Article: Inside & Out
Awnings Against The Elements
There are lots of ways we protect ourselves from the sun, wind, and rain. We wear sunglasses to save our eyes, hats to safeguard our heads, and visors to shield our faces so why would we expect less for our house, the ultimate example of shelter from the storm. Even our houses need sheltering when it comes to the weather. Outside surfaces can get damaged, faded, or sustain heat buildup due to unnecessary exposure to the elements and the UV rays from the sun and these problems can eventually spread to the homeowner as well. To protect open areas of the exterior, you may want to consider investing in an awning to act as a screen against the climate.
What Goes Where?
There are many types of awnings; they can literally cast a shadow anywhere on or around the home. They are most often installed over open areas that can lead to harmful exposure particularly from the sun. For instance, since we spend so much time on our patios, barbeque areas and outdoor living areas, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to sit outside without squinting or sweating. Why not eat breakfast on the balcony without risking sunburn? In fact, why let rain stop you from barbecuing on the patio? An awning can enhance and extend your indoor / outdoor living areas.
Smaller awnings can also be put above windows and doorways. Window panes soak up a lot of sun and then transfer this solar energy into the home, which can make your air conditioner run double-time. A canopy over the window can block this heat from the house as well as redirecting rainwater from the foundation. And if you have a metal door it can get scorching hot in the summer, which is not only inconvenient but dangerous. An awning above the entryway is a cheap and easy way to remove heat buildup.
Awnings are available in varying shapes and styles, and can come in any pattern, colour, or size. It is important to take your time selecting a model that best fits your needs and enhances the exterior of your home. Once you have decided the area that needs to be protected the next step is choosing what type of awning best suits your needs. A canopy permanently installed on the home’s exterior can be sturdy and stable but it can also receive strong wind gusts. Portable awnings are transportable and built for convenience - freestanding they can easily be moved from one location to another to be used anywhere they’re needed. Or you may prefer the retractable type of awning. These are probably the most popular model and can be rolled or folded up when not in use providing the sturdiness of a stationary unit without the threat of wind damage during inclement weather.
With the wind in mind I talked to Jackie Frazerhurst and learned about the wind sensors that can be installed on your awning which will automatically retract your awning when the wind picks to a level that could be harmful to the awning. While this is particularly useful here in the North where things can get a bit blustery on the coast, it can also mean having the awnings out a bit longer in the year without the fear of the winter winds causing damage.
While awnings come in a variety of materials canvas is particularly popular. According to Jackie Hewinson this is because canvas is particularly suited to retractable awnings because it is a proven product that is long lasting, flexible, UV treated and comes in a range of fashionable colours.
Metals can be used providing long life and easy maintenance particularly for permanent awnings. As with all things it is important to talk with your local suppliers who are the experts when it comes to advising you on the best solutions for your needs. They are also the people who will install your awning correctly for you ensuring correct fit and long life.