Frequently Asked Questions about awnings

Characteristics of Retractable Awnings

Characteristics of Retractable Awnings

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kind of awning should I buy?
A: This depends on what you are trying to achieve. If it's just sun protection over a deck, terrace, or patio, a retractable awning will meet your needs. But if it's full weather protection for this kind of outdoor space, or you want to create an "outdoor room," a fixed-frame awning is the better choice. For shading inside parts of your home, window awnings are very effective. These come in two styles: manually operated, rope pull-up and mechanically activated, vertical-arm retractable.
Q: What are the differences between retractable and fixed-frame awnings?
A: The differences reflect style and function. The great advantage of retractable awnings is "shade on demand." You use the awning when you need it for sun protection; otherwise it remains re-tracted. Another big advantage of retractables is the minimal annual maintenance. Possible disadvantages include higher initial cost and limited function (wind and rain can damage this type of awning, which must be retracted in inclement weather).
Q: Why should I get an awning instead of a deck or patio umbrella?
A: An awning is more durable, for starters. And it can shade a much larger area. It can be designed and constructed to meet your home's unique configuration. An umbrella is highly susceptible to wind damage and must always be handled manually.
Q: How should I care for my awning?
A: Maintenance is critical. In autumn, at season's end, check for wear, for tears or holes, and mildew. If there is any damage, have the fabric repaired before you store it for the winter. If the braid along the front edge of the valance has frayed, replace it. Consider having your awnings hand-washed by a professional who will use cold water and a mild detergent and will reapply a water-proofing finish to extend the fabric's life. Check the hardware: fasteners, cables, joints, welds, and contact points where the frame is mounted against your house or porch. If there is any hint of rust or corrosion, clean and recoat the area. And on fixed-frame awnings, replace the lacings annually.
Q: How long will my awning last?
A: This depends upon its location. Endless direct sunlight, tree sap, and smoke (from your outdoor grill) are the worst enemies of your awning's fabric. In general, the stitching is the weakest link and will need to be replaced first. With proper maintenance, one can usually expect seven to ten good years from acrylic fabric. The hardware usually carries a limited lifetime warranty and, as a rule, can be reused with new fabric.

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