Adding awnings to your home or other building can add an interesting visual boost while also providing shade from the sun and elements. There are a huge variety of awnings to choose from – between style and material, the awning world is your oyster! However, because there are such a panoply of awnings to choose from it can seem a bit daunting.
Choosing the right awning starts with the rest of your architecture – you will want something that fits your home or building and doesn’t look wrong or stand out. This also means that the color and material of your awning will also be beholden to your home. You don’t want a green awning on a pink house (or do you?).
Types Of Awnings
Let’s first take a look at the two major types of awnings out there: fixed and retractable.
Fixed awnings are attached to the building on a stationary frame. They cannot be moved or adjusted – they are fixed in place. This means you won’t have to tinker with opening and closing it. They are ideal for smaller areas such as windows and door areas, although fixed awnings can also extend over patios and other large areas. They offer full weather protection and can be sturdier than retractable awnings due to less moving parts.
Retractable awnings are those that can be opened and closed, giving you the option to open up the space or cover it depending on the weather or your mood. They are more expensive than fixed awnings, and repair bills can be costly should the mechanisms stop working for some reason. Retractable awnings are great for patio areas that you might want to get some sun now and then.
Awning Covers / Materials
Awning covers are where you can really get creative. Traditional awnings are made of fabric such as cotton or polyester, and can be printed or made in different colors and patterns. They can also be printed with logos or letters for businesses.
These materials are often coated in an acrylic or laminate coating to help them withstand sun and weather over time. Vinyl coating is more flame and water resistant but fades faster. Acrylic coatings help colors stay longer but are less water and weather resistant.
Awnings can also be made of solid materials such as wood, metal, and poly-carbonate. These are more suited for fixed awnings, however they are sturdier and tend to last much longer than fabric awnings.
Awnings can also come in different shapes, and this depends entirely on what type of flavor you want to give your home or building.
Generally there is a much wider variety of shapes and styles available for stationary awnings vs retractable awnings, simply due to the nature of the mechanics involved.
Some awning shapes are more traditionally associated with businesses, such as the entrance canopy and dome awnings. However, you sometimes see these on homes.
Benefits Of Awnings
Awnings have a ton of benefits – they can provide energy savings due to the fact that they can shade windows from the sun. This also provides comfort so that the sun isn’t glaring in and making things too bright. You can also leave windows open in the rain if they are covered by an awning, which is great for hot but wet climates.
Retractable awnings can give your outdoor space much needed protection from sun or rain but with the option to easily remove it at any time. This is great for summer cocktail parties that need some shelter from a sudden passing storm.
Drawbacks Of Awnings
Awnings do require some maintenance such as cleaning. Cloth covers may need to be replaced over the years. Retractable awnings may break or require repair. Fixed awnings are not easily removed if you suddenly don’t feel like them anymore. Take some time to think about the positives and negatives before you invest in your awning decision.