HomeownerEducational: A-M

Awning & Shade Solutions

Awning & Shade Solutions

Advantages of Awnings

Additional living space. Because they provide protection from certain elements, awnings are an excellent way to increase the amount of your home’s livable space. In many ways, installing a large awning over a patio or back deck is like adding an additional room, but without the cost of construction. This space is protected from light rain and direct sunlight, but it is still open to the breeze and natural surroundings of your yard—perfect for reading or dining outside, or just enjoying the fresh air.

Decreased energy costs. Small awnings extended over your windows and doors will block the amount of UV radiation that enters your home, thus keeping it cooler. This will, in turn, reduce your cooling costs, saving you money on energy bills during the warmer months. According to the US Department of Energy, window awnings can reduce a home’s solar heat gain by as much as 65 percent on south-facing windows and 77 percent on west-facing ones.

Indoor furnishing protection. By blocking much of the direct sunlight that would otherwise enter the home, awnings also help prolong the life of your carpet, rugs, hardwood floors, and indoor furnishings. Without the consistent exposure to direct sunlight, these floor coverings and furnishings will retain their original color and condition for much longer. Of course, awnings will also help prolong the life of any outdoor furnishings and textiles.

Fixed vs. Retractable

Fixed. Fixed, or stationary, awnings are intended to be permanent. They are generally custom-built for a particular space and are not meant to be regularly taken down. The main benefit of fixed awnings is their ability to be customized. They’re perfect for oddly shaped windows or entryways, and they afford the homeowner a range of styles and sizes to choose from. Fixed awnings also require less maintenance than retractable models, as they contain no moving parts.

Retractable. Retractable awnings come in either manual or automatic varieties. Manual retractable awnings are retracted by hand, usually by cranking a lateral arm. Automatic or motorized retractable awnings are built with a motor that does the retracting for you. Some motor-operated awnings even include a sensor that can automatically retract the awning upon the detection of high winds. The primary benefit of retractable awnings is that their appearance will stay in top condition much longer than fixed awnings will. Since they can be retracted during bad weather or when they aren’t needed, the fabric will not fade or deteriorate as quickly as it would on a fixed awning.

Choosing an Awning

When deciding on an awning, make sure to look into the different available fabric types and other materials as well as warranty information and care instructions. A professional awning contractor should be able to help make the right selection.