Considerations when Choosing an Awning
Adding an awning to cover your patio from the elements, or to shade your conservatory from the low winter sun without shutting it away behind curtains or blinds, can be a great way to improve both the aesthetics and practicalities of your home. Alternatively, fitting an awning to the exterior of your café or restaurant front is the best way to make the most of your outside seating areas, giving customers a dry and shaded spot whatever the weather.
Making sure you choose the right awning for your needs requires a few considerations on your part. Here are some tips to get you started…
Style, Materials and Colour
Knowing the exact purpose for your awning (patio cover, shop front protection etc) will go a long way to determining the material and style (and to some extent, the colour) you select.
If the primary use of your awning will be to deflect rain away from your patio or outside areas – and let’s be honest, in the UK that will be the case! – selecting the right material for this purpose is essential. Aluminium awnings are an option here, although what you gain in low maintenance and weather protection you might lose in aesthetics.
Canvas or vinyl materials provide a good compromise between weather-proofing and stylish appearance, and are generally favoured by street-front cafes and restaurants.
Some of the most popular materials available include:
Lighter coloured awnings will reflect heat better during the summer months, so might be best as a sun shade for a conservatory. The colour of sun shading awnings is also important, as the way in which sunlight is coloured and perceived can affect ambience and general well-being.
Electric vs. Manual
Although dependant on cost and practicality, whether or not you opt for an electrically or manually operated awning is largely a matter of choice. One is operated by a motor, one by hand, but both use a winch and pulley system that must be maintained.
The convenience of an electric awning might be appealing, but if they fall out of your price range then don’t worry – your manual awning can be motorised at a later date should you so wish.
The main danger to awning safety is the elements. Strong winds are always a danger to extended awnings, and most are not designed to deal with gusts over 50mph. Steeper-pitched awnings are more resistant to the hazards posed by strong winds, but, as a general rule, if you are not prepared to sit outside, then the wind is at too high a level for extending your awning.
Selecting an awning with weather- and water-proofed polyacrylic materials will protect against rot and mould build up as a result of damp, and ensure that the slope of the awning you select is steep enough to allow rainfall to run off, avoiding pooling and standing water.