They are prone to fading in direct sunlight. They are generally less durable than their synthetic counterparts, and they are more likely to absorb water, which makes them susceptible to mold and mildew.
Natural fiber rugs are also more costly than synthetic options.
Choose carpet tiles
Outdoor carpeting is available as tiles. This is a satisfactory alternative to both a rug and a broadloom as it allows you to carpet smaller areas or sections to your specifications. Creating a focus area.
Choose drainage tiles to sit below your carpeted area
Okay, so you have decided that you still want to install carpet in an area of your balcony or patio. One recommendation would be to choose an outdoor carpet that will sit on top of pavers. Since this will allow for some drainage.
Professional installation of outdoor carpeting ranges in price from $400 to $600 per square foot, not including materials.
Overall, the opinion of most balcony and patio installers and designers believe that the cons of using carpeting as an outdoor flooring solution far outweighs the benefits.
First, water-resistant does not mean that it is waterproof. Therefore, if your outdoor space is uncovered and open to the elements, even an outdoor carpet could prove damaging to your concrete floor in the long run.
Other cons of using outdoor carpet on your patio or balcony
- Requires special adhesives or double-sided tape to prevent it from blowing away in the wind. This can damage and alter the integrity of the existing flooring below.
- Retains water, thus making the outdoor carpet prone to mold and mildew, especially in damp climates
In addition, keep in mind that since no light or air filters through to the flooring below, rotting wood and stained concrete will be an inevitable consequence. Not to mention that damp, moist areas below rugs and carpeting is the perfect breeding ground for the formation of bacteria and insects.
So, unless you plan on rolling up your rug or removing your carpeting at the first sign of rain, snow, or sleet, we recommend choosing another outdoor flooring alternative. Carpeting, while plush and luxurious, should be enjoyed indoors.
Tiles, composite deck tiles, porcelain pavers, and exotic hardwood flooring–like IPE wood pavers–will provide you and your family with a safe, hassle-free outdoor flooring that you can enjoy year-round without the added headache.