Retractable Patio Awnings
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Last updated: Saturday, April 26, 2008 | 11582 Views

As summer and warmer weather approaches, you may be thinking of enjoying leisure time outdoors on your home patio.

But you want to be comfortable when cooking out, eating, reading or relaxing to fully enjoy your outdoor living space.

When the sun beats down or a rain shower approaches most people head back indoors, but with a retractable awning you can escape the heat, glare and harmful UV rays and continue enjoying time outside!

And when you want the full benefit of sun on mild days or in the early and later parts of the day when temperatures are mild and direct sun isn’t a problem, then you can simply retract your patio awning.

Easy to install and with no ugly stanchions, your retractable awning provides shelter from sun and rain, allowing you to enjoy more time outdoors!

Why Invest in a Retractable Awning for your Patio?

Unlike a fixed patio roof which negates some of the feeling of being outdoors, you will find far more versatility and better return on your investment if you install a retractable awning.

Some of the many benefits of adding a retractable awning to your patio include:

  • Energy Conservation – A retractable awning not only covers your patio or outdoor living area, but also helps keep your home cooler since it can provide shade for a good portion of the exterior side of your home exposed to direct sunlight during the warmest part of the day.
  • Protection From the Elements – Adding drop screens and a retractable awning helps protect your outdoor living space from rain, wind and UV rays which fade and weather patio furniture.
  • Reduces Allergens – A patio protected by a retractable awning with vertical side panels or drop screens can help reduce allergens in the air as well as keeping away nasty biting bugs and creepy crawly insects.
  • Provides Privacy – A retractable awning will make your outdoor spa, hot tub or swimming pool more private.

Advantages of Retractable Awnings vs. a Fixed Patio Awning

Your retractable awning will be perfect for any outdoor living area such as a patio, barbeque or even a seating area in the garden. And while you could install a cheap fixed awning, there are many advantages of a retractable awning:

  • Increased Visibility – Most fixed awning entail the use of posts or stanchions that block your view, while a retractable awning, depending on the design, is generally suspended using either guide wires or spring loaded arms which will not inhibit visibility.
  • Simpler Installation and Maintenance – The retractable awnings mount easily to your home from the exterior wall or beam and, since the fabric is protected within a cassette when retracted, it requires only minor cleaning and maintenance.
  • Enhanced Versatility – You can install a retractable awning in small or special areas like over a sliding glass door or French patio doors when a fixed awning might look out of place.
  • Less Visual Distraction – When put away in its protective cassette, your retractable awning won’t detract from the visual impact of your landscaping whereas a fixed awning is always present unless you go to the great trouble of taking it down.
  • Longer Useful Life – When not in use, a retractable awning is not exposed to inclement weather conditions whereas a fixed awning is continually subject to the elements, causing it to discolor, fade and deteriorate within a few seasons.

When not in use, a retractable awning is protected by the cassette and barely visible, allowing your outdoor area to look natural and unobstructed as it would be with a fixed awning.

Retractable Awning Options

Depending on your budget, you can purchase a retractable awning that operates manually for as little as £400. Motorised versions can run as much as £4,000, with available options such as rain, motion, heat and wind sensors that provide completely automated operation.

Retractable awnings are available in a variety of colors and styles as well. Your patio awning can be custom-sized to fit the desired width and extension of the patio or other outdoor area you wish to cover, so careful planning and measurement is recommended.

If you are a handy do-it-yourself homeowner, you could save money and install your retractable awning yourself. For those less confident in their home improvement skills, hiring a local professional installer is recommended; this expert can advise you on the correct size, placement and options that will best fit your needs.

Traditionally, most patio awnings are made of a tough canvas-type fabric which is specially waterproofed, typically with a poly urethane (PU) coating to withstand the rigours of outdoor use and most often are selected in a white or cream with colored stripes. The stripes may be in bright colors or something more subdued. A solid navy blue or dark green color may also be selected to coordinate with the architectural style and exterior color or materials such as stone, brick, wood or other siding and trim work.

Other options to consider include the style of your retractable awning and whether you want a scalloped or other pattern or simply flat edges for the valance. You may also want to consider side panels or drop screens that allow you to enclose the outdoor area you are covering with the awning.

Retractable awnings are typically installed on the side of a home most exposed to direct sunlight, where it will provide the most benefit. When extended, your awning may extend completely flat or, in many cases, designed to have a slight pitch, which allows the rain to run off. Consider your local weather conditions and whether you plan to extend your retractable patio awning during rainstorms or not when deciding on the style that best suits your requirements.

Purchasing Your Retractable Awning

Choosing the right manufacturer from which to purchase your retractable awnings will involve price comparison as well as consideration of the options, quality of materials used, warranty offered and finding a company that has a solid reputation in the industry. Visit local home improvement and patio furniture shops to see retractable awnings in person and then shop online to compare prices and make sure that you are getting a good value.

Purchasing a retractable awning will be a worthwhile addition to your home and one that increases the enjoyment and time you spend outdoors. While it may seem a bit of a luxury, adding a retractable awning is a great investment that will shade and protect your patio or other outdoor living area for many years!


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