An awning is a type of covering which is basically attached to the exterior wall of any building. It is also known as overhang. The main purpose of an awning is to provide shade at a particular area. Awnings come in different shapes, size and structures and these are made from variety of materials. Nowadays awnings are not only used as exterior wall attachments, but these are also used as free standing shade providers at beaches, gardens or picnic spots. A buyer can easily get confused about which particular type of awning will best suit one’s purpose. This guide will help a buyer in selecting a good and suitable awning. Here are some of the factors that one must keep in mind while purchasing an awning;
Type of awning
Before purchasing an awning, one must make sure about which type of awning is required, here are some of the basic types of awning available at the market;
1. Retractable awning
The retractable awnings are basically large size awnings and this type of awning can be pulled out and pulled back whenever necessary. This type of awning is mostly used for large areas like patio or deck. There are three types of retractable awning;
- Manual retractable type of awning is the most economic friendly awning. The manual awning can be opened and closed by hand or pulled out like giant window shades. This type of awning is very similar to the electric or automatic awning.
- Electrical retractable awnings come in numerous varieties of sizes. This type of awning has a switch and opens or retracts by the flip of the switch. The only difference between the manual awning and electric awning is the switch.
- Automatic awning is the most easy-to-use awning and the best option for homeowners due to its easy operating system. This type of awning mostly consists of sensors that retract the awning outward when the sun is up and automatically pulls it back whenever the sun sets or if the sun disappears due to bad weather conditions.
2. Fixed or stationary awning
Stationary or fixed awning provides shade as well as protection from other weather elements. This type of awning is permanently installed or fixed and it is barely retractable. The stationary awning is usually installed in front if windows or entryways. The window installed stationary awning helps in keeping the room cool during hot and sunny summer days, which indirectly reduces the household cooling costs during summer season. If one is looking for some additional protection against harsh weather elements like heavy rainfall or snow, then this type of awning will be a very good choice.
It is very important to consider the purpose of purchasing the awning. Different awning is used for different purpose, so before going for the purchasing of awning, one must make sure where the awning is required to be used and installed. Here are some of the basic types of awnings according to the purpose;
1. Door awning
The door awning is installed in front of the door or entryways. This type of awning is permanent and not retractable. This type of awning is mostly used to enhance the exterior entryway appearance of the home and also protection from harsh weather elements by providing a safe stand point whenever necessary. Door awnings come in different types of shapes, sizes and materials.
2. Window awning
The window awning is usually installed above the window. Window awnings are available in both retractable, drop arm and stationary styles. The window awning helps in cooling down the room during hot summers and reduces the cooling costs. This type of awnings is available in different designs and materials. If one is purchasing a window awning, then one should select the awning with side flaps so that it can prevent sun rays and heavy downpours from getting into the room.
3. Outdoor awning
An outdoor awning is usually installed outdoors and this type of awning is designed as retractable and can be retracted or pulled back using motor or hand crank. The outdoor awning is used typically for covering up the maximum outdoor space. This type of awning is an ideal choice for those who spend lots of their time outdoors, relaxing or entertaining. Additional benefit of the outdoor awning is that it also provides protection to outdoor items like furniture from weather elements. Outdoor awnings are either designed for the porch, which needs to be attached to the exterior wall of the house or some outdoor awnings are totally freestanding without any need of extra support as those have independent mounting poles or posts.
Size is a very important factor that one should consider while purchasing an awning, as too small would not fit and too large also will not look good. The measurement of all the type and models of awning can be determined easily.
- If the awning is for door or window, first of all one must measure the width of the particular door or window. After the width is measured, one can simply add up 5 inches to each side of the measurement of the window. For example, if the total width of the window is 30 inches, add up 10 inch extra; so, the awning that needs to be bought will be 40 inches wide. In this way one can easy measure the required size of the awning.
- For outdoor retractable awnings, one can measure the area parallel to the mounting of the awning. Determining the size of the outdoor awning is more easy and straightforward than that of the doors or windows awning.
- Another easy way to consider the dimension of the awning is the projection, which is measured as the distance of the awning extending out from the wall or the mounting structure. The maximum projection of any retractable awning is usually 20 feet.
Fabric or materials that the awning is made of is very important. The durability and quality of the awning depends extremely on the material that the particular awning is made of. Usually most of the awnings are made from three kinds of fabrics, cotton, polyester and vinyl;
- Cotton awnings are very good for the hot climates as these can keep the temperature cool. A cotton awning is often coated or painted with acrylic paint which makes the awning have waterproof quality. The paint also enhances the look of the overhang and makes it look more attractive. The cotton awnings are not much durable and the color might fade with time.
- Polyester awnings are light and easily retractable. The polyester awning is very good and it has more longevity and durability than other materials. This type of awning is not prone to mild dew and it can resist the worst and harshest climatic conditions.
- Vinyl awnings are the most popular awnings as these are extremely waterproof. The vinyl awning is mostly used in the cooler climatic conditions and at the area where there is always high risk of rainfall. However, the vinyl awning is not good for hotter climatic areas as it makes the temperature warmer.
Color of the awning also matters a lot, especially those window awnings that are used in summer days for cooling down the room temperatures. One should always go for lighter colors like beige, green, yellow, etc than darker colored awnings as the lighter hue are more energy-efficient when compared to the dark ones like maroon, violet, red, brown, etc and also the dark colored awning will absorb more heat and it can warm up the room instead of cooling it. The awning with lighter color will enhance the outdoor look far better than the darker awning.
Before selecting an awning, it is very important to keep in mind the kind of mounting that one has in mind, and buy the awning according to the type of mounting. Basically there are three kinds of mounting options;
- The awning can be attached to the exterior wall of the house and this type of awning has metal shaft attached to the back of the awning that can be fixed or mounted permanently by using other hardware items. This type of mounting is especially for the stationary door and window awnings.
- Freestanding mounting is for those types of awnings that are large, retractable and used for outdoors. This type of awning comes with own shaft or pole that supports the awning. The pole can be fixed to the ground and doesn’t need any other mounting support like walls or roof.
- Rooftop mounting is the best mounting option for the retractable awnings if any additional headroom is required after the awning is being fully extended. When the exterior wall of one’s home is likely to be not that high enough to provide clearance adequately, then the rooftop mounting is an ideal choice.
The quality and the durability of the awning mostly depend on the manufacturing process and the quality of the materials that the awning is made of. It is very important to do a dozen of research about the best brands and the top products before going for the purchase.