Awnings provide one of the easiest ways to keep the temperature from rising during the summer months. These unobtrusive and durable accessories are an attractive way to control the temperature of homes, sun rooms, domestic outdoor living spaces, alfresco dining areas and other commercial outdoor living environments.
There are many styles of awnings available, with different features. Besides selecting the appropriate size and fabric, you’ll need to take into account the type of awning hardware, such as stationary, free standing, or retractable. You’ll also need to consider your specific needs, such as energy savings, comfort, or advertising. Here is a simple guide to help you find the best awning(s).
Which Type Of Awnings Is Best For You?
There are two basic types of awnings: stationary and retractable. Fixed awnings are usually welded or attached permanently to a wall. They are sturdy and long-lasting, but their protection cannot be changed. Retractable awnings can be opened or pulled back to provide as much or as little cover as needed, providing a versatile solution that adds a sophisticated and functional element to the outdoor living spaces.
Understand Options for Features, Style, Fabric and Installation
To make the right decision about which awning to buy, you need to be familiar with such concepts as styles, features, fabrics and installation options as well as common terms that are used to describe awnings.
Features of Stationary Awnings
Stationary awnings have a fixed metal frame, or support posts, and are installed in a fixed position on the building. These awnings consist of twin-walled polycarbonate sheeting or fabric-covered aluminium frame. Typically, they are custom made in a wide range of shapes and sizes, such as the semi circular Cupola canopy or the traditional Dutch awnings.
Features of Retractable Awnings
Retractable, patio, and pergola or folding arm awnings come with a frame comprising of the mounting bar or square bar, arms and roller tube. The mounting bar holds the roller tube on which the awning retracts. When the awning fabric retracts, it is concealed and protected by the cassette.
The arms of a retractable awning open when the awning is rolled out and folds closed at the elbow when the awning is rolled in, providing the capability to extend and retract the awning. Other notable features of a retractable awning include: the front bar (the extrusion located at the front of the frame), the elbow (the hinge joint found halfway along the arm) and the hood – which covers the frame and fabric when the awning is fully retractable.
Some retractable awnings may feature a rib or cross bars that support the fabric or decorative valances that hang from the front bar of the awning. All the aluminium components are usually powder coated for better aesthetics and greater durability.
A retractable awning can be manually operated or motorised. Manually retractable awnings use a hand crank to open and retract and are often the most affordable type. Motorised versions open and close effortlessly at one touch of a button, and may include options for motorisation such as rain sensors, wind sensors, timers and remote controls that render the awnings more flexible and convenient. However, they are usually more expensive compared to manually operated awnings.
Styles of Retractable Awnings
There are many styles of retractable awnings, including:
Folding Arm Awning
Made up of two or more arms, the front bar, the mounting bar and the fabric, the folding arm awning is the most popular and common style of retractable awning for both domestic and commercial applications. It is also the most scalable style, projecting up to 4 meters without the need for external supports.
Pivot Arm Awning
This is a simple roll up awning that features arms that move up or outward and down from the roller tube. It is usually used to provide shade and privacy for window openings.
This is a retractable blind that is mounted vertically, thereby providing protection against the sun’s glare, heat, UV rays and rain when needed.
Fabrics Used In Awnings
When choosing awnings, consider how durable the material is, how weather resistant it is, how heavy it is and whether it can be cleaned easily. There are two main categories of awning fabrics: canvas and solution-dyed acrylic. Canvas can be tough, but it is prone to fading, mildew and rotting, thus making it less durable. Solution-dyed acrylic is a man-made fibre, which is lightweight, breathable and doesn’t rot, making it perfect for outdoor use. Ensure that the fabric is from a reputable supplier.
Awning Installation Options
Retractable awnings can be attached onto the exterior wall, rafters in the soffit overhang or on the roof, depending on your outdoor space. Some of the factors that you’ll need to consider when installing your awning include: pitch, projection, load and likelihood of pooling.
If you are looking to install awnings, winter is a great time to plan for the height of Summer. Contact us to answer any questions, we can come and visit you at your convenience.