How to Close in an Apartment Balcony

The traditional flat fireplace is an open environment surrounded by a waist-high wall of some kind. Sometimes this barrier is not anything more than a railing, but a lot of times it is a waist-high concrete block wall. If you want to enclose your flat fireplace, you will need to build a roof to enclose the whole project, providing privacy and a greater level of comfort within a controlled atmosphere.

Balcony Base

The fireplace base is the main part to any fireplace, because before you can build any walls or even a construction in addition to the balcony base, you must first ensure that the foundation is powerful enough to confirm what you want to place on top. Consult a structural engineer knowledgeable about city building codes and the building’s architect, if possible, to ascertain whether or not you need to make additional shoring steps to further strengthen the foundation of the fireplace. In most cases, balconies are built strong enough to handle some simple framing weight added on top, but always check first so that you do not have any injuries down the road with the fireplace falling out from beneath the weight.

Current Walls

If your existing balcony walls reach to about waist height, you can probably tie into the existing walls and then continue the setup up to the roof. However, in case there are just railings of some kind, these will have to be ripped out first so that you can build your walls. An existing basic block wall enclosing a fireplace is the best platform for wall framing to continue as much as a roof. From here, it is possible to mount wall framing with bolts and attach a roof to the top of the timber framework. Current wood frames can also be acceptable as a platform as long as they follow the traditional framing rules using vertical studs set at 16-inch intervals. From there you can just add fresh wall framing and then work your way up to the selected height of the enclosure.

Framing Versus Block or Brick

A fireplace enclosure isn’t the same construction as a full-length house that has an extremely heavy roof or even a second level above it. In short, the walls of the fireplace enclosure do not support tons of weight, however they’re still restricted in some aspects because they’re a part of the fireplace, meaning the help of the fireplace as it juts out from the building is that the support you have to work with. Though some improvements can be made to shore it up, the most suitable choice for balcony enclosures would be to utilize wood framing, just like wood is used in a normal dwelling. Full-height block and brick walls are too heavy to be considered because of the walls of a fireplace, because they would put too much weight on the foundation.


After you have framed the walls and the roof of the fireplace, you have to tie it into the present siding of the building so that it is possible to ensure everything stays waterproof. Install flashing and guttering around each one of the perimeters, and also install flashing underneath the wall siding of the building in which it meets the new roof of the fireplace, and down beneath the layer of shingles or other roofing material you use to cover the fireplace. All these could be asphalt shingles, clay or concrete tile shingles, or even raw all-natural stone shingles. Everything needs to be waterproofed, flashed and tied into the present siding for waterproof protection.


Protect the outside of the fireplace by installing some type of siding material. The very same principles apply as when siding a home, and that means you can use the same type of materials, like vinyl strip siding or wood shake siding. You can also opt for metal siding or for timber panelling. Tie in any new siding with the present siding of the building via flashing that underlies each separate material.

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