Is a metal or a glass Juliet balcony better?

Look at any modern apartment block and you are likely to see French windows and a protective Juliet balcony. They are becoming more and more common across cityscapes and beyond, yet they are somehow still quite unknown. 

In our last blog post, we shed some light on the most commonly asked questions around Juliet balconies, but there was one question we couldn’t answer – whether a metal or glass Juliet balcony is the better choice.

We can’t answer this because there is no definitive answer. It depends on so many factors from where it’s being fitted to your own personal tastes. There are a lot of aspects to consider.

In this post, we won’t tell which is right for you either. What we will do is give you the information you need to work out which suits your own particular needs best. We’ll cover the practical benefits that each material offers, alongside a couple of design tips to help you find the best choice for your home. 

What are the benefits of a glass Juliet balcony?

When it comes to modern Juliet balconies, glass is easily one of the most popular choices. This makes sense as glass Juliet balconies do have a lot of benefits, including:

  • Maximum light flow
  • Low maintenance
  • Long life span
  • Protects against the wind
  • Safety
  • Visually appealing

Maximum light flow

One of the main reasons to use French windows or doors in an apartment is to let more natural light flow inside. Fitting them with a transparent or frosted glass Juliet balcony will help your doors deliver the highest possible light levels.

Frameless glass Juliet balconies are practically invisible (minus the mount system and potential handrail) and this makes them the perfect fit for this job. You get all the strength and maximum safety, while still getting the full benefit of that extra window space.

Low maintenance

As with any glass panel, a glass Juliet balcony is very low maintenance. Other than cleaning (which can be done at the same time as your windows, either by yourself or a window cleaner) it needs no real upkeep or maintenance.

In fact, checking the fittings are still secure is the only ongoing work you need to worry about throughout the duration of your balcony’s life.

Long-life span

Another benefit that comes with the sturdiness of toughened and laminated glass is that you can expect a long life span for your balcony. Even with minimal maintenance, glass Juliet balcony systems will last for many years, decades even, without showing any real sign of degrading.

Give it a quick clean and your glass Juliet balcony will look as good as the day it was installed for decades.

Protects against the wind

This practical benefit only comes to play if you use your Juliet balcony in front of an open door but it can be important. As a glass Juliet balcony is made out of a solid glass panel, it minimises the wind that gets into your living space when your doors are open.

As Juliet balconies are usually used at height, this can be quite a big benefit. You don’t have to worry about strong gusts blowing into your home and making a mess or bringing a chill. It will also offer a little protection against rain, if you don’t notice a downpour the moment it starts


The solid nature of glass brings another benefit with it too – it increases the safety the balcony is already providing. While the gaps in a metal balustrade will not be wide enough to allow anything large to slip through it, it is still helpful to have a solid panel too.

Visually appealing

Glass panels can be used to make an attractive decorative feature for your home. Well suited to modern apartment buildings, offices and even homes, they are a great way to add a touch of interest to the exterior of a building. They break up big expanses of brickwork, adding a little more dressing to windows without cluttering.

Though their clean, crisp lines are perfectly suited to more modern and contemporary building designs, they are simple enough to be flexible and can be used for older buildings too. You can further increase their visual appeal by choosing sandblasted or obscured glass – without sacrificing any of the light that gets in.

What are the disadvantages of a glass Juliet balcony?

The only real disadvantage to a glass Juliet balcony is that they can be difficult to clean. While the inside of the panel can be cleaned from inside your home, it is only possible to clean the outside using either ladders or window cleaning poles from the ground up.

However, this is the case for most windows too. If you have a window cleaning service already they will likely clean the glass of your balcony as standard, making this a much smaller problem too.

What are the benefits of a metal Juliet balcony?

Window doors and metal Juliet balcony decorated with three green potted plants.

If you’re looking to install a Juliet balcony, and glass doesn’t immediately appeal, chances are metal will be your other choice. As a material, it does have enough benefits to rival glass, so it’s easy to see why many people plump for metal instead. These benefits include:

  • Very easy to maintain
  • Robust
  • More design flexibility
  • Visually striking

Very easy to maintain

A high-quality metal Juliet balcony can be even easier to maintain than a glass one is. Powder coated steel and aluminium both need minimal upkeep to keep them at their best – a simple wipe down with a soft cloth soaked in warm water and soap to remove any dirt build-up will suffice.

As metal balconies are not solid, this task can often be done from inside your house too, making it something you can do yourself without any special tools or extra effort.


Another benefit this type of balcony will share with a glass Juliet balcony is durability. Admittedly, the exact robustness you get will depend on the metal you choose. For example, while a powder coating will last a long time, if it does get scratched or damaged it can leave the metal underneath at risk of rust. This is not a concern with a sleek aluminium balcony, however, this metal is more likely to be scratched or scuffed.

In either case, your balcony is unlikely to get damaged for many years so this should not be an overriding concern.

More design flexibility

One of the great things about a metal Juliet balcony is how flexible the design is. Unlike a glass balcony that is somewhat limited to a more sleek, minimalist look, there are options to suit a more traditional period home or a modern one.

For example, a decorative black option, with scrolled ironwork and a matte finish will look quite at home period homes, perfect for protecting large Victorian windows. However, if you have a more modern home then a sleek brushed aluminium option has a thoroughly modern look that will keep it

What about wooden Juliet balconies?

When it comes to standard balcony balustrades, wood is a popular choice. As such we knew we ought to cover it here, though it is not a common choice for use in Juliet balconies.

This is because wooden balustrades share the same major disadvantages as metal ones. Being opaque they interrupt light flow, which is something of an issue as Juliet balconies are often used to help let more natural light into a property.

The nature of wood means the bars of wooden balustrades are likely to be even thicker than on a metal version. It will block the light even more from entering your room.

Another disadvantage of wooden balustrades is how much maintenance they need. Unlike metal balustrades which only need very occasional cleaning and upkeep, or glass which needs cleaning but little else, wood needs to be carefully and regularly looked after in order to maximise its life span.

To protect it from the elements you will need to refinish the wood every couple of years with either a fresh coat of paint or varnish. If you don’t it will become vulnerable to moisture and it may rot or warp. If this happens, the integrity of the balustrades will weaken, leaving them at risk of breaking.

Due to the positioning, it is also a lot harder to maintain a wooden balcony, particularly if you need to sand it or fix it.

Is a metal or a glass Juliet balcony better?

As we started this post by saying, there is no definitive choice between a glass and metal Juliet balcony. Is entirely up to your personal choice. We hope, however, that this post has given you some guidance on that choice so you can see more clearly which is the correct option for you.

If you decide a glass Juliet balcony is the right choice for you, then our range of glass balustrades and balconies are durable, attractive and perfect for any home. Speak to us today to find out more about what we can offer.


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