How to buy awnings
An awning buying guide
A beautiful outdoor living area like a patio, deck or balcony can be very enjoyable. Awnings increase the useful life of outdoor spaces by sheltering them from the elements.
>> Which types of awnings are best for you?
Your decision about which awning to buy first requires an understanding of the various types of awnings available.
For large areas such as decks and patios, retractable awning designs are the optimal solution. These provide shelter from the sun when needed and retract out of the way when they are not. Protection from sun and rain means that retractable awnings add life to entryways and windows as well.
Of the three retractable styles, a manual awning can be the most economical. Manual awnings are manufactured and styled similarly to electric and automatic models. Open and close your manual awning either by hand crank or by pulling them out like giant window shades.
In addition to protecting you and your family from the hot sun, retractable awnings help extend the life of your patio and outdoor decor by shielding them from the sun's rays. Electric awnings open and retract at the flip of a switch. Like manual and automatic types, they are available to you in a variety of awning sizes.
When considering which awning to buy, automatic awnings may jump to the top of your list. This is the best awning if you are a homeowner who wants the convenience of easy operation. Automatic awnings open and close when sensors indicate that the sun is out, and they retract when the sun sets or inclement weather arrives.
Stationary awning designs are great at providing protection from the weather for your entryways. Stay dry even in downpours while you find your house keys. Stationary awnings installed over windows give you an additional layer of protection from the sun for delicate window coverings and reduce household cooling costs, as well.
>> Consider awning uses
When considering which awning to buy, you should give thought to the uses of awnings. It is also vital to understand how different types of awning designs will impact their uses.
What you notice first about your retractable awning is that it provides much needed relief from the hot summer sun. Deck and patio temperatures can be reduced by 10 to 20 degrees when your retractable awning is extended. Awning-provided shade also protects exposed skin from dangerous sunburns.
Protecting the lifetime of your patio and garden supplies, such as outdoor furniture, is a considerable advantage that can be gained when you buy an awning. Awnings also ensure that your patio furniture remains safe to the touch in even the hottest sun. A variety of brands protect you from having to run in the house because of an unexpected summer shower.
Different styles and configurations of your window awning options include retractable, drop arm and fixed. Profile choices are rounded or angular. Whichever awning style you choose, you still get terrific benefits like lower cooling costs, reduced glare and increased curb appeal.
Even the best insulated home is vulnerable to increased cooling costs when the sun beats through windows. The addition of window awnings can reduce the effect of solar heating and dramatically reduce your cooling costs.
The addition of attractive window awnings as decorative accents to your home improves indoor living by allowing for more comfortable lighting. Eliminate glare that washes out your television and video screens.
Like window awnings, door or entryway canopies improve your home's appearance by adding a sophisticated and functional element to the exterior. From a practical standpoint, an entry awning enables you to unlock your door, gather mail and close your umbrella while protected from the elements.
>> Understand options for size, mounting and materials
In order to be able make a decision about which awning to buy, you need familiarity with such concepts as awning dimensions, mounting options and materials.
Awning models rely on two measurements, the first of which is width. In the case of windows and doorways this measurement begins with the width of the window or door and adds on equal amount of extra width on either side. For example a 30-inch window with an additional 12 inches on each side, means you need a 54-inch wide awning.
Retractable patio awnings are more straightforward when it comes to determining width. For these, you simply measure the area parallel to the awning's mounting.
The second awning dimension for you to consider when deciding which awning to buy is projection, which refers to the distance the awning juts from your structure. The maximum projection for retractable awnings is 20 feet.
Awnings attach on one side to your house, most commonly to an exterior wall.
An alternative mounting option for retractable awning styles is rafter mounting, which is practical when you have exposed rafters. Special brackets hang down below the roof to attach to the awning.
The final mounting option for retractable types of awnings is the roof mount. Roof mounting is the best option if you require additional head room when your awning is fully extended. This type of mount is most common when the exterior wall is not high enough to provide adequate clearance.
A question you can easily overlook regarding which awning to buy is what materials are used in the construction. Some outdoor shades are made of cotton, vinyl or polyester.
Cotton awnings are usually painted or coated with an acrylic paint, which serves as both a decorative addition and as a waterproofing method. This technique is commonly available to you on porch shades.
Vinyl is another popular material used in the construction of various awning designs. Vinyl is waterproof and provides a good option for cooler climates with greater likelihood of light rain.
In determining which awning to buy, consider polyester or polyester and cotton blend awnings as well. They offer you an extended life due to their durable nature. Whichever material you select for your awning or outside blinds, it is useful to understand that lighter colors are more energy efficient choices than darker colors.